Hebard goes No. 8 in WNBA draft; second-highest for an Alaskan

April 17, 2020

Ruthy Hebard

Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks is headed to the WNBA.

The three-time All-American out of the University of Oregon was picked eighth overall by the Chicago Sky in the first round of the WNBA draft.

The 6-foot-4 forward led the NCAA in field-goal shooting percentage (.685) and led the Pac-12 Conference in rebounds (9.6). She added 17.3 points and 1.1 blocked shots.

Hebard’s .651 career field-goal percentage is a Pac-12 record and tied for No. 7 all-time in NCAA history.

“She is simply a finisher. Phenomenal in the pick and roll, terrific when she catches it on the roll, floating it over defenders in the mid post,” ESPN’s Rebecca Lobo said on TV.

“She’s a player that can really help them in the pick and roll game because Chicago spreads it out and she will be surrounded by shooters.”

Hebard, of West Valley High fame, will be the fifth Alaskan to play in the WNBA.

Here is how other Alaskans fared in the WNBA draft:

1997 Molly Tuter (Soldotna) undrafted Phoenix Mercury
1999 Andrea Lloyd (Juneau) 3rd round/31st overall Minnesota Lynx
2005 Jessica Moore (Palmer) 2nd round/24th overall Charlotte Sting
2010 Kelsey Griffin (Eagle River) 1st round/3rd overall Minnesota Lynx (traded minutes later to Connecticut Sun)
2020 Ruthy Hebard (Fairbanks) 1st round/8th overall Chicago Sky

At Oregon, Hebard was a consensus First Team All-American as a senior and two-time winner of the Katrina McClain Award as the NCAA’s top power forward.

She finished her college career as just the second Alaskan to record 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

Hebard was the third of three Oregon players picked in the first eight draft selections – the fourth time that’s happened since 2002.

Here are the four college teams to have three WNBA draft selections in the first eight picks:

2002 UConn 1) Sue Bird 2) Swin Cash 4) Asjha Jones
2012 Tennessee 2) Shekinna Stricklen 4) Glory Johnson 7) Kelley Cain
2016 UConn 1) Breanna Stewart 2) Moriah Jefferson 3) Morgan Tuck
2020 Oregon 1) Sabrina Ionescu 2) Satou Sabally 8) Ruthy Hebard

Ionescu went No. 1 to the New York Liberty, who also had the No. 10 pick. As the No. 8 pick approached, there was a glimmer of hope the dynamic Ducks duo would reunite in the WNBA.

But the Chicago Sky swooped in to grab Hebard and add to their awesome arsenal of premier post players.

“The word on the WNBA draft street is that Courtney Vandersloot – the point guard for the Chicago Sky – really wanted Ruthy Hebard to come to the Chicago Sky to have the ability to pass to her in pick and roll situation,” Lobo said.

Vandersloot played collegiately at Gonzaga under coach Kelly Graves, who coached Hebard at Oregon.