Sparks Select Burrell With Ninth Pick Of WNBA Draft

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    The Los Angeles Spark selected former Tennessee guard Rae Burrell with the ninth pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft Monday night.

    After the Minnesota Lynx selected Rennia Davis with the ninth pick in last year’s WNBA Draft, Burrell’s selection marks the first time sine 2005-06 that Lady Vol players have gone in the first round of the WNBA Draft in back-to-back seasons.

    Burrell becomes the 44th Lady Vols player drafted into the WNBA and the sixth selected by the Sparks.

    The 6-foot-1 shooting guard’s collegiate career peaked in her junior season when she averaged 16.8 points on 40% three-point shooting and 4.8 rebounds per game.

    After Davis left for the WNBA following the season, media and Lady Vols followers expected Burrell to step up as the lead scorer in her place.

    However, Burrell’s senior campaign began with an abundance of adversity. The shooting guard injured her knee in the Lady Vols’ season opener before missing the first six weeks of the season.

    Burrell eventually returned, averaging 12.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while helping lead the Lady Vols to their first Sweet 16 since 2016.

    “Rae Burrell is a physically-gifted player with a high motor who worked very hard to put herself in position to be selected in the WNBA Draft,” Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper said. “She is an intense competitor who had to overcome an unfortunate injury suffered early during her senior season. We’re proud of the development Rae made during her time at Tennessee and look forward to watching her continue to blossom in her professional career.”

    Burrell — a Las Vegas, Nevada native — moves out west to start her professional career with Los Angeles. The Sparks failed to make the playoffs last season after posting a 12-20 record.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.