“It is truly an honor to have my name called at the WNBA Draft. I started playing basketball my freshman of year of high school; and now to be drafted is an amazing feeling,” Montgomery said. “It shows the hard work and dedication I’ve put into this game. I’d like to say thank you to my dad Robert Montgomery for introducing me to the game and my AAU coach Milton Kimbrough for working with me and teaching me the game. I’d also like to thank my college coaches for the countless hours spent working with me on developing my game. Last, but not least, I want to say thank you to my basketball family and family for the unwavering support throughout this process. I look forward to my journey with the Seattle Storm.”
“There is no one more deserving of this moment than Lanay Montgomery,” coach Carey said. “With her tremendous work ethic, Lanay has made great strides in her five years at West Virginia University. We are very proud of her accomplishments and I wish her the best of luck in Seattle.”
With Montgomery’s selection on Thursday, the Mountaineers have had back-to-back draft picks for the first time in program history and three selections in the last four seasons. Asya Bussie was a 15th overall pick in the second round in 2014 by the Minnesota Lynx and Bria Holmes was an 11th overall, first round pick by the Atlanta Dream last season.
Montgomery finished her career with 937 rebounds (7.1 rpg), 855 points (6.5 ppg) and 330 blocks (2.5 bpg). She set the West Virginia career field goal percentage record with a 59.6 shooting percentage (355-of-596) after breaking the program’s single-season shooting percentage in her junior and senior campaigns. Montgomery’s 330 blocks are the second-most at WVU and the fourth-highest in Big 12 Conference history. Her 7.1 rebounding average and 20 double-doubles were seven all-time at West Virginia.
The Pittsburgh native was a two-year team captain and a two-year member of the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. Montgomery also earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention this season after averaging 10.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. She made 157-of-236 field goals for a 66.5 shooting percentage. Off the court, Montgomery was named an Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree and a nominee for the Allstate Good Works Team and the Senior CLASS Award.
Montgomery joins the Seattle Storm, who finished 16-18 and were the seventh seed in the WNBA Playoffs last season. Seattle fell in the playoffs first round, 94-85, to Atlanta. Seattle, coached by Jenny Boucek, also selected Syracuse’s Alexis Peterson. Montgomery is the first Mountaineer to be picked by Seattle. The Storm are led by standouts Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart.
Five other Mountaineers have been previously drafted in the WNBA: Kate Bulger (Minnesota – 2004), Yolanda Paige (Indiana – 2005), Olayinka Sanni (Detroit – 2008), Bussie (Minnesota – 2014) and Holmes (Atlanta – 2016). Additionally, Yelena Lechanka played three seasons in the WNBA with three different franchises as a free agent (Charlotte, Washington and Atlanta).