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Women’s basketball: Shayla Cooper selected in WNBA draft

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Ohio State senior forward Shayla Cooper sizes up Western Kentucky guard Kendall Noble at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky, in the first round of the NCAA tournament on March 17. Credit: Dana Lewin | Courtesy of OSU Athletics

Former Ohio State women’s basketball forward Shayla Cooper will continue her hoops career even farther from her home in Norcross, Georgia. She was selected with the first pick of the second round by the Connecticut Sun in the 2017 WNBA Draft on Thursday.

Cooper, who transferred to OSU from Georgetown after playing two games in 2013, averaged 10.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a senior in a starting role. As a junior, Cooper came off the bench in 11 of her 32 games, averaging 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds.

Cooper, an outspoken presence on the court, was named to the All-Big Ten second team in each of her final two seasons as a Buckeye.

When the team’s second-leading scorer, redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga, injured her foot with four games left in the regular season, Cooper stepped up. In the eight games until the dominant post presence returned to action, Cooper averaged 13.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

In her final night playing at the Schottenstein Center, Cooper, the only senior on OSU’s team, rose up. She dropped 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds as the Buckeyes upset No. 2 Maryland 98-87.

She scored 1,070 career points while wearing Scarlet and Grey, the 33rd most in school history, and picked up her 1,000th point against Rutgers on February 26.

In her final game for OSU, Cooper came a point away from a double-double as she scored nine points and corralled a game-high 13 rebounds as Notre Dame beat the Buckeyes 99-76 in the Sweet Sixteen.

Last year, former OSU guard Ameryst Alston was selected by the New York Liberty with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft.

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