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NC State Women's Basketball

Elissa Cunane selected in second round of WNBA Draft

April 11, 2022
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NC State center Elissa Cunane was selected with the fifth pick of the second round (17th overall) by the Seattle Storm in the WNBA Draft Monday night.


On what the weekend was like and what her thoughts on Seattle are...

Thank you. It's been a great weekend. To hang around the people that were drafted tonight and spend some time in this city. I'm excited to be drafted to Seattle. I'm excited to get to work and learn from some of the veterans over there.

On what her expectations were going into the night...

I didn't really have any expectations for tonight. I know the WNBA is a very tough league to get into with the roster spots, so I was just looking forward to hearing my name called, which I did, and I'm excited to go to Seattle. I didn't have a specific team in mind that I wanted to go to. So being picked up by Seattle is amazing.

On her thoughts about the competitions for few roster spots...

I mean, growing up having a dream of being in the league, I think you kind of notice that -- you know there's only 144. I think knowing that going into tonight, I was just prepared for that.

On what experiences she’ll take from NC State and what parts of her game most translate to the WNBA...

I think the versatility that I played with at NC State, being able to shoot the three, playing inside, but also my levelheadedness in big moments and in big games, being able to perform at high levels against great people, and I think just being a team player. NC State didn't always need me to be the leading scorer every night. So just doing what the team needs me to do night in, night out.

On teammate Kayla Jones getting selected shortly after her...

Yeah, that's huge. I didn't get to see any picks after mine. I'm very excited KJ got chosen. She puts in so much work. I'm so proud of her. I really think she can make an impact at the WNBA level.

On if she feels like this is a part of God’s plan...

Yeah, of course. His plan is greater than anything I could think of myself. So being able to go to Seattle and learn from the pros over there, I'm just very excited, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

On what she’s looking forward to about playing with a veteran Seattle team...

Just being able to learn from them, on the court, off the court, their work ethic and their experience in big games and in championships. I'm really just looking forward to soaking up as much as I can from them.

On what coach Wes Moore is building at NC State...

Yeah, I think Coach Moore has a great team over there and obviously being part of that for four years. He's a great coach, an even better person, and if he continues to bring good people to this program, he's going to continue to see the success that he has.

On what it is about Summerfield, her high school and the area she grew up in that has contributed to her game and helped her get to this point...

You know, I think being from a smaller town, I wasn't as looked at coming into college out of high school, so I think just kind of being an underdog in that situation and making it to the collegiate level. I have a lot of Summerfield in me and I'm just proud of that, and I think I can definitely take that to the next level.

On what it means to her family...

Yeah, it's huge. You know, my dad couldn't be here tonight, but I'm super thankful for his support and I know he's proud at home, and just my mom and brother to be able to be here. The reason why I love basketball so much is because it brings my family together, and so I'm just really excited to continue playing at the next level for them.

On how important it is for her to be in training camp and pick the brains of Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd, and what she would like to learn from them...

You know, just their games. I grew up watching Breanna Stewart as I was younger and just her versatility, her ability to shoot the ball outside and also mid-range/inside postgame. To soak up as much as I can from her. She's gone so far and she's such a big player in the league, just being able to be like that and learn from her and incorporate into my own game.

On what the wait was like...

You know, every time a pick was chosen, I was just happy for the individual that was chosen. There's definitely some shifts that went on, but I was just very excited for every person that got chosen, and then when it finally came down to my name, I was excited just to walk up to the stage.

On if she was surprised to fall to 17th...

Like I said earlier, I didn't really have any expectations coming into tonight. I was just hoping to hear my name called, which I did. Whenever I heard the commissioner say my name, that was exciting for me.

On how excited she is to experience a different part of the country...

Very exciting. I was at college an hour and a half from my house, and so I'm very excited to travel across the country, just different culture, different people, and just kind of be independent.

On if there is anything in North Carolina or East Coast that she plans to bring over to Seattle...

I think myself. I have East Coast in me. I have a little bit of Carolina in me. I'm excited to bring my game over there. It's something that they probably haven't experienced or even watched as much since we were on the East Coast in college. I'm just excited to go over there, bring myself over there, and honestly looking forward to the opportunities they have.

On if coach Wes Moore was keeping her relaxed and at ease and what were some of the things he was saying to her while waiting in the green room...

Yeah, Coach Moore told me that when I was going to college like some coaches that wanted me didn't get me, some coaches that didn't offer me regretted that later. So, he said I'm going to go wherever I go and make whoever didn't pick me jealous.

On what she’s hoping to bring into a team that's led by Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd...

You know, I'm used to championships, as well, from the ACC, so I think just going up there and being able to learn from people that have gone all the way in the WNBA, and what it takes and the grit it takes to make it throughout the whole entire Playoffs, and just the skill they have, the knowledge they have, and I think I can bring some more skill to that team and just be able to expand it.

On what type of championship player she became at NC State...

I think you just realize that a championship is just one game. It's one loss and you're out. Just being able to perform every night, and if it's not your shooting night, then what are you going to do on the defensive end to make sure your team wins, and also staying levelheaded in the moment and not letting the moment be too big.

On how it feels to be a woman in sport and be pioneering a professional career...

I love it. I think we're in such a time of change right now, and I'm excited that I get to bring my value to the league, not necessarily on the court but off the court, as well, and just being able to be a part of the organization that so many women have put their lives into developing over the years and being able to be a part of that.

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Elissa Cunane selected in second round of WNBA Draft

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