Palm Harbor, Fla. — The Houston Comets made Western Kentucky University forward Crystal Kelly the third pick of the third round — 31st overall —Wednesday in the 2008 WNBA Draft held at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club.
Kelly is the third Lady Topper to be drafted by a WNBA team, and the highest pick ever for the program. She is the second Lady Topper to be selected by the Comets as ShaRae Mansfield was the 33rd overall pick by Houston in 2001. Tiffany Porter-Talbert was the 36th selection by Los Angeles in 2006.
“I’m just really excited to be going to Houston,” said Kelly. “I talked to (Comets’ head coach) Karleen Thompson at the pre-draft camp and she told me they were hoping to be able to pick me. It will be a big change from Bowling Green, but I’m really looking forward to starting this next phase of my career.”
Kelly recently earned State Farm Coaches’ All-America honors, and was also named an All-American by the Associate Press and cbssportsline.com. She earned Sun Belt Conference Player-of-the-Year accolades this past season after averaging 22.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in her final year on the Hill. She also led the nation with a school-record .644 field-goal percentage.
Kelly also earned first-team all-Sun Belt honors for the fourth straight year, and was named to the all-Sun Belt Tournament team after leading the Lady Toppers to their league-record ninth conference tournament title. She scored a school-record 42 points in her final home game against Louisiana-Monroe — the same day a jersey was retired in her honor into the E.A. Diddle Arena rafters.
“This is a great opportunity for Crystal. The timing couldn’t be better for her to go to a Houston organization where she has a chance make an impact,” said Lady Topper head coach Mary Taylor Cowles. “I’m just so excited for Crystal. It’s great to see all the hard work she has put in the last four years at WKU pay off in this way.”
Kelly rewrote the record books during her Lady Topper career, finishing with a school-record 2,803 points and 1,258 rebounds. Her scoring total also stands as a Sun Belt Conference record, and made her the 12th leading scorer in NCAA Division I history. In all, Kelly sits atop nine Lady Topper career record lists, also setting new marks for games started (130), field goals made (953), field goal percentage (.617), free throws made (886), free throw attempts (1,137), points per game (21.6) and rebounding average (9.7).