Storm select guard Kitija Laksa from Latvia with 11th pick in WNBA draft

The Seattle Storm had the 11th overall pick in the WNBA draft Friday night and selected Kitija Laksa from Latvia as their first-round choice.

Laksa played at the University of South Florida for three years, but last season played professionally in her home country.

Her best traits are considered as a strong shooter who can stretch the floor, exactly what the Storm needs to round out their roster and prep for the future.

The one caveat to her selection--in addition to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic--Laksa will not be coming over to play for the Storm this season. Instead, she’ll stay in Europe and play another year there, hoping to be that much more experienced in 2021, and possibly replace legend Sue Bird on the roster.

Bird, the future Hall of Famer, will return to the team this year after sitting out in 2019 with a knee injury. Tonight she was an analyst on ESPN’s draft coverage, and had many compliments about Laksa’s athleticism.

“Quick release, great shooter, she can space the floor. It fits our style perfectly,” Bird said. “She had an injury, but she gave us a dose when we played Latvia against the USA team, so I know she’s legit. So welcome to Seattle.”

In a conference call with reporters, Laksa said she has no problem waiting to become a Storm player.

“I think I will be ahead of many different rookies that will be in the league because I played on different types of levels and I know what it takes to be able to fit in. To be able to learn from the best. To listen to the coach and execute the things they ask. … I’m always hungry for basketball, and I’m very excited,” said Laksa.

In the second round, the Storm took Joyner Holmes a forward from Texas and in the third round, chose shooting guard, Haley Gorecki from Duke University.

In addition to those players, they will also get Brianna Stewart back from an Achilles injury. So, a lot to look forward to if and when the WNBA season does begin.

As for the league’s No. 1 overall pick, no surprise it was Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu, who will play for the New York Liberty.

Former Lynnwood high school and Oregon State star Mikayla Pivec was drafted by the Atlanta Dream with the first pick in the third round and the 25th overall pick.