Women’s Basketball: Lindsey Pulliam selected by Atlanta Dream, 27th overall in the 2021 WNBA Draft


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Lindsey Pulliam stares on. The Northwestern guard was selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft.

Drew Schott, Sports Editor

Women’s Basketball

Lindsey Pulliam is headed to the Peach State for the next stage of her basketball career.

The star Northwestern guard was chosen by the Atlanta Dream with the 27th overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft. She became the third Wildcat ever to be selected in the WNBA Draft after Nia Coffey was drafted 5th overall by the San Antonio Stars in 2017 and the Chicago Sky selected Amy Jaeschke in the third round in 2010.

“Finally seeing my name across the board, it was a wow moment,” Pulliam said. “All the work that I put in has finally come to light and my dream has finally come true.”

During her four years at NU, Pulliam staked her claim as one of the best players ever to wear purple and white. She became the third Cats player to reach 2,000 points, after Anucha Browne and Coffey, and was the fastest in team history to reach 1,000 points. She finished her career averaging 16.5 points per game.

With the Cats, Pulliam was a three-time All-Big Ten honoree, earning a unanimous All-Big Ten First Team nod — as well as an AP All American Honorable Mention — during the 2019-2020 season.

Pulliam was an instrumental part of NU’s rise into the national spotlight. During her junior season, she helped guide the Cats to their first Big Ten Championship since 1990 and led the way during the team’s first NCAA Tournament win since 1993, scoring 25 points in a 62-51 victory against UCF in the Round of 64 of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

This past year, Pulliam averaged 15.5 points and was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team.

“She set the bar so high,” coach Joe McKeown said. “She (is) just the standard of what our program is, to be in the top 20 every week, every year. She cared more about that, to be part of a great team, than she did to be a great player. There’s a humility that she had that allowed her to be great.”

The Maryland native joins an Atlanta squad that finished 10th in the WNBA last season with a 7-15 record. The Dream are led by guard Chennedy Carter, who scored 17.4 points per game during the 2020 campaign. In addition to Pulliam, Atlanta selected Arizona guard Aari McDonald third overall and Spanish forward Raquel Carrera with the 15th pick.

Pulliam, who watched the Draft with her family in Maryland, will be in Atlanta this weekend and begin the Dream’s COVID-19 protocols ahead of training camp. In addition to getting back into the gym, she said she is looking forward to joining a team that is looking to improve in 2021.

The Dream’s current situation is similar to that of NU’s after Pulliam’s freshman season: no postseason bid. Pulliam helped change the Cats’ playoff fortunes the next three years, as the team reached the WNIT Championship Game, won its first conference title in three decades and made the Big Dance for the first time in six seasons.

“I’m excited for the challenge,” Pulliam said. “I love being overlooked and the fact that they didn’t finish well last year is just another opportunity to turn another program around. I’m just excited to be able to be a part of that and continue to just have that chip on my shoulder and continue to prove people wrong.”

On May 25, Pulliam will return to the Chicago area when she and the Dream take on the Chicago Sky at Wintrust Arena.

McKeown, who said he is waiting to hear about each WNBA team’s attendance protocols, hopes to be in the stands to watch his former star player perform at the next level.

“If she’s playing, we’ll be there,” McKeown said. “That’ll be a lot of fun to see her. She’ll always be a Northwestern Wildcat.”

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