Courtesy: Gonzaga Sports Information
Jill Barta became the sixth player in Gonzaga history to be drafted by the WNBA on Thursday night, as the Las Vegas Aces took her in the third round with the 32nd overall pick. She was immediately traded, along with a second round pick next year, to the Minnesota Lynx for Ji-Su Park and Kahlia Lawrence. The draft was held at the Nike New York Headquarters in New York City.
She will be the eighth player from the Zags to sign with a WNBA team. She joins former Zags Courtney Vandersloot, Vivian Frieson, Kayla Standish, Katelan Redmon, and Haiden Palmer, as players who have been drafted into the WNBA.
Vandersloot was the third overall draft pick by the Chicago Sky in 2011. Frieson was Gonzaga’s inaugural player drafted, going 31st to the Tulsa Shock in the 2010 draft. Standish and Redmon were both drafted in the 2012, with Standish picked 19th by the Minnesota Lynx and Redmon picked 36th by the New York Liberty. Palmer was taken 29th overall by the Indiana Fever in 2014. Heather Bowman signed with the Seattle Storm in 2010 and Shelby Cheslek played the preseason schedule and two regular-season games with the Phoenix Mercury in 2016.
“We are really excited for Jill, she has worked very hard over the past four years here at Gonzaga,” GU head coach Lisa Fortier said. “Her competitive nature, coupled with her versatility, will allow her to continue to succeed in her professional career. We are looking forward to seeing what develops from this great opportunity.”
At the completion of her season, Barta was second in the West Coast Conference in scoring at 18.8 per game and fifth in rebounding at 8.4 per game. She led the conference shooting 87.1 percent from the free throw line and was a national finalist for the Cheryl Miller Award, honoring the nation’s best small forward. Her 603 points are sixth all-time in a season at GU and she set a new record shooting 87.6 percent from the free throw line. She led the team with 13 double-doubles this year for 20 in her career.
Her name dots the record book after her outstanding career at Gonzaga. After four years with the Zags, the Fairfield, Mont., native finished seventh all-time in scoring at 1620 points and holds school records in 30-point games with seven and single-game rebounds with 22. She is also third all-time in made free throws with 442.
Barta became the third Zag in program history to be named First Team All-West Coast Conference her first three seasons and this season she was named the WCC Player of the Year, along with being a WBCA All-Region selection. She won back-to-back Most Outstanding Player awards at the West Coast Conference Tournament, scoring 30-plus points in each title game. Barta led the Zags in scoring every season and ended her career with a 16.5 points per game average. She was also a WCC All-Freshman team selection in 2016, ranking second all-time among Gonzaga freshman in points (463) and rebounds (190). This season her 603 points ranked sixth all-time in a season. She will graduate in May with a degree in special education.
The Lynx are the reigning WNBA Champions, having won three in the past five years, and begin the season on May 6 in a preseason game against the Washington Mystics in Des Moines, Iowa.