USC senior forward Cassie Harberts was selected by the Atlanta Dream with the 20th pick in the 2014 WNBA draft Monday in Uncasville, Conn. Harberts will be reuniting with current Atlanta Dream head coach and former USC women’s basketball coach Michael Cooper, who was Harberts’ coach in her first three years at USC.
In her final two years at USC, Harberts provided an invaluable post presence both offensively and defensively.
The two-time Pac-12 All Academic Honorable Mention award winner averaged 18.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in her breakout junior season in 2012-2013. Harberts provided valuable leadership and stability in a season fraught with difficulty as the Women of Troy stumbled to an 11-20 record and underwent a coaching change from Cooper to current head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke.
Harberts was USC’s leader going into the new regime under Cooper-Dyke, and though the senior’s averages dropped slightly to 15.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, her field goal percentage increased from .438 to .453 in her final season.
The Women of Troy shocked No. 4 Stanford, 72-68, in the semifinal round of the Pac-12 Tournament behind 10 straight points from Harberts in the closing three minutes. USC would go on to win the Pac-12 title, but eventually bow out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round.
Perhaps Harberts’ most notable contribution to the Women of Troy, however, was her durability and consistency: The forward never missed a single start or game in her four seasons at USC, and scored in double digits in 30 of her 35 starts during her senior season.
Harberts will look to bring her strength in the post and consistent play to the Atlanta Dream, a perennial WNBA title contender that has appeared in the WNBA Finals in three of the last four seasons, but has yet to win a championship.
Harberts becomes the 11th USC women’s basketball player to be drafted into the WNBA, a list that includes Cooper-Dyke, seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time WNBA champion Lisa Leslie and WNBA all-time leading scorer Tina Thompson.
Schools from the Pac-12 Conference had four players picked in the first two rounds of the WNBA draft, including No. 1 overall pick Chiney Ogwumike of Stanford.