BUFFALO, NY – University at Buffalo senior guard Cierra Dillard was taken 20th overall in the second round of the WNBA draft by the Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday night. Dillard is the first player in Buffalo basketball history to be drafted.
Dillard is the fourth student-athlete drafted from the Mid-American Conference, joining Central Michigan's Crystal Bradford (2015 – Los Angeles Sparks), Ball State's Tamara Bowie (2003 – Washington Mystics) and Northern Illinois' Stephanie Raymond (2007 – Chicago Sky).
"Cierra is a dream come true," Buffalo head coach Felisha Legette-Jack said. "Coaches pray about adding a kid with character, high IQ, strong academics and someone that can play the game against anybody. Once you dream like that you almost laugh because it's so rare to get that full package. Cierra Dillard is the full package. Minnesota is getting a leader, a great teammate, a ferocious learner and a passionate player."
"It means the world," Dillard said. "With everything I've been through, all the struggles and trials, everything I've been through over the past two years, it's been a big turnaround in my life. I can't thank my family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches and all of my supporters who have helped me get to this point. It's a dream come true."
The Rochester, NY native led Buffalo to its second MAC title and second straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019 while earning MAC Tournament MVP honors after averaging 24.7 points, 5.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds over three games in Cleveland. The senior guard led the MAC and finished second in the nation in scoring at 25.2 points per game, while also leading the country in free throws made (233) and attempted (287). Dillard finished with 856 points on the season, setting the Mid-American Conference and UB single-season record. The 233 made free throws were also MAC and Buffalo single-season records. Dillard also set UB single-season records for scoring average (25.2), free throws attempted (287), field goals attempted (671) and three point field goals made and attempted (105-of-308).
Dillard finished her Buffalo career with a scoring average of 20.6 points per game over two seasons, a new program record. She amassed 2,205 career points across her stops with Massachusetts and the Bulls and currently ranks in the top five on the UB career records list in points (5th – 1,422), free throws made (3rd – 362), free throw percentage (3rd – 80.8), three point field goals made (4th – 190) and three point field goals attempted (4th - 554).
Dillard landed on numerous watch lists throughout the 2018-19 campaign including the Wade Trophy for the best player in women's basketball, the Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch List, the Dawn Staley Award for the country's top guard and Ann Meyers Drysdale Award honoring the nation's top shooting guard.
The Bulls guard was named MAC East Player of the Week six times this past season, setting a program record, and was also named ESPNW's Player of the Week in mid-January.
Minnesota finished the 2018 WNBA season with a 15-19 overall record and were the #8 seed in the WNBA playoffs, falling to the Los Angeles Sparks in the first round. The Lynx acquired four players in this year's draft including Dillard, UConn's Napheesa Collier, Notre Dame's Jessica Shepard and Minnesota's Kenisha Bell. The WNBA season is set to open May 24.