In last night’s WNBA Draft, the Las Vegas Aces used the 23rd overall pick to select Aisha Sheppard, a graduate student at Virginia Tech. She becomes the sixth Hokie selected in the draft and the highest draft pick in program history.
Aisha is one of the all-time greats of the women’s basketball program. She is the Hokies’ all-time leading scorer with 1,883 points, no doubt a result of her career records of games played and minutes played.
She will join a Las Vegas team that had four other picks in the ’22 draft, including three player selections before Aisha.
This is also a team that had a strong showing in the most recent season, going 24-8 and finishing first in the Western Conference under the leadership of head coach Bill Laimbeer. Despite the team’s success (albeit an unfortunate playoff finish), Laimbeer left the team without much fanfare this winter.
However, this change brought the exciting hire of Becky Hammon as head coach. Hammon, who played in 16 WNBA seasons where she collected 6 All-Star selections, is perhaps best known as the first full-time assistant coach in NBA history, working under the winningest coach in league history, Gregg Popovich, in San Antonio.
Her hiring means that a dynamic offense will be at the forefront of team strategy in Las Vegas. Sheppard will look to be in that mix, hoping that her offensive production that includes 13 points per game and a career-high of 30 points vs. Tennessee will carry over into the pro league.
She’s a legitimate three-point threat and she showed that during her time with the Hokies. In her last season, she set the program record with 96 made 3’s in a single season. Breaking her own record, she also has the second and third-best marks.
And her resume doesn’t stop there. She collected All-ACC honors three times, two selections to the ACC All-Academic Team, was a 2021 AP All-American Honorable Mention, and won the Skelton Award for Academic Excellence in Athletics in 2021.
She’s not a lock to make the roster as the WNBA caps rosters at 12 players, but her resume paired with an impressive outing in pre-season camp could find her a spot on the team.