Shekinna Stricklen: No. 2 Pick and Three-Point Winner
Shekinna Stricklen has been in the WNBA since 2012 for three different teams, suiting up for her latest squad, the Atlanta Dream, for the first time whenever the next campaign begins. She was the No. 2 pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft, coming out of Tennessee as one of the best pro prospects of that class, and has been a contributor in the league ever since. Stricklen played under Pat Summitt at Tennessee in college, has a couple gold medals to her name, is a state champion, plus has enjoyed a multi-year overseas career. Let’s break it down.
Welcome to Career Moments, a Nothing But Nylon series that delves into the major moments of a player, coach or other figure’s career in basketball to give you a snapshot of some of the top things they’ve accomplished and when, plus allowing you the opportunity to relive past glories and celebrate current successes.
Shekinna Stricklen Career Moments
2006 Arkansas State Championship
Shekinna Stricklen attended Morrilton High School in Morrilton, Arkansas, and helped lead the school to a state championship in 2006. As a sophomore, she was named MVP for her contributions to the cause and pulled down 16 rebounds in one of the games on that run, tied for the seventh-most in state tournament history.
2008 U18 FIBA Americas Championship Gold Medal
Stricklen was already a gold medalist before going to college. In July 2008, she was part of a Team USA run to gold at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women in Buenos Aires, helping the squad go 5-0 in the event, including an 81-37 demolishing of Argentina in the gold medal game. She hauled in 12 rebounds in the ultimate matchup.
2009 USBWA Freshman of the Year
Tennessee welcomed the No. 1 class in the nation in 2008, and Shekinna Stricklen was a big reason why. The Lady Vols landed five players ranked in the top-20 nationally, with Stricklen entering as the No. 8 player in the country.
She lived up the billing in her inaugural college season, posting 13.3 points, 3.0 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game and starting all 32 showdowns on the slate. Her effects earned her the 2009 USBWA Freshman of the Year nod, the first time a Lady Vol won the honor.
“I am very excited and honored to have been named the Freshman of the Year,” she said in a 2009 press release. “I want to thank my teammates and coaches for pushing me every day to be the best I could be. Without them, I could not have achieved such an incredible award.
“I am extremely blessed to be able to play basketball at Tennessee, as it has always been my dream. There are so many great players in women’s collegiate hoops that this is truly a special honor.”
Stricklen also made the All-SEC Second Team and scored in double-figures 21 times and notched 20-plus points in four outings. The two-time SEC Freshman of the Week had Pat Summitt pumped, and with good reason. She would go on to win the SEC Player of the Year distinction in 2010-11 as a junior.
“I am truly excited for Shekinna as she is very deserving of being named the USBWA Freshman of the Year,” Summitt said. “She works incredibly hard every day and her development through the year was excellent. I cannot imagine us not having her this season as her offensive skill set was incredibly important to our success.
“She is determined to get better and I am very glad we have her at Tennessee.”
Tennessee entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 5 seed after tying for fourth in the SEC. The team was upset in the first round, 71-55, by No. 12 seed Ball State.
Selected No. 2 Overall in 2012 WNBA Draft
With the second pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft, the Seattle Storm selected Shekinna Stricklen, beginning a now nearly decade-long professional career.
The Storm had traded Swin Cash and Le’Coe Willingham to the Chicago Sky for the second pick in the draft, and with that move made it clear what they thought of Stricklen.
“I think it helped when I did do a workout with Coach Brian (Agler), just been talking to him quite a bit,” she said after she was picked. “I kind of had a feeling but I wasn’t sure. I think it was more to see can I push through, can I keep working hard. A lot of people have been talking about me this past season. I show up some games, and then didn’t, so I kind of want consistency.”
Stricklen was one of two Tennessee players to go in the top seven with the Tulsa Shock choosing Glory Johnson as the No. 4 overall pick and the New York Liberty making Kelley Cain theirs with the No. 7 overall selection. The No. 1 pick in 2012 was Nneka Ogwumike.
Traded to Connecticut in 2015
In January 2015, Seattle sent Stricklen and Camille Little to the Connecticut Sun for Renee Montgomery and the No. 3 and No. 15 picks in the 2015 WNBA Draft. Times were changing in Seattle as the team began a rebuilding process and started a era without head coach Brian Agler, and the Sun were looking to make a splash in the near future in the push for a title.
“This is a significant move for both teams,” Sun general manager Chris Sienko told the Associated Press. “Based on our immediate needs, Camille and Shekinna help fill specific roles now and in the future. Of course, to get value, you have to trade value. We wish Renee much success in the future.”
The move ended Stricklen’s three-year career in Seattle. She had her most productive scoring season of her career in 2012, averaging 10.0 points per contest, plus 2.8 rebounds to boot. In all, she showed in 101 games for the Storm and played five postseason matchups with the team in 2012 and 2013, both ending in first-round exits.
2016 Move From Woori Hansae (WKBL, South Korea) to Fenerbahce Istanbul (KBSL, Turkey)
During the WNBA offseason in 2015-16, Stricklen had played in the WKBL in South Korea for Woori Hansae, finishing second on the team in scoring with 18.0 points per game, plus 6.8 boards and 1.2 steals each outing, too. But she chose to head to Turkey where she had been a pro before, signing with Fenerbahce Istanbul of the KBSL in 2016.
Prior to Woori Hansae, Stricklen played for KB Stars (South Korea), S-Birds (South Korea) and Hatay (Turkey).
Shekinna Stricklen Ties WNBA Record with Eight Three-Pointers
On July 22, 2018, Shekinna Stricklen tied a WNBA Record for eight triples in one game.
Stricklen splashed the Dallas Wings with eight deep ones, going 8-of-11 from beyond the arc for the day. In all, she scored 24 points with every one them coming from three as the Sun sank the Wings, 92-75.
Her night matched what Diana Taurasi did three times and Riquna Williams did once up to that point.
2019 WNBA Three Point Contest Winner
Stricklen added to her trophy collection with a winning performance at the WNBA Three Point Contest in 2019, narrowly taking out Kayla McBride, 23-22, in the final.
“I was thinking I need at least 25-27, not going to lie,” Stricklen told Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press. “Still in shock about the first round … Thought Allie (Quigley) was going to get a lot more.
“(McBride is) in her hometown and got the crowd, thought she was going to get hot.”
2019 WNBA Finals
For the first time in her career, Shekinna Stricklen advanced beyond the first round of the WNBA playoffs in 2019. She and the Connecticut Sun then took it to the next level, launching her on her first run to the WNBA Finals, all in the same season.
Stricklen was an important role player for Connecticut during its dance to the ultimate series, starting all 34 games and finishing fifth of the team in scoring with 9.0 points per game, plus adding 1.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 steals each contest as well. She remained key in the playoffs, giving the Sun crucial minutes in the Semifinals against the Los Angeles Sparks, a series that Connecticut won, 3-0, and in the Finals versus the Washington Mystics.
She scored in double figures in Game 1, Game 3 and Game 4 against the Mystics, big performances that helped the Sun push the series to five games. Ultimately, though, Washington came out on top, securing the title with an 89-78 triumph in Game 5.
Shekinna Stricklen Signs Two-Year Contract with Atlanta Dream
During the current, indefinite WNBA offseason, Stricklen signed with the Atlanta Dream as a free agent, choosing the third franchise of her career.
The forward inked a two-year deal worth $345,100 on Feb. 16, bringing a sharpshooting option to the team with the worst three-point shooting in the WNBA in 2019.
“When we ended last season we knew we had to prioritize shooting during this free agency period,” Atlanta head coach Nicki Collen said in a release. “What we are getting in Shekinna Stricklen is an incredible shooter with size that can make shots on the move or standstill, and also has a great understanding of how to get herself open shots.”
Update – April 23, 2021
This article was originally published May 19, 2020. Since then, Stricklen played the 2020 WNBA season with the Atlanta Dream, appearing in 22 games and averaging 6.1 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. The Dream finished the season 7-15 and outside of the playoffs. She is still currently on Atlanta’s roster for the 2021 campaign.