Former Eastern Iowa High School Star is a WNBA Champion
The Las Vegas Aces claimed the 2022 WNBA Championship on Sunday and a former Iowa prep star played a big role in helping them win the title.
Former Linn-Mar Lion Kiah Stokes (grabbing a rebound above) started all four games of the WNBA Finals, playing an average of just under 25 minutes per game as Las Vegas defeated the Connecticut Sun.
I expect the fans of the Sun weren't quite as thrilled with Stokes, daughter of former Iowa men's basketball star Greg Stokes, as they were when she played for the University of Connecticut. Stokes helped the Huskies to three NCAA Titles in 2013, 2014, and 2015. UConn was 146-10 during her career and Stokes was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year her senior year.
After college, Stokes was taken with the 11th pick of the 2015 WNBA Draft by New York. That season she was named to the league's All-Defensive Second Team and made the All-Rookie team.
After playing five-plus seasons with New York (she didn't play in 2019), Stokes signed with Las Vegas in July of last year. It was a great move. A starter for the Aces, Kiah averaged just under 26 minutes per game during the 2022 playoffs. Though she averaged only 3.7 points per game, she was the team's second-leading rebounder at 7.2 per contest. Stokes' long wingspan (below) makes it very difficult for offensive players under the hoop.
Last fall and early this year, Stokes also played for Fenerbahce in the Euroleague and Women's Basketball Super League in Turkey. If she's playing overseas again this year, she won't have much time to rest. The season begins in about a month.
Kiah Stokes was a 4-time state tournament qualifier at Linn-Mar where she led the Lions to the 2010 title (they made at least the semi-finals all four seasons). During her high school career, she scored 1,704 points, pulled down 1,239 rebounds, and blocked 515 shots... all three are Linn-Mar records.
Having conquered the high school ranks, Stokes won three national titles at UConn and has now won a championship at the highest level, the WNBA.
Kiah Stokes is a winner and sooner rather than later will be a member of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union's Basketball Hall of Fame. It will be very much deserved.
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