Another Michigan State Spartan is headed to the WNBA. Nia Clouden was drafted by the Connecticut Sun on Monday night as the final pick of the first round at No. 12 overall. Clouden is the first Spartan drafted into the WNBA since 2017.
Hailing from the northern Baltimore suburb of Owings Mills, Maryland, Clouden opted to enter the 2022 WNBA Draft rather than use an extra year of eligibility allowed by the NCAA as a result of COVID-19. Clouden finished her career with 1,882 points, good for second all-time at MSU in scoring, and 449 assists.
Clouden averaged 16.1 points per game over her four seasons and 4.0 rebounds. Clouden also averaged 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals to go with 34.1 percent shooting from three-point range. Her 117 career starts were seventh-most in Spartan history and she posted 34 career games with 20-plus points. She is also seventh in career minutes and ninth in minutes per game among Spartans.
Clouden surprised many last year by choosing to return for her senior season in East Lansing. She finished her final season in Green and White averaging 20 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game while securing her legacy in numerous records and standings. Clouden’s 601 points this season were fourth most all-time by a Spartan and her 50-point performance in December against Florida Gulf Coast is a program record that also ties the all-time men’s record.
Clouden hit 42.7 percent of her shots from the field and 39.6 percent from three-point range during the 2021-2022 season. She was also one of the best free-throw shooters in the NCAA this past season, hitting 88.5 percent of her attempts from the line, good for No. 15 in the country. Clouden was also excellent at getting to the line, ranking No. 12 in free throw attempts with 192, and finishing No. 3 in free throws made with 170.
Finally, Clouden was named first-team All-Big Ten this season by both the coaches and media, earning unanimous honors from the coaches. She became just the seventh women’s basketball player at MSU to receive All-Big Ten accolades all four years in East Lansing. She earned honorable mention as a freshman, second-team honors as a sophomore and first-team accolades as a junior to mark four-straight years in East Lansing of earning All-Big Ten honors.
Clouden is the first Spartan to be drafted since Tori Jankoska was selected No. 9 overall in the first round by the Chicago Sky in 2017. Clouden is also the first Spartan to be invited to attend the WNBA draft since Aerial Powers was the fifth overall pick by the Dallas Wings in the 2016 draft.