The glow of Caliya Robinson’s smile could be seen from the opposite side of the Stegeman Coliseum hallway on Tuesday afternoon. She knew that only hours remained until her name would be called in the WNBA draft and a lifelong dream would be fulfilled.
At 8:45 p.m. Wednesday night, that came true for the Lady Bulldogs’ lone senior. Robinson was drafted by the Indiana Fever (6-28 last season) with the 28th pick of the third round of the draft. She is the second Lady Bulldog to be drafted in two seasons as Mackenzie Engram was a third-round selection by the Atlanta Dream in 2018.
Robinson displayed her WNBA-ready skills as Georgia’s leading offensive producer in her senior season. She averaged 14.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in 30 starts, was named to the All-SEC First Team and recently honored as the 2019 Georgia College Player of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
“We knew from the start that Caliya was going to be a special player,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said in a statement. “I am so happy for her and proud of the young lady she has become. The Indiana Fever are getting a player whose potential is through the roof. She has all the skill you need to be successful at the next level.”
Robinson is one of five players in program history to record over 1,000 points and has the second-highest block total (292) in school history. Entering the SEC tournament, Robinson was only a few blocks away from holding the record. She also finished with the ninth-best rebound mark in Georgia’s history with 874.
There are WNBA coaches who have thoughts similar to Taylor’s. Robinson is favored for her defensive and rebounding abilities, and that’s something Taylor challenged Robinson to escalate to another level in her final season.
Minnesota Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve highlighted her strengths, but also indicated a need for improvement if Robinson hopes to make a WNBA roster. One of those criticisms was Robinson drawing more fouls with her around-the-basket style of play.
“She’s a player that has a unique skill set in that she’s got a nice touch away from the basket,” Reeve said. “Probably defensively, that would be her biggest area of strength, the way that Georgia has played. I think it has positioned her well as a shot-blocker.”
Robinson will enter training camp with the Fever and fight for a final spot on the roster.