One day after the 2014 WNBA Draft, James Madison women’s basketball senior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) signed a free-agent contract with the Washington Mystics.
“It’s a surreal feeling,” Burkholder said. “It was exciting to get the call as this has always been a goal of mine. I’m very thankful for the opportunity and I look forward to competing with the very best in the WNBA.”
By signing a contract, Burkholder will participate in the Mystics’ training camp to try and earn a spot on the team’s roster. Due to the new collective bargaining agreement, WNBA rosters have been expanded to 12 players although teams are not required to carry 12 players.
As a senior, Burkholder led the Dukes to their first NCAA tournament win since 1991, a 72-63 win over sixth-seeded Gonzaga in the first round. She was tabbed the 2014 Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year after leading the league in scoring (19.1 ppg), dropping a league-leading 102 3-pointers this season. Averaging 3.4 made 3-pointers per game, the 6-foot guard ranked third in the nation through the regular season.
The local Valley girl left her mark on the JMU record books. She finished her career with the purple and gold ranked fifth all-time in scoring (1,647), third all-time in rebounds (929) and seventh all-time in steals (190). She set a school record for career free-throw percentage (87.0 percent) after shooting a league-best 89.3 percent from the charity stripe as a senior. From beyond the arc this season, she sank the second-most 3-pointers in conference history (110).
Burkholder is the fourth player under head coach Kenny Brooks to sign a contract with a WNBA team. Meredith Alexis (‘07), Tamera Young (’08) and Dawn Evans (’11) all signed professional contracts following their senior campaigns.
The Washington Mystics are coming off a trip to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2013, their first appearance in the playoffs since 2010.
They open the season at home on Friday, May 16 against the reigning WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx. Tip-off at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Excited and humbled to be signing a free agent contract with the Washington Mystics :) thankful for this opportunity!— Kirby Burkholder (@Kirby_Skye) April 15, 2014