Bella Alarie drafted by Dallas Wings, joining father as 1st-round pick

Bella Alarie joins father as first-round draft pick (1:32)

Princeton's Bella Alarie is selected No. 5 by the Dallas Wings, following in her father's footsteps. Mark Alarie was the No. 18 pick out of Duke by the Nuggets in 1986. (1:32)

Princeton's Bella Alarie became the third player taken in the first round of the WNBA draft whose father was an NBA first-round pick.

Alarie was selected No. 5 by the Dallas Wings on Friday, and she is the third Ivy League player picked in the WNBA draft. Her father, Mark Alarie, was the No. 18 pick out of Duke by the Denver Nuggets in 1986. A 6-foot-8 forward, he played one season with the Nuggets and four with Washington, finishing his five-year NBA career averaging 7.5 points and 3.4 rebounds. Knee injuries hastened his retirement at age 27.

There also have been three other WNBA first-round selections who have had a parent taken in the first-round of another major sport's draft.

With the draft held remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bella spent the day with her family in Bethesda, Maryland, but said she didn't discuss the draft much with her father.

"[We] didn't talk too much about the draft because this is such a historic draft -- nothing has really been like this before," Bella Alarie said. "He could tell I was nervous and definitely had good advice on how to calm my nerves. Everything happens for a reason, so it was nice to have his support [in person]. Definitely a different night than you'd expect, but I think it went really well. Being around him and my family really did calm my nerves and it was good to have him around."

Bella Alarie, a 6-4 forward, averaged 17.5 points and 8.6 rebounds this season for the 26-1 Tigers. For her Princeton career, she averaged 16.1 points and 9.1 rebounds.

"I think I have great versatility as a player," Alarie said. "I can step out and shoot; I have a high basketball IQ. I like to find my teammates for open shots. I just play really hard. I love the defensive end. I think I'm well-rounded and that's modeled off a lot of the great players in the WNBA."

Bella Alarie said she looks forward to representing Princeton and the Ivy League in the WNBA.

"Princeton isn't really known as a basketball school. Not a Power 5 conference," she said. "The season before we got there and when I got there, we started putting it on the map as a great basketball school. It's an honor for me to represent my program tonight. To be selected No. 5 in the WNBA draft, there were a lot of great Ivy League players that came before me, and it was great to be the next one. I hope I rep them well."

Previous father-daughter NBA/WNBA first-round picks before the Alaries include Karl Malone and Cheryl Ford, and Lexie Brown and Dee Brown. Ford was taken No. 3 by the Detroit Shock in 2003, while Malone was No. 13 by the Utah Jazz in 1985; both went to Louisiana Tech. Duke's Lexie Brown was chosen No. 9 by the Connecticut Sun in 2018, while Dee Brown, who went to Jacksonville, was taken No. 19 by the Boston Celtics in 1990.

There is also a mother/daughter combo of first-rounders in the WNBA: Imani McGee-Stafford of Texas was taken No. 10 by the Chicago Sky in 2016; her mother, Pamela McGee, was No. 2 by the Sacramento Monarchs in 1997. Pamela McGee finished her college career at Southern Cal in 1984 and was 34 years old when the WNBA launched in 1997. Pamela's son and Imani's brother, JaVale McGee, was a first-round pick in the NBA, at No. 18 by Washington in 2008.

Two other WNBA first-round picks had fathers taken in the Major League Baseball draft's first round. Stanford's Candice Wiggins was chosen No. 3 by the Minnesota Lynx in 2008. Her father, Alan Wiggins, was the No. 8 pick by the California Angels in the January 1977 draft, when baseball still had a draft that month for winter graduates. That drafted ended after 1986.

Tennessee's Diamond DeShields was picked third by the Chicago Sky in 2018. Her father, Delino DeShields, was the No. 12 pick by the Montreal Expos in 1987.

Five players taken in the WNBA's first round in past years also had fathers who were drafted into pro leagues, but not as first-round picks:

  • Baylor's Kalani Brown, No. 7 by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2019. Father P.J. Brown was an NBA Round 2 pick, No. 29, by the New Jersey Nets in 1992.

  • South Carolina's Kaela Davis, No. 10 by the Dallas Wings in 2017. Father Antonio Davis was an NBA Round 2 pick, No. 45, by the Indiana Pacers in 1990.

  • Tennessee's Tamika Catchings, No. 3 by the Indiana Fever in 2001. Father Harvey Catchings was an NBA Round 3 pick, No. 42, by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1974.

  • Tennessee's Isabelle Harrison, No. 12 by the Phoenix Mercury in 2015. Father Dennis Harrison Jr. was an NFL Round 4 pick, No. 92, by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1978.

  • Oklahoma's Courtney Paris, No. 7 by the Sacramento Monarchs in 2009. Father Bubba Paris was an NFL Round 2 pick, No. 29, by the San Francisco 49ers in 1982.

Also, there are Natalie and Nate Williams. Natalie, a volleyball and basketball standout at UCLA, was taken No. 3 by the Utah Starzz in 1999. Her father, Nate, was taken No. 1 in what was called the "Hardship Draft" for underclass players in 1971 by the Cincinnati Royals.