SE: Surrounded by Teammates and Coaches, Lewis Relishes WNBA Draft Moment

At 7:46 p.m., on Thursday night at K-State head coach Jeff Mittie’s house, Breanna Lewis thought she saw something life changing on the living room television. Watching the WNBA Draft, surrounded by teammates and coaches, Lewis saw her name pop up on screen. 

Still, she was hesitant to react. Eventually the reality of it hit Lewis. She was headed to the WNBA, drafted No. 23, overall, by the Dallas Wings. 

“A lot of emotions — excited, nervous — I’m just ready to get prepared,” said Lewis, picked in the second round. “It was very nerve wracking just to watch it.” 

Lewis waited over an hour to hear her name get called, though it felt much, much longer for her. 

6:34 p.m. — Lewis shows up to Mittie’s five picks into the first round of the draft. She rolls in with a brigade of teammates, most carrying handfuls of food. Chicken skewers. Meatballs. Fruits and veggies. Cookies and cookie cakes. The food was good. The company was better. 

“They were really encouraging,” Lewis said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve all been together since the season’s been over, so just to be around them again felt really great to have their support. My nerves were going but they were there to support me and calm me down. That was great to have.” 

7:05 — Eleven picks into the draft, Lewis is ready to settle in. She helps assistant coach Ebony Gilliam’s son, Shaw, who was born during Lewis’ junior season, up off the floor after taking a tumble. Lewis then plops down on a couch with Gilliam and tries to relax, which isn’t easy considering what’s at stake. 

“Coming in here and knowing that I’m going to be watching the WNBA Draft and my name could potentially be up there,” she said, “I was just trying to keep my nerves and remain calm and just really control what I can control.”

7:12 — “There she is, Breanna Lewis!” Mittie exclaims. The first round of the draft has completed, and Lewis has yet to be picked. Now, she’s at least on the top-10 prospects list of who was left, which excites the room. What the broadcast didn’t show was her four-year resume, a reason the Wings should be excited. 

Lewis, a three-time All-Big 12 Defensive Team selection, leaves K-State with school records in total blocked shots (282), blocked shots per game (2.20), blocks in a single game (8) and a single season (97). The three-time All-Big 12 pick also finished her Wildcat career with 1,552 points and 865 rebounds, which rank ninth and fifth at K-State, respectively. 

7:18 — Lewis takes a phone call and chats for a few minutes, wiping her eyes near the end of the conversation. It’s not a WNBA team, or even her agent. It’s from family, telling her that after 15 picks of not hearing her name called, not to worry or stress. This helps.

“It was just encouragement,” Lewis said. “It was middle-ish of the draft so they were just telling me, ‘It’s OK, just keep watching.’” 

7:44 — “Moving on up,” Lewis belts out, as her name is now No. 8 on the prospect list, which shuffles through on the bottom on the screen. There have now been 21 picks. She appears calm and not bothered by still being available. Appears being the key word. 

“I kept seeing everyone’s name getting called and I was, like, ‘I don’t know where I’m going to be placed. I don’t know what’s going to happen. This is out of my hands,’” she said. “I tried to remain calm, but I was shaking a little bit.”

7:46 — Lewis’ name appears, finally, and a collective sigh of relief can be felt by almost everyone in the room. The Wisconsin native was selected by Dallas, a team Mittie stated earlier was in dire need of a rim protector. 

“It was just relieving once I saw my name,” said Lewis, reliving the moment. “I was, like, ‘Guys, I think I see my name. I don’t want to get too excited right now, but I think that’s me.’ It was exciting.”

7:48 — “Lew, we have to get to work now,” yelled Chris Carr, a former NBA player who is now the Director of Student-Athlete Development for the K-State women’s team. It was his way of congratulating Lewis for the accomplishment, while also reminding her that the hard work it took to develop into a draft pick can’t stop now. It’s not something Lewis plans to forget anytime soon. 

“From K-State, I’ll remember that the emphasis is always just to work hard and keep pushing and keep pushing. Those are the things that really get you to where you are,” Lewis said. “These four years of college, it just didn’t come handed to me. I had to work to get to where I am, so I’ll be remembering not to take anything for granted and just to keep working hard.” 

7:58 — Lewis finishes up hugs and pictures with former teammates, now lifetime friends. Coaches shuffle in next for photos, standing next the eighth K-State player ever to be selected in the WNBA Draft. She joins Brittany Chambers, Shalee Lehning, Kendra Wecker, Megan Mahoney, Nicole Ohlde, Olga Firsova and Shanele Stires. 

“I have some big shoes to fill, so just to (join that group), it’s really exciting,” Lewis said. “You dream about this your whole life. Four years of college has prepared me to go on and play in the WNBA, which is so exciting. To know that I can keep moving forward and keep getting better is really exciting. I’m very, very excited to see what’s ahead.” 

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