Current Team: Washington Mystics | #4
Draft: 2020 | Rider | 3rd round (39th overall)
The Down Low
Stella's WNBA career has appropriately been called a "cinderella story." She was drafted in the 3rd round of the WNBA draft. That's a difficult position in a small and talented league, where lower round picks rarely actually make the roster. And she originally didn't -- she was cut by the Phoenix Mercury ahead of the 2020 season. She was then picked up by the Chicago Sky as a replacement player, and rode the bench for half of the season. She was cut by the Sky too when the player she was replacing returned. She was then picked up by the Washington Mystics, who needed an additional player due to injury. And here is where it gets good: she had an absolutely breakout game once with the Mystics, scoring 25 points and getting the most 3-pointers of any Mystics Rookie ever. After the 2020 season, coach Mike Thibault told her that they were considering her their 2021 draft pick (i.e. that they would be investing in her development as a young player moving forward).
But Thibault is not a fairy godfather, Stella made it here from her own hard work. Her college coach at Rider (who rides hard for her in every interview), has described how Stella would show up at 6:30 am, ahead of the 8:00am team practice to get additional work in. (This is why she is a promising young athlete in the WNBA, and I just write about the league from my couch.)
Know Your Meme
I don't know about you but I just scream "STELLA" at my television every time she scores. You may also see "#FREESTELLA" on twitter to encourage coach to put her in the game.
More on Stella
- Stella Johnson is the WNBA Draft’s best Cinderella story (Natalie Weiner, SB Nation)
- The Indefatigable Stella Johnson Is WNBA-Ready (Howard Megdal, FiveThirtyEight)
- Cashing in on new opportunity after being cut twice as rookie, Stella Johnson helps Mystics snap skid (Michelle Voepel, ESPN)