WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dropping 18 points in the Washington Mystics' 89-78 win over the Connecticut Sun in Game 5 of the 2019 Women's National Basketball Association Finals, former Saint Joseph's women's basketball guard Natasha Cloud '15 became a WNBA champion on Thursday evening at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.
Cloud, drafted 15th overall by the Mystics in the 2015 WNBA draft, started all nine playoff games at the point and averaged 13.1 points per game, 6.2 assists per game, and 3.4 rebounds per game in a team-leading 34.2 minutes per game during Washington's historic run to its first WNBA title in franchise history.
Cloud also led the Mystics in minutes played during the regular season, making all 34 starts en route to a career-best 9.0 ppg, 5.6 apg, and 2.5 rpg. During a standout fifth year in the league, Cloud broke the franchise's career assists record (August 16 vs. Minnesota) and single-season assists record (September 6 vs. Dallas); she now sits at an astounding 617 career assists with the Mystics after dishing out 190 this season alone.
A native of Broomall, Pennsylvania and product of Cardinal O'Hara High School, Cloud remains third in SJU's career records for assists (582) and is a member of the Hawks' 1,000-point club (1,049) through just three seasons at SJU.
The Hawks were also represented on the other end of the floor, as Chris Koclanes '15 capped his first year as an assistant coach for the Sun. Koclanes was Saint Joseph's video coordinator for two seasons (2013-15) and earned his MS in Organizational Development & Leadership from Hawk Hill.
"We are thrilled with the accomplishments of Natasha Cloud and Chris Koclanes, both of whom are SJU Hawks that represented their respective WNBA franchises, the Washington Mystics and the Connecticut Sun, in the championship series," beamed Saint Joseph's women's basketball head coach Cindy Griffin following the conclusion of the finals.
"It has been great to see Tash's game elevate to such a high level of efficiency, which has complemented her ability to make others around her better both offensively and defensively. Chris has grown from our video graduate assistant to assistant coach of one of the best teams in the WNBA. His work ethic and ability to relate to people match his incredible attention to detail and basketball IQ. I am quite proud of both of them because they exemplify 'The Hawk Will Never Die' mentality in all that they do. One has been crowned a champion, but both are champions in life!"