It’s been quite a ride for Lia Galdeira, and the spotlight just turned a bit brighter.
The former Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball All-State Player of the Year from Konawaena was drafted by the WNBA’s Washington Mystics on Thursday. Galdeira is the first high school player from Hawaii to be drafted by the pro league.
At Konawaena, Galdeira was a blur on the court and a playmaker in crunch time, averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and five steals per game. She sparked the Wildcats to three state championships.
The four-time All-State and three-time POY played at Washington State along with fellow Wildcat Dawnyelle Awa. She had a tryout with the national team in 2013 shortly after averaging 15 points, five rebounds and roughly three steals per game for the Cougars.
By the end of her junior year, when she averaged 20 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, Galdeira was the program’s second-leading scorer with 1,710 points. She closed her career ranked second in 3-point baskets made, field goals made, and steals.
She turned pro and went to Europe to play pro ball. She played for Haskovo 2012 in Bulgaria, posting averages of 22.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.
Then came the WNBA draft. She wasn’t only the first island hoopster drafted by the league, but the first Washington State Cougar picked.
One mock-draft site projected Galdeira as the 26th pick to Seattle.
Nearly two decades ago, Kamehameha and UH standout Nani Cockett blazed a trail to international hoops by playing professional basketball in Israel, and then later in Switzerland and Greece. She also made the Los Angeles Sparks’ reserve team, but her career had much more potential prior to knee injuries.