8-time WNBA All-Star Nykesha Sales Joins UCF Women’s Basketball Staff

A former WNBA All-Star and one of the top players in UConn women’s basketball history will join the UCF women’s basketball team’s sideline for the 2016-17 season. Nykesha Sales has rounded out the Knights’ coaching staff, head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson announced.

“I am very excited to be a part of the UCF Knights family,” Sales said. “This position is an amazing opportunity to help build, encourage and empower our talented team. I want to thank Coach Abe for leading me here and I look forward to the success ahead.”

UCF’s newest assistant coach played for the Orlando Miracle/Connecticut Sun from 1999-2007 and was selected as an eight-time WNBA All-Star. Sales led the Connecticut Sun to two WNBA Finals and still reigns as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer (3,955 points; 14.3 ppg), which ranks among the WNBA’s all-time top 30. In addition, she finished her career with 1,157 rebounds, 683 assists and 490 steals.

“We are very excited that Nykesha has joined our women’s basketball family. She will be a huge asset to our program,” Abrahamson-Henderson said. “Nykesha is a winner and a proven champion in every aspect of her life. Clearly, her resume speaks volumes in terms of her basketball career. Nykesha will be a great teacher of the game, and her experience will add to the skill development of our players, especially the wings and small forwards. Her personality and ability to relate and connect with people will definitely be a positive addition to our program with recruiting top notch players around the country and internationally.”

Sales, who has lived in Orlando for the past 14 years, played professionally in Europe during WNBA off seasons in Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Prague, Turkey and Bosnia.

She has also devoted her time as an ambassador and guest coach for NBA Basketball Without Borders and the U.S. Sports Envoy Program. Using basketball clinics and community outreach to create positive social change within these programs, she impacted more than 2,500 children in countries including Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Venezuela, South Korea and Haiti from 2009-15.

Sales graduated from UConn in 1998 with a degree in business management. She left as the Huskies’ all-time leading scorer and still ranks among their top five with 2,178 points. In addition, she owns the school record for career steals (447).

Her stellar career at UConn was highlighted by the 1995 NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championship, a Final Four appearance in 1996 and two Elite 8 berths. She acquired numerous accolades including:
• 1995 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year
• 1995, 1996 BIG EAST All-Tournament Team
• 1997, 1998 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year
• 1997, 1998 BIG EAST All-Conference First Team
• 1995, 1996 BIG EAST All-Tournament Team
• 1997 BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player
• 1998 BIG EAST Player of the Year
• 1997, 1998 WBCA and Associated Press All-American
• 1994, 1995, 1996 Conference Academic All Star

In 1997, she earned a gold medal with Team USA at the Women’s World University Games. Sales was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 18.3 points per game. Later in 2000, she was named an alternate on the 2000 USA Basketball Olympic Team.

Sales was a member of the inaugural class (2006) of inductees to the University of Connecticut women’s basketball “Huskies of Honor” recognition program.

From 2013-16, she worked with the Connecticut Sun as a community liaison.


Photo Courtesy UCF Athletics

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