Talk about a coincidence: on April 28, 1998, Ruthy Hebard was born in Chicago. Days after her birth, she was adopted and moved to Alaska, where she'd grow up. And almost 22 years later, the All-American forward was picked in the 1st round of the WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky.
Soon, she'll return to the city where she was born.
"I think it’s just crazy," Hebard said. "Everyone’s saying that life comes full circle, so I know I’m definitely excited to go to Chicago and explore and look around and see all that fun stuff, like what could have been."
The Sky chose Hebard eighth overall in last week's draft, which she watched with her family in her hometown of Fairbanks. Hours later, the town honored her with a parade in the snow. Hebard waved and smiled as she stood with the upper-half of her body poking through the sunroof.
"I’ll never forget just driving through the snow with my family next to me and on the road just waving and honking," Hebard remembered. "People were playing the Oregon fight song, there were big signs and all this fun stuff. So just remembering Fairbanks, and knowing I’ll always have Fairbanks and all of Alaska behind me."
In Hebard, the Sky are getting a talented, accomplished, efficient player. This past season, she led NCAA Women's Basketball in field goal percentage, making 68.5% of her shots. She also averaged 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
And then there's what she pulled off as a sophomore. In February 2018, Hebard set a new collegiate record by making 33 consecutive shots.
"That was really fun just to go on that streak and have people cheering me on," Hebard said. "I remember when I missed the shot, the whole crowd stood up and cheered. That was the only time I’ll get applauded for missing a shot. But it was just really fun, really memorable, and I’m just happy to break a record in college."
Now, she'll take her pinpoint accuracy to the Windy City, where she hopes she'll eventually become as productive in the WNBA as she was with the Ducks.
"I’m more excited to go and play with them and hopefully just make an impact," said Hebard. "I know it probably won’t be the impact I had as a senior at Oregon, but I hope I’ll work my way up to that point."