Nykesha Sales

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Nykesha Sales
UCF Knights
PositionAssistant coach
LeagueAmerican Athletic Conference
Personal information
Born (1976-05-10) May 10, 1976 (age 42)
Bloomfield, Connecticut
Listed height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Career information
High schoolBloomfield (Bloomfield, Connecticut)
CollegeConnecticut (1994–1998)
Playing career1998–2008
PositionSmall forward
Coaching career2016–present
Career history
As player:
1999–2007Orlando Miracle/Connecticut Sun
As coach:
2016–presentUCF (assistant)
Career highlights and awards

Nykesha Simone Sales (born May 10, 1976) is an assistant coach at the University of Central Florida.[1] She is a former professional basketball player in the WNBA, as well as playing in the Bosnian league for the ZKK Mladi Krajisnik club. Her primary position is the small forward. Her second position is shooting guard. In 1999 Sales was added to the roster of the USA FIBA Senior National Team. Her brother Brooks Sales played forward for Villanova from 1998–2002, and currently plays overseas in Spain for the Club Baloncesto Breogán of Lugo.[2]

High school[edit]

Sales attended Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and lettered in basketball. She was named the USA Today High School National Player of the Year in basketball, as a senior.[3] Sales was named a High School All-American by the WBCA. She participated in the WBCA High School All-America Game in 1994, scoring 21 points.[4]

Amateur career[edit]

Sales attended the University of Connecticut (UConn) as a business major from 1994-98. She was a member of the powerhouse UConn women's basketball team.

In 1995 she helped lead UConn to an undefeated NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship as well as a Final Four appearance in the 1996 NCAA Tournament. She was named Rookie of the Year in 1995. In 1997 she was a member of the Gold medal USA Women's World University Games. In 1997-98 she helped the team make two Elite Eight appearances. In the 1997-98 season, she was named to the All-American first team, Defensive Player of the Year, and also the BIG EAST Player of the Year. She was also named to the 1996-97 and 1997-98 Kodak All-America teams. Sales was a member of the inaugural class (2006) of inductees to the University of Connecticut women's basketball "Huskies of Honor" recognition program.[5]

USA Basketball[edit]

Sales was named to the team representing the USA at the 1994 William Jones Cup competition in Taipei, Taiwan. The USA team won all eight games, winning the gold medal, but not without close calls. In three games the teams had to come from behind to win. One preliminary game ended up as a single-point victory, and the gold medal game went to overtime before the USA team beat South Korea by a single point, 90–89. Sales averaged 2.5 points per game.[6]

Sales competed with USA Basketball as a member of the 1995 Jones Cup Team that won the Bronze in Taipei. She averaged 7.8 points per game and was second on the team in steals, with ten.[7]

Sales was invited to be a member of the Jones Cup team representing the USA in 1996. She helped the team to a 9–0 record, and the gold medal in the event. Sales averaged 4.8 points per game.[8]

Sales represented the USA at the 1997 World University Games held in Marsala, Sicily, Italy in August 1997. The USA team won all six games, earning the gold medal at the event. Sales was the team's leading scorer, averaging 18.3 points per game. In the game against Cuba, Sales scored 32 points, which set a record for points scored in a gold medal game, and represents the third highest point total by an American recorded at the World University Games.[9]

UConn scoring record controversy[edit]

Sales left college as UConn’s all-time leading scorer with 2,178 career points. She scored the record-breaking points as part of a staged controversial layup. Sales had suffered an injury that had essentially ended her collegiate career. UConn's next game (against Villanova University) began with Villanova permitting Sales to complete an uncontested layup; UConn then returned the favor, allowing Villanova to score (the game essentially began with a 2-2 score before serious play commenced).[10] UConn head coach Geno Auriemma felt bad that Sales did not already have the record, as he had made her sit on many occasions to avoid running up the score. The staged basket, while questioned in retrospect, was his attempt to make it up to her.[11] He contacted the previous record holder, Kerry Bascom, as well as Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese to ensure that the incident would not be a problem, although the media was, and to a degree continues to be, critical of the move. Sales' record would eventually be broken by Tina Charles.[12]

Incidentally, Sales wore #24 in high school, the same number worn by Kerry Bascom at Connecticut. When Sales was considering going to Connecticut, she was respectful enough of Bascom's position, that she asked if she could wear #42, reversing the digits, rather than asking to wear #24.[13]

Professional career[edit]


In 1998, Sales was assigned to the Orlando Miracle as part of the expansion draft.[14] She remained with the franchise even when the Miracle relocated to Uncasville, Connecticut and was renamed the Connecticut Sun prior to the 2003 season. She helped lead the team to the WNBA Finals in 2004 and 2005. Sales has been named to the WNBA All-Star team six times. Until she missed 12 games in the 2006 season, Sales had started 248 consecutive regular season games, the second longest such streak in WNBA history.[3]

Despite repeatedly making the annual all-star team since the beginning of her career, Sales was left off the announced All-Decade Team on June 13, 2006 as part of a celebration of the league's 10th Anniversary. On March 11, 2008, Sales noted that she would not participate in the 2008 WNBA campaign due to nagging injuries. Sales also noted that her sitting out was not an early retirement, but just a break.[15] However, she ultimately did not return to the WNBA.


Sports Diplomacy[edit]

Ms. Sales has also been an active participant in the SportsUnited Sports Envoy program for the U.S. Department of State. In this function, she has traveled to Cape Verde, Haiti, the Republic of Korea, Uganda, Ukraine, and Venezuela, where she worked with the likes of Becky Bonner, Christopher Clunie, Samuel Dalembert, Alex English, Willie Greens, Jason Maxiell and Tamika Raymond to conduct basketball clinics and events that directly or indirectly reached more than 2350 youth from underserved areas. In so doing, Sales helped contribute to SportsUnited's mission to reach out to youth populations in order to promote community leadership, education, women's inclusion and empowerment, inclusion of marginalized communities, and the inclusion of people with disabilities.[16][17][18][19][20][21]

University of Connecticut statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
Nykesha Sales Statistics[22] at University of Connecticut
1994-95 35 159 294 0.541 35 81 0.432 45 77 0.584 162 4.6 73 11 102 753 398 11.4
1995-96 38 237 459 0.516 30 89 0.337 92 131 0.702 168 4.4 101 11 104 1028 596 15.7
1996-97 34 215 430 0.500 29 81 0.358 97 128 0.758 192 5.6 111 7 143 917 556 16.4
1997-98 30 241 426 0.566 40 105 0.381 106 135 0.785 166 5.7 86 11 98 813 628 20.9
Totals 137 852 1609 0.530 134 356 0.376 340 471 0.722 688 5.0 371 40 447 3511 2178 15.9

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sales, UCF off to hot start". Journal Inquirer. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  2. ^ Brooks Sales on cbbreogan.com
  3. ^ a b "Players". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
  4. ^ "WBCA High School All-America Game Box Scores". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Archived from the original on 2014-07-15. Retrieved 29 Jun 2014.
  5. ^ "Women's Basketball 1995 National Championship Team to be Recognized as "Huskies of Honor"". Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  6. ^ "1994 Women's R. William Jones Cup". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  7. ^ "1995 Women's R. William Jones Cup". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  8. ^ "1996 Women's R. William Jones Cup". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Eighteenth World University Games -- 1993". USA Basketball. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Staged Shot Continues to Pick Up Controversy". Los Angeles Times. Times Mirror Co. Associated Press. February 27, 1998. p. C-4. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  11. ^ Auriemma, Geno; MacMullan, Jackie (2006). Geno: In Pursuit of Perfection. Warner Books. p. 138. ISBN 0-446-57764-2.
  12. ^ Gardner, Sam (February 29, 2016). "18 years later, Nykesha Sales still carries the weight of her record-breaking shot". FOX Sports. 21st Century Fox. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  13. ^ Auriemma, MacMullan; p. 109
  14. ^ a b "Players". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
  15. ^ "Sales to Take One Year Hiatus from WNBA". March 2008.
  16. ^ "Basketball Envoy Program in Venezuela | Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs". eca.state.gov. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  17. ^ Strela, The Ralles Family: Mike, Rachel, Jack & (2010-08-05). "The Ralles Adventure: Basketball without Borders". The Ralles Adventure. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  18. ^ "Empowering Women and Girls: WNBA Basketball Envoys in Ukraine | Exchange Programs". exchanges.state.gov. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  19. ^ "Programs and Events | Embassy of the United States Port Au Prince, Haiti". haiti.usembassy.gov. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  20. ^ "(Yonhap Interview) U.S. sports envoys hope to inspire underprivileged kids to succeed". english.yonhapnews.co.kr. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  21. ^ "Uganda: Athletes Leverage Basketball to Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness (September 2009)". www.pepfar.gov. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  22. ^ "UConn Media Guide" (PDF). p. 70. Retrieved 24 August 2012.

External links[edit]