Twelve of the top women’s college basketball players in the country gathered last week under the bright lights of the ESPN studios in Bristol, Connecticut for the 2013 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm. This year’s top trio was dubbed the ‘3 to See’. The Phoenix Mercury, had the first overall pick and selected Baylor’s Brittney Griner. Next up, the Chicago Sky took Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne second overall. And the Tulsa Shock used the third overall choice to choose Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins.
Griner was dominant throughout her four years at Baylor and finished her stellar collegiate career as a center ranked first in Women’s NCAA Division I history, with 748 blocks and 18 dunks. She also finished second with points (3,283) and double figure scoring games (146 of 148). Her six-foot-eight presence brings an immediate impact to a team that finished dead last in the Western Conference (7-27), suffering player losses to injuries that included a pair of All-Stars in Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor.
Delle Donne brings a serious offensive pedigree to the table, as she led the nation in scoring as a junior, finished second as a senior and ended her career as the fifth leading scoring in NCAA history with 3,039 points. The six-foot-five star Blue Hen forward heads to a Sky team that has never made the playoffs in their six-year franchise history. After the Delaware forward was picked, ESPN’s Rebecca Lobo dubbed Chicago as the preliminary favorites in the East.
Diggins is a four time All-American who finished her career leading the lady Irish in points, steals, and ranks second in assists.
The closest team to the Hampton Roads region is the Washington Mystics, who chose Ohio State guard Tayler Hill, a five-foot-ten defensive specialist who average 20-plus points in her junior and senior year for the Lady Buckeyes. The New York Liberty had two first round picks (four and seven) in the draft and selected six-foot-four Texas A&M center, Kelsey Bone who declared a year early and six-foot-two Oklahoma State Forward Toni Young, respectively. Bone was named to the All-SEC First Team and a unanimous All-Big 12 pick. The Seattle Storm went with Maryland’s Tianna Hawkins at number six. The six-foot-three forward was an All-ACC First Team selection and lead the conference in scoring.
The San Antonio Silver Stars took six-foot-four center, Kayla Alexander from Syracuse at number eight. Alexander is the only player in school history, to score 2,000 or more points with 2,024. A surprise in the tournament, the California Lady Bears were led all the way to the Final Four by five-foot-nine guard Layshia Clarendon, who was chosen with the ninth pick by the defending WNBA champion Indiana Fever. Clarendon earned All-PAC-12 First Team honors as a senior.
With the 10th choice, the Los Angeles Sparks went with five-foot-nine guard A’dia Matthies. She was the first Wildcats guard, male or female, to post 1,900 points, 600 rebounds, 300 assists, and 300 steals in college. Under new coach and former Lady Monarch Basketball great Anne Donovan, the Connecticut Sun stayed local and chose five-foot-nine UConn guard Kelly Farris with the 11th choice. The Lady Husky was the 2013 All-Big East Defensive Player of the Year. The 12th and final pick of the first round was held by the Western Conference champion Minnesota Lynx. They picked five-foot-nine Nebraska standout guard Lindsey Moore. She was a two-time finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award, another ODU Women’s Basketball great, which is given to the nation’s top Division I point guard.
By Brian Jerry