10 Things You Might Not Know About the WNBA Draft
It's that time of year again as the WNBA Draft 2005 is upon us. So for
those of you who have been hibernating all winter, here are ten cool things you
might not have known about this year's event, the prospects and some of the other
cast of characters that are involved.
In The Family
last name Irvin resonates with fans all over Texas. Former Dallas Cowboys wide
receiver Michael Irvin won three Super Bowls in the 1990's and has gone on to
work for ESPN. But a new Irvin, Sandora
, has turned heads in Texas. A senior at TCU, Michael's niece set an
NCAA record with 16 blocks in a game. She is a projected top five pick in Saturday's
Georgia center Kara Braxton
has not played competitive basketball in more than a year and a half. Why? Because
she gave birth about three months ago. But that has not kept Braxton out of the
gym. She has worked her way back into shape and has made a mother of an impression
lately - Braxton was one of the most impressive players at the WNBA pre-Draft
camp this past weekend. Many coaches and scouts think Braxton may have played
her way into the Top Ten.
Start of Something Good
and Nicole Ohlde
were selected fourth and sixth overall in last
year's Draft out of Minnesota and Kansas State respectively, they were not exactly
nabbed from traditional women's basketball powerhouses. Yet, just a year later,
their former teammates could be Top Five picks... Minnesota's Janel
and Kansas State's Kendra
were both Kodak All-America selections in 2005.
it a Comeback
spring, the V Foundation for Cancer Research named Texas guard Jamie
recipient of the 2004 V Foundation Comeback Award named for the late
Jim Valvano. She missed two seasons following post-concussive symptoms which forced
her to leave competitive play at Stanford and retire with a NCAA medical hardship
in November of her sophomore year. She came back to earn All-Big 12 First Team
honors in 2004 and 2005.
Goes a Long Way
four years ago, Sancho Lyttle
had never played a game of organized basketball. Growing up in St. Vincent, British
West Indies, she just was not into the game. "One of my coaches at home tried
to open a women's tournament. He had a friend up here and needed some tall players,
so I came. I had no skills then," she said. Four years later, she led the country
in rebounding (12.1 rpg).
Global Language of Hoops
sleeper in the this year's draft is George Washington forward Anna
. Called "deceptive" by more than several of her fellow prospects,
Montanana grew up in Spain and came to the U.S. to play basketball in college
unable to speak English. In addition to mastering the language, she has become
fluent in her sport as well and was an All-Atlantic 10 First Team selection in
2004 and 2005.
Florida State senior Roneeka
looks familiar? Maybe that is because you have seen her identical twin
sister, Doneeka Hodges
, who was a 5-9 rookie with the Sparks last season. Both played
together at L.S.U., but Roneeka opted transfer and forger her own identity. Roneeka
ended up at F.S.U. and more than doubled her scoring productivity (19.2 ppg) in
her final year in college.
guard Katie Smith
, who will be co-hosting the live
on Saturday, knows many of these prospects quite well. As an assistant
coach at Ohio State the past two seasons, Smith got a unique look at many of the
prospects, including on of the nation's top 3-point shooters, Caity
, a senior guard at Ohio State. "I've grown up watching Katie Smith
play, both then and now," Matter, a Columbus native, said.
the Successful Pair
Tech guard Erica Taylor
is not the only athlete in her (growing). Not only is she married to middleweigh
boxing contender Jermaine Taylor, but the pair just had a child three months ago.
She was back playing five weeks later. She was actually two months pregnant during
2004 NCAA Tournament.
"Jermaine and I have challenging careers," she said.
"He's also away a lot as well, so he is used to being an athlete and knows what
it takes. We don't get to see each other as much as we'd like, but we're young
and we have out whole lives."
in Another Rookie
39 players selected on Saturday will not be the only rookies on the scene. WNBA
President Donna Orender will be master of ceremonies at her first official WNBA
event. It will be the first Draft in nine years where Val Ackerman is not announcing
the names. Draft
begins at 11:30 a.m. ET on WNBA.com and at noon on ESPN2. Pam Ward,
Ann Meyers and Rebecca Lobo will be anchoring the television coverage.