WNBA to Make Dreams Come True for Young Female Hoop Stars

League Launches 10th Anniversary Celebration, WNBA Draft and Pre-Draft Camp Plans

The 2006 WNBA Draft will be held in Boston on Wednesday, April 5, beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The WNBA made the announcement today in honor of February 1st being National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

With the Draft set to take place at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, and the league’s Pre-Draft Camp scheduled for Boston’s Emmanuel College, the WNBA events will conclude a week-long celebration of women’s basketball emanating from Boston.

“We have a great opportunity to gather in one city to celebrate the inspiring accomplishments, growth and popularity of women’s basketball,” said WNBA President Donna Orender. “This will be about dreams fulfilled and dreams inspired. With our Pre-Draft Camp in town and with our Draft taking place less than 24 hours after an NCAA national champion is crowned, Boston will be the Mecca of women’s basketball during the first week of April.”

In addition to the WNBA’s Pre-Draft Camp on April 3 and Draft on April 5, Boston will host the Women’s NCAA Final Four on April 2 and 4 at the TD Banknorth Garden. Also taking place in Boston that week will be the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association convention.

The move of the WNBA Draft to Boston represents a departure from previous years when the event was held at NBA TV studios in New Jersey. Prior Pre-Draft Camps also were conducted in the metropolitan New York area and, for a time, in Chicago.

“WNBA Draft: What She Dreams For” will be the theme for the league’s events in Boston. And in celebration of women’s basketball, the WNBA will be inviting youth league and high school basketball players from the Boston region to the Draft day event.

ESPN2 will provide exclusive first round coverage of the Draft with continued coverage of the second and third rounds on ESPNU and NBA TV. In addition, WNBA.com will provide complete analysis and comprehensive coverage throughout all three rounds.

“We are thrilled the WNBA Draft is coming to Boston and the Commonwealth,” said Don Stirling, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Sports & Entertainment Commission. “On the heels of the Women’s Final Four in April, and with our partners at the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, we are excited to extend this wonderful celebration of women’s basketball as we welcome the 2006 WNBA Draft to Boston.”

“We are very pleased that Boston’s spectacular new convention center has been chosen as the host site for the 2006 WNBA Draft,” added James E. Rooney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which owns and operates the BCEC. “Boston will be a hub of women’s basketball activity that week. The BCEC will be a great backdrop for the draft and we’re excited to work with the WNBA to make this event a success for the city of Boston and WNBA fans across the nation.”

The WNBA Pre-Draft Camp will offer WNBA coaches and general managers an opportunity to evaluate the skills of approximately 40 top prospects from the current collegiate senior class. The players will participate in on-court sessions scheduled for the morning, afternoon and evening of April 3.

The Minnesota Lynx has the first overall selection in the draft by virtue of winning the WNBA Draft Lottery held on Oct. 24, 2005. The Phoenix Mercury and the Charlotte Sting own the second and third selections, respectively (the complete team-by-team selection order appears below).

This year’s draft class is headed by LSU forward and 2005 consensus NCAA player of the year Seimone Augustus. The Baton Rouge, La. native is a three-time AP and two-time Kodak All-America selection.

Other top players expected to be selected are Baylor forward Sophia Young, Duke guard/forward Monique Currie and Rutgers guard Cappie Pondexter. Young was a 2005 Kodak and AP All-America and was named the 2005 NCAA Women’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player as she led Baylor to the NCAA championship. Currie was named to the Kodak and AP All-America teams in 2005, while Pondexter is a three-time AP All-America.

The WNBA’s 10th anniversary season tips off on Saturday, May 20 and will include ABC’s national telecast from Sacramento where the defending WNBA Champion Monarchs will commemorate their 2005 WNBA title by raising their championship banner. The Monarchs will then square off against All-Star guard Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury at ARCO Arena beginning at 4 p.m. EDT. Opening day also includes the inaugural game of the league’s 14th franchise, the Chicago Sky, as it visits the Charlotte Sting.