During her work for ESPN during the college basketball season and throughout the NCAA Tournament, Monarchs guard Kara Lawson has gotten to watch the best players in the game on a regular basis. With an eye on the WNBA Draft, and perhaps as much to scout her future opponents and teammates, Lawson shares her thoughts on several of the top prospects.

By Kara Lawson

La'Tangela Atkinson, forward, North Carolina
This is a player that I really love just for her athleticism and her body. She can give a team such versatility, she can defend so many different positions and has great height and great length. But she also understands what it means to be a role player and how to fit in with other great players. That is another skill that is sometimes undervalued. When you come to play in our league, you're going to play with a lot of great players. All of the teams have stars and La'Tangela has that as well with her college team with Latta and Larkin. Atkinson does the dirty work in order to make her mark on the game. This year, I think she has stepped up and averaged double-digit rebounds and has an attack mentality.

Seimone Augustus, guard, Louisiana State
Siemone understands how to play the game, plain and simple. I mean that in a very complementary way. While that term may be overused, she just understands the rhythm of the game and how to put her mark on it. No matter how she is being defended or the type of game that it is, she can adapt as an offensive player. At the same time, she has a tremendous sense of what she is good at, and never really deviates from that. Those things include her mid-range game, finding open spots on the floor and her off-the-dribble jumper. She is excellent at these things and does not deviate from them. She is at another level.

Sherill Baker, guard, Georgia
"One of the knocks against Sherrill is her size. She is not a point guard on the offensive end and is kind of smallish for a 2 position, but you'd be hard pressed to find a better on-the-ball defender in the game. Her anticipation skills defensively are outstanding. Averaging five steals a game is insane to me. But Sherril has offensively. She came to Georgia very raw and now averages between 17 and 18 points per game having worked on her mid-range game. She is not going to be a 3-point specialist, that's not her game and may be one her weaknesses, and does not have the ability to stretch a defense. But when you have the type of quickness that she has and the fact that she has improved her midrange game and can knock down that shot, I think she will be a player in the WNBA. I like her and I know she's a competitor. She plays the game the right way and understands how to fit in with other players.

Nikki Blue, guard, UCLA
Lisa Willis, guard, UCLA

Both Nikki Blue and her teammate Lisa Willis have intriguing their athleticism. She can very dynamic and played a huge role for a team for four years. I was anxious to see them both play in the NCAA Tournament and if they're able to advance against top competition. That enables coaches and scouts to get a better read as far as how they play on a bigger stage. I love Lisa Willis as well because she's complete. She can score, she passes the ball very well (I was surprised by how good a passer she is) and she's a smart player defensively. These two players had the pressure of having to perform every night for their team to win because they are not as strong on the interior. When a player has to perform every night in college under that pressure, it helps them as far as their ability to transition and succeed in our league because that pressure builds internally. They understand the consistency of effort in every game.

Monique Currie, guard, Duke
"Monique is just a big guard. She can play the 2 or the 3, but they are kind of the same thing in our league. The only real difference is the defensive matchups as you'll have bigger players if you're at the three spot. To me, Mo is complete. She has the strength and the body for our league. I like that she is a big, strong guard and that she shot like 44 percent from three this year. That is something she has improved greatly upon. Yet, she's always been a great player as far as breaking it down off the dribble and finishing. She has also played at a high level for four years and I am definitely partial to players who have played in big games at the college level and who have experienced success. Performing at a high level in pressure situations prepares you for our league and what you're going to face on a nightly basis.

Candice Dupree, forward, Temple
Candice is an intriguing prospect for me. I remember watching her play as a sophomore when I called one of Temple's games. Then I did one last year and now I've done a couple of games this year and to see how much better she's gotten is amazing. I have so much respect for Dawn Staley and for what she brings as a coach, so to me the pedigree enables her to understand what it takes to be a solid player. Having worked on expanding her game, Candice has added the ability to face up, step out and hit shots and mix in great post moves. With her big hands, good feet and solid athleticism, I think she has great potential upside. She's not going to knock you off your feet with her athleticism, but she has improved every year and has both a good work ethic and a desire to be good.

Tye'sha Fluker, center, Tennessee
Tye'sha is an important player in this Draft because of her size. If shooting is number 1, size is 1A. She's 6-5 and, with the strength that she has, will have a place on a team.

Scholanda Hoston, forward, LSU
I like her Scholanda. I like her length and the fact that she plays so hard on the defensive end. She is another example of a role player, L.S.U.'s best defensive player who really attacks you defensively. She's the aggressor on the defensive end and is long enough to be successful at that. But she has improved offensively and can hit shots. I like her attacking mentality offensively as well. Once again, she's a player that knows how to play the game with and around a star player in Seimone Augustus, and, to me, that's an important quality. She understands what it means to be a part of a team. I think she's mature, a fifth-year player, and when going from college to the WNBA, you want to make sure that players know how to handle themselves and are going to take care of themselves the right way.

Tamara James, forward, Miami
I haven't seen her play at all, I've heard that people are high on her but I haven't seen her enough.

Cappie Pondexter, guard, Rutgers
I really believe that Cappie is the draft pick that will have the most impact right away simply because of the nature of the position. When you're a guard, especially a lead guard like she is, you can really change a team pretty quickly. Look at the young lead guards who have had talent and come into the league, like Sue (Bird), like Diana (Taurasi), like Temeka Johnson last year in Washington. When you have the ball in your hands on nearly every possession, you can have more of an impact, so her position lends itself to the fact that she will be an impact player. She's definitely got a tremendous skill set offensively and she's got a body that's tailor-made for our league. She brings a physicality and strength, she can finish and she has the complete offensive game. Cappie also has the three-point shot in her arsenal as well as the one-on-one ability to break opponents down.

Ann Strother, guard, Connecticut
Shanna Zolman, guard, Tennessee

When you look at Zolman and Strother, if I'm biased to anything, one skill, it's shooting. If you can shoot, I think you've got a spot on somebody's team. In basketball, in general, that's one fundamental skill that is lacking, the ability to knock down shots. What makes Ann a little bit more attractive is her size. She's 6-3 and is a little bit more athletic. Her size really gives her an advantage coming in because there is so much size on the wing in our league. But for both, you will get a get a player from either Tennessee or UConn, top programs, and you know you're going to get a player that works hard, that is dedicated to improving their game and knows how to play the right way.

Sophia Young, forward, Baylor
A lot of people are wary of Sophia because of her size, but I think you have to be careful about that. There are many players with a tremendous will to win and a lot of toughness in our league and in the NBA. Elton Brand and Earl Boykins are undersized, but they're still effective because they are tough and have a tremendous desire to improve. That is what impresses me the most about Sophia. Look at when she started playing basketball and the growth she has shown. She haa gotten better every year at Baylor. And to me, that's important when you look at college players. A lot of players come in with talent but do they get better, and how sizeable are those improvements and increases each year? I don't see any reason why Sophia can't continue to make those improvements. Swin Cash was a "tweener" when she came into the league and she has proven that she has the perimeter skills offensively. I think Sophia is the type of athlete in that, like Swin, she's long and athletic, but has the body and the work ethic to improve and to make herself into whatever the team wants her.