CLEVELAND, April 4, 2007 -- Lindsey Harding and Jessica Davenport were selected with the top two overall picks in the 2007 WNBA Draft, then traded in exchange for established stars.
The Phoenix Mercury picked Harding with the top overall pick and traded her to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Tangela Smith, a 6-4 forward and an All-Star in 2006. The San Antonio Silver Stars followed suit, selecting Jessica Davenport with the second pick and trading her, along with a first round pick in 2008, to the New York Liberty in exchange for Becky Hammon and a second round pick in 2008.
For Harding, the moment was the culmination of a longtime dream. Asked when she could remember the first time as a girl the WNBA came into her consciousness, the top pick said, "It was actually the first time I ever went to a Comets game; I was actually debating to run track or play basketball because I loved track. But I saw the team out there, I saw the environment and I saw their love of the game and from that moment I remember telling my dad, 'I want to play basketball.' The WNBA helped decide my future in sports."
"I'm glad to be playing professional basketball and I'm really excited about being in New York," added Davenport. "New York's a big city and everyone says that's the pinnacle of where you want to play basketball. It will be a fun experience. I'm sure my family will be really excited because New York's not that far from home in Columbus (Ohio)."
The Chicago Sky selected Armintie Price with the third pick, followed by Noelle Quinn (Minnesota Lynx), Tiffany Jackson (New York Liberty) and Bernice Mosby (Washington Mystics).
In addition to adding Harding to the roster by means of the trade and Quinn with the fourth pick, Minnesota used three second round picks to select guard Eshaya Murphy, forward Brooke Smith and forward Kathrin Ress. Quinn, Murphy and Smith played against each other in college and were all named to the Pac-10 First Team this past season.
Connecticut closed out the first round with back-to-back selections, picking forward Kamesha Hairston in the 12th spot and center Sandrine Gruda, a native of France, 13th overall.
The WNBA will tip off its second decade of play in 2007 and will feature a record number of national telecasts. Comprehensive coverage of the WNBA regular season will include 91 national telecasts on ABC, ESPN2 and NBA TV. The season will begin on May 19 when the defending champion Detroit Shock hosts the Sacramento Monarchs in a rematch of last year's WNBA Finals. The WNBA All-Star Game will be played at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on July 15 at 3:30 pm ET with live coverage on ABC.
In 2006, the WNBA concluded its historic tenth season with an action-packed WNBA Playoffs. The 2006 WNBA Finals capped a playoff run in which the WNBA saw significant increases in attendance and viewership. The Finals, which aired live on ESPN2, saw the Detroit Shock top the Sacramento Monarchs in the first WNBA Finals match up ever to go to a fifth and deciding game.