Wojta Representing UW-Green Bay Proud As First WNBA Draftee

Mark Remme
Lynx Editor/Writer

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Julie Wojta isn’t much for Twitter—she admits she rarely logs onto her account. But ever since the Minnesota Lynx drafted her 18th overall in April’s WNBA Draft, she’s been pushed well out of her social media comfort zone.

“I got a lot of request and e-mails about it,” she joked. “I’m thinking about deleting it.”

But she’ll take the newfound attention and well-wishes, because most of those reaching out to her are showing support for the first ever University of Wisconsin-Green Bay athlete to be selected in the WNBA Draft. Wojta, selected with the Lynx’s third pick, is attending training camp with the support of the entire Phoenix athletic department and fan base.

“The support that our team has from the community and just my teammates, they’ve all just jumped on and really made this exciting for me,” she said. “They love every second of it and are helping me enjoy it as well.”

Now the real challenge begins. Wojta, who enticed WNBA scouts with her style of play and her 6-foot-2 frame, has her work cut out for her in Lynx camp. Battling for a spot at the small forward position on a team with Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Monica Wright is no easy task. Assistant coach Jim Petersen said being in camp, facing WNBA players and playing in exhibition games will only benefit her as she finds her place in this league.

Both he and coach Cheryl Reeve said she’s got the competitiveness to succeed in the WNBA.

Petersen said he identified Wojta during the NCAA season as a player who has a particularly appealing skill set. She can shoot with efficiency, she can rebound the basketball and get to the free-throw line, and she has an intangible on the court that made her a noticeable prospect.

“I think probably the most endearing thing about Julie’s game is she’s a competitor. You can see that,” Reeve said. “The description that she would run through a brick wall for you, you can see that.”

She posted up in college but also stepped outside within Green Bay’s system, and that versatility offensively helped her put up a career-best 19.5 points per game during her senior season. Defensively, Petersen said she has the ability to guard multiple positions from the wing to the post.

Knowing that her place in this league will be at the wing, Wojta said her primary goal during camp is to work on her ball handling and improving her jump shot.

“She’s one of those players that is going to look better in games,” Petersen said. “I think she’s a gamer. That’s what I’m most interested in seeing. When she gets out into the game, what does she do?”

For now, she’s doing everything she can to make an impact on an incredibly deep team before the Lynx’s starters return from their offseason leagues. Wojta said it’s been a good adjustment period to get acquainted with the speed of the game before the first unit joins them on the court.

Each day she’s practicing at LifeTime Fitness Training Center, she knows she’s representing her college athletic department every step of the way.

“It’s a good feeling,” Wojta said. “It’s good for our program. It’s been nice.”

Day 2 Camp Notes

  • Reeve said the Lynx have implemented two offensive plays so far and used Monday to work on what they introduced on Day 1. She said the team also began their defense on Monday. “We scrimmaged a little bit today,” Reeve said. “I told them, tomorrow we go. Tomorrow we put in more parts to the playbook.”

  • Last year the Lynx entered camp knowing they had a good team but had no championships to their name. That changed after the 2011 WNBA title. Now, Minnesota must attempt to defend their title—something Reeve said the coaching staff is talking with the team about and outlining the steps necessary to make it happen.

    “Our players are so determined to do something that hasn’t been done in 10 years, which is to repeat as WNBA champions,” Reeve said. “It’s really kind of nice for me because there is something more to dangle in front of them. Last year was special, but now we enter into that really, really special mode and see if we can’t repeat. It’s going to be hard—really, really hard—but we want to be a great basketball team and put ourselves in position.”

  • Guard Candice Wiggins looked around the practice facility on Monday and realized that aside from Erin Thorn she was the oldest player on hand. That, along with her four years in the league, has helped her develop into a leadership role early in camp before the starters return. “Leadership comes in many forms, but definitely by example for me is the strongest way,” she said. “And just being positive. The positive energy is the right way to go in life. And when the vets come in, you know they’re going to shut down and be the leaders, and good leaders know when to follow.”

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