The 2006 WNBA Draft Live
Storm Gets Grant
Posted at 12:22 p.m.
There were some eyebrows raised when the Storm passed on a point guard with Megan Duffy and Erin Grant still available in the second round. As usual, Anne Donovan knew precisely what she was doing. The Storm took Grant, considered a likely first-round pick, with the 39th pick. Nancy Lieberman called it "the steal of the Draft" on NBA TV.
Though there are still three picks left in the Draft, I've got to hustle over to the Furtado Center for conference calls with Anne and the picks. Stay tuned for much, much more Draft coverage on storm.wnba.com later today.
Posted at 12:15 p.m.
It takes some real effort to catch the NBA TV commentators off-guard, but Washington did so by taking Miriam Sy out of Oklahoma City University. No scouting report, alas. Zane Teilane - apparently pronounced Zah-nay Tey-law-nay - is a more familiar name, and the 6-7 product from Western Illinois goes to Detroit. Two more picks before the Storm makes its final pick.
Posted at 12:00 p.m.
After the third round kicked off with Tiffany Stansbury, a couple of players whose names had been bandied about in the first round are now off the board. San Antonio, an eye to the future, took DePaul post Khara Smith. Smith isn't expected to play in the WNBA this season, but is a first-round talent. Next up, Megan Duffy went to Minnesota - a mere 24 picks after there was talk of her being the Lynx's second first-round pick.
Through Two Rounds
Posted at 11:55 a.m.
Surprisingly, Megan Duffy and Erin Grant are still on the board. We've seen players drop a lot in the WNBA Draft before, but I think these are the hardest falls I can remember.
Storm Takes Eshe
Posted at 11:45 a.m.
Anne Donovan prefers to keep five posts on her final roster, and the Storm added another player to that competition by using its second pick on Florida forward Dalila Eshe. Eshe had a brilliant senior season, averaging 14.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game to earn All-SEC First Team honors. At 6-3, Eshe gives the Storm more size up front.
A little before that, one of the other Storm employees watching the Draft remarked there hadn't been any international players taken. I followed that by noting there was only one international player expected to potentially go this high. A moment later, Houston took that player, Australian Renae Camino. Camino is an intriguing prospect, though the issues with national teams and getting players over here have made WNBA teams a little more hesitant to go overseas in the Draft.
Posted at 11:37 a.m.
We are on the verge of the unprecedented all-Nikki backcourt in Washington. After trading for Nikki Teasley, the Mystics just took Nikki Blue in the second round. Phoenix's pick, Mistie Williams, went with Liz Shimek in a trade to Houston for Anne Strother. That trade explains what I thought was a weird fit with Shimek and Kristen Rasmussen in Phoenix. Now, Shimek replaces Rasmussen, who spent the first 2/3 of last season with the Comets. Go figure. Also, Chicago took D-II star Jennifer Harris and the L.A. Sparks had one of the biggest surprises thus far by taking UConn's Wilnett Crockett.
We Have a Trade!
Posted at 11:23 a.m.
Okay, it's not exactly Earth-shattering. Detroit's second-round pick (Ambrosia Anderson) and a 2007 Shock second-round pick go to Minnesota for second-year player Jacqueline Batteast and a third-round pick next year. After the Shock took Anderson, Phoenix took Liz Shimek. What's funny to me about this pick is how similar Shimek is to Kristen Rasmussen. While Shimek is much more of a post player, both are tweener forwards who went to Michigan State and have blonde hair.
Shooters in the Second Round
Posted at 11:13 a.m.
Kicking off the second round, a pair of great shooters who played for tradition-rich programs go to Texas. Ann Strother will go to Houston to back up (and possibly play alongside) Sheryl Swoopes, while the Silver Stars dramatically upgrade their perimeter shooting with Shanna Zolman from Tennessee.
First Round in the Books
Posted at 11:00 a.m.
Rounding out the first round, New York takes Sherill Baker in a pick I really like for them. Sacramento, going back-to-back, takes Kim Smith (a pick I had for them in my first mock) and LSU's Scholonda Hoston. A real run on wings late in the first round means the best players undrafted in the first round are primarily from the point-guard position: UCLA's Nikki Blue, Notre Dame's Megan Duffy and Texas Tech's Erin Grant. Ann Strother is the other player I had going in the first round in my mock who is still left on the board.
The draft now moves to NBA TV. If you can't watch, you can listen to the draft live via WNBA.com.
Posted at 10:49 a.m.
While my mock draft had the Storm picking a different small forward from UConn, I had a suspicion the Storm might go for Barbara Turner. Turner has been shooting up the Draft boards in the last couple of weeks. Yes, she's got to make the transition from power forward to small forward, but you can't dismiss what Turner has done on the court in the NCAA Tournament, in the WBCA All-Star Challenge and the Pre-Draft Camp. It's about production, and Turner has produced. She gives the Storm a very nice contrast to Izi Castro Marques at the small forward position.
Storm on the Clock
Posted at 10:45 a.m.
Another surprise as Charlotte takes Tye'sha Fluker, the player I thought would go to Indiana. The Sting already has pretty solid depth up front, but Fluker is a talented project who can give the Charlotte some help in the middle. Now, a commercial gives people some time to gather in the lobby with me for the Storm's pick. My mock had Ann Strother, who is still on the clock, but that's a guess at best. Who will it be?
Run on Small Forwards
Posted at 10:41 a.m.
We've got some picks now that will have a significant impact on who the Storm takes at the 11th pick. We think that the Storm is probably looking for a small forward, and a couple of them just went - Tamara James to Washington and La'Tangela Atkinson to Indiana. The Mystics taking a wing is no surprise to anyone, but Indiana? Yes, the Fever lost Jurgita Streimikyte this off-season, but I and most everyone else figured them to take a post player, given they don't have a post over 6-2 on the roster. That lack of height could be a big problem for Indiana this season, unless they've got a free-agent pickup or trade yet to come.
Thorburn to Minnesota
Posted at 10:35 a.m.
Credit Nancy Lieberman for nailing this pick. She'd been saying for some time that the Minnesota Lynx liked Shona Thorburn, while others (myself included) were bandying about names like Megan Duffy and Erin Grant. Thorburn really grew on me during the NCAA Tournament, but I thought the ankle injury that kept her from participating in the Pre-Draft Camp might knock her out of the first round. She should continue to help the Lynx offense.
Is it just me, or does Thorburn have a Val Ackerman look going today?
Sky Gets Dupree
Posted at 10:32 a.m.
The Chicago Sky continues to get its franchise off to a strong start by taking Candice Dupree. The Temple product solidified herself as a lottery pick in the last week and opted not to attend the WNBA Pre-Draft Camp. It was Chicago that wanted Dupree, and she'll add to their young talent.
L.A. Takes Lisa (Willis)
Posted at 10:30 a.m.
After some Candice Dupree rumors, the Sparks fill their big need at shooting guard with hometown girl Lisa Willis. I went with Willis in my first mock draft, then switched to another shooting guard - Georgia's Sherill Baker - yesterday. Willis it is, and she - and her mom (was she raising the roof?) are thrilled to stay in Los Angeles.
"I'm super-excited," Willis told Rebecca Lobo. "This smile speaks for itself."
Sophia Young to San Antonio
Posted at 10:24 a.m.
I'm four for four so far on my mock draft, but then again, so is most everyone. There were four prospects who clearly elevated themselves from the pack this year, and those four are now off the board. Sophia Young gets to stay in the state of Texas and the Silver Stars get another outstanding player for their promising frontcourt. Now, the Draft should get more unpredictable.
Charlotte Gets Currie
Posted at 10:21 a.m.
So far, this Draft has been great for wordplay. Charlotte makes the pick I would have made. As great as Sophia Young is, Currie is an outstanding talent and a better fit for the Sting's roster as currently constructed. Now, let's hope the Sting's first-round pick will actually get some serious playing time, unlike Nicole Powell and Janel McCarville. I suspect that will be the case.
Phoenix Takes Pondexter
Posted at 10:15 a.m.
After a dramatic pause by Donna Orender, the expected pick to the Mercury - Rutgers guard Cappie Pondexter. It's hard not to like Pondexter, and a backcourt of her and Diana Taurasi would be one of the most dynamic the WNBA has ever seen. But will the Mercury keep Pondexter? That's been the biggest talk leading up to the Draft, though Mercury GM Seth Sulka shot down that rumor this morning. Pondexter is all smiles as she chats with Rebecca Lobo.
Posted at 10:09 a.m.
No surprise here. The Minnesota Lynx go for the best player available in Seimone Augustus. Augustus gives the Lynx another top prospect to go along with their young core of Vanessa Hayden, Chandi Jones and Nicole Ohlde. Minnesota has lacked for scoring at times the last two years, but Augustus should change that. And, as she just told the ESPN2 audience, she's bringing the barbeque to Minnesota ... that's an added bonus.
On the Clock
Posted at 10:04 a.m.
With WNBA President Donna Orender opening the Draft in Boston, the Minnesota Lynx is officially on the clock. Of course, they've really been on the clock since winning the Draft Lottery months ago. The decision then was the same as it is now - Seimone Augustus or Cappie Pondexter? Minnesota has known for a while now. In a few minutes, they'll share that answer with us.
The Storm kicks off training camp on April 24 - just two and a half weeks away - but fans can participate in their own training camp the day before that, Sunday, April 23. Join Storm players and coaches and "Storm the Lake" at Green Lake Park from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Click here for more on this great event!
Posted at 9:50 a.m.
We are coming to you live from ... the lobby of the Sonics & Storm business offices. In the past, I've watched from The Furtado Center, but the wireless there is configured for the Apple computers used by the teams' coaching staffs and I can't connect, so I've decided to pull up a chair to our bigscreen here to watch (and blog) all the action. Expect commentary about every pick or so through the Storm's first-round pick (#11) and then every couple of pick thereafter as we look at things both with a big-picture WNBA perspective and a Storm-biased perspective.