Sun Select Merrill, Payne in 2006 WNBA Draft

BOSTON, Mass. (April 5, 2006) — The Connecticut Sun chose Debbie Merrill in the second round (28th overall) of the 2006 WNBA Draft on Wednesday, and followed by taking Marita Payne in the third round with the 42nd overall pick.

Merrill is a 6-foot-1 forward/center from Ohio State who averaged 10.4 points per game while also collecting 182 rebounds and 103 assists as a senior. She transferred from the University of Cincinnati, where she averaged 16 points and eight rebounds per game during three seasons with the Bearcats.

“It was probably pretty much what we anticipated going in,” Sun coach Mike Thibault said. “At the pick we took Debbie Merrill, the goal was to try and find a backup three or four who can do a lot of things.”

Payne, a 6-5 center from Auburn University, averaged 7.2 points and 5.6 rebounds during four seasons. The Australia native averaged 7.9 points and 6.5 rebounds as a senior while also leading the nation in blocked shots.

“As I told a lot of people before the draft, if we could find a young post player who had an upside to her, then we would look at that,” Thibault said. “Marita fit that description.”

The Sun did not have a first round pick in this year’s draft because they dealt it to San Antonio last year during a draft day trade that brought Margo Dydek to the Sun.

Marita Payne

- photo courtesy Auburn University.

Debbie Merrill

- photo courtesy Ohio State University