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Draft to be Held April 20

NEW YORK -- The WNBA announced that the 2001 WNBA Draft will be televised live on ESPN2, marking the first time in the league's five-year history that the draft will air on national television. The four-round draft will be held via conference call with representatives of the 16 teams on Friday, April 20 beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET at the NBA Entertainment studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.

In addition to ESPN2's first-round coverage, all four rounds of the draft will be carried live on TV and online at, with complete analysis and comprehensive information on all 16 teams' selections. WNBA President Val Ackerman will introduce those drafted players who will be in attendance.

The Seattle Storm will have the first selection in the draft, with the other seven teams that did not qualify for the 2000 WNBA Playoffs choosing in inverse order of last year's regular season win-loss records. The eight non-playoff teams will be followed by the eight teams that did qualify for postseason play, with the latter teams also selecting in inverse order of their 2000 regular season win-loss records. Ties between teams with the same record were broken using the WNBA tiebreak formula.

The WNBA also announced that, beginning with the 2002 WNBA Draft, a lottery will be held to determine the draft's top three choices. The draft lottery will be conducted among the eight teams that do not qualify for the playoffs and will be weighted according to each team's win-loss record. The team that finishes the regular season with the fewest wins will be guaranteed at least the fourth highest draft choice.

The WNBA will tip off its fifth season on Monday, May 28, Memorial Day, with a rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals between the WNBA Champion Houston Comets and the Los Angeles Sparks. The nationally televised contest, to be played at the Compaq Center in Houston, will air on NBC beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

The Memorial Day game will be the first of 10 regular season telecasts on NBC. Additionally, ESPN will televise 11 regular season games, and 10 games will air for the first time on ESPN2. The first ESPN telecast will be on Monday, June 4, when the New York Liberty hosts the Sacramento Monarchs at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN will also telecast the 2001 WNBA All-Star Game, to be played Monday, July 16 at the TD Waterhouse Center in Orlando. ESPN2's initial telecast will be on Sunday, June 3, as the Seattle Storm travels to Washington to face the Mystics at the MCI Center at 2 p.m. ET.

The 2001 WNBA regular season will end on Tuesday, August 14, with the playoffs scheduled to begin on Thursday, August 16.


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