ESPN To Televise 2004 WNBA Draft

April 12, 2004 -- ESPN will televise the first round of the 2004 WNBA Draft live from NBA Entertainment studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, Saturday, April 17. The one-hour telecast will be aired at noon ET and provide in-depth coverage and analysis as the top draft picks are announced. The show will also provide live coverage from New York’s ESPN Zone, site of a draft day celebration.

ESPN’s Pam Ward will host the draft from New Jersey with analysts Ann Meyers and Rebecca Lobo breaking down each pick. Sacramento Monarchs and ESPN newcomer Kara Lawson will be on site to report player and team reactions, as each first-round pick is made just three minutes apart.

Vera Jones, ESPN’s veteran women’s basketball commentator, will join the telecast from across the river at the ESPN Zone where fans will weigh in on their teams’ selections. Also, the New York Liberty’s Becky Hammon and the Connecticut Sun’s Debbie Black will be on hand to meet fans, as will the top draft picks, who will join the festivities immediately following their selections.

Carol Stiff, ESPN director of programming said, “The WNBA debuted in 1997, which means that this draft class has had its sights set on playing in the WNBA since its freshman year in high school. It’s not surprising, then, that this is the deepest draft class in WNBA history, and based on the record-breaking NCAA tournament ratings on ESPN, it’s also the most popular draft class in WNBA history.”

Heralded collegiate players Diana Taurasi of UConn and Duke’s Alana Beard headline this year’s draft class. Other top players expected to go in the first round are Penn State’s Kelly Mazzante, Stanford’s Nicole Powell and Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen. The Phoenix Mercury has the first overall selection in the draft followed by the Washington Mystics and the Charlotte Sting.

NBA TV, WNBA.com and ESPN.com will cover all three rounds of the draft. ESPN’s draft telecast will lead into its coverage of the 2004 NBA Playoffs.

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