After bowing out in the first round of the 2003 WNBA Playoffs, the Minnesota Lynx are looking to add several key players to the roster and take the next step. With the seventh pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft, the Lynx are likely to get an impact player. Lynx head coach Suzie McConnell Serio recently sat down with WNBA.com and shared her thoughts.
Q: How have you been preparing for the upcoming draft?
“We started our draft preparation before the college season even started. We began talking about players to be aware of, players we needed to go watch play live and in person and from that point, there was a list of players that my two assistants and I would track. We spread out across the schools and the college tournaments and went from there."
Q: How did the Pre-Draft camp help you evaluate some of the prospects?
“It is really helpful just watching them play against each other. You see them with their college teams and everything that goes on here at the camp and it gives a good sense for what they can do. But we have had many, many, many, many conversations between us about what prospects we like and who might be a good fit based on needs that we have.”
Q: Are there any specific areas you are looking to improve upon with the draft?
Minnesota has the seventh overall pick on April 17.
“We have the seventh pick and an area that we need to get deeper in is the post position, so that is an area we have been focusing on.”
Q: Picking Teresa Edwards was certainly a surprise last year, but one that helped your team. Can we expect a similar surprise out of you this year?
“No, (laughs) I don’t think we are going to shock anyone, not in the first or second round.”
Q: The state of Minnesota is crazy about Lindsay Whalen. Are you caught up in it as well?
“We are from Minnesota and someone like Lindsay Whalen is someone we obviously have our eye on, but I’m not sure she’ll be there when we pick at number seven. Her stock has risen, and being the player that she is as well as being from Minnesota, the fans absolutely adore her. She is loved in Minnesota both for what she does on the court and off the court."
Q: Any chance of a trade?
“There is always the possibility of a trade. We’ll just have to see what happens and take things from there.”
Q: Some players who might be available when you pick are Kelly Mazzante…
“Kelly Mazzante is a great shooter. She is probably the best prospect in terms of getting her shot off. She has done a great job throughout her career at Penn State, which is my alma mater, so she is someone I have enjoyed watching play. A perimeter player is probably not something that we need in this year’s draft, but she is someone that is on our radar.”
“I think Nicole Ohlde is a great player. Her versatility is really what I like about her as well as her size, her presence and her knowledge of the game. In watching her play, you see just how much attention she draws defensively because of the things she is able to do.”
"It’s unfortunate that Vanessa Hayden got hurt. She just had surgery. The question is will teams wait on her? I don’t know. There were a lot of teams that were very high on her because of her ability to change a game. She is a very big, solid and strong post player."
Q: What are some traits that you look for in a potential pick?
“The first thing that we are looking at is talent. We also look at how they are on the court, on the bench, how they relate to their coach when a coach is telling them something, how they react to officials, how they are in warm-ups and how much they communicate on the floor. Basically their entire demeanor, which is really the little things that make a difference."
Q: As a team that competes in the Western Conference, do you see any available centers that can compete with Lisa Leslie and Lauren Jackson?
“It would have to be in terms of potential because I don’t think there are any college players that could handle that kind of matchup right away. They are just not as physically strong as some WNBA players. But players like Nicole Ohlde, Rebekkah Brunson, Shameka Christon could eventually compete with a WNBA player’s size and strength. These are players that, in looking at their body type, are getting stronger, but must continue to do so."