Nebraska's Kiera Hardy (pronounced Kee-AIR-uh) could be one of the dark horse prospects taken in the Draft who turns out to be a major steal.
March 27, 2007 - So you watch some college basketball during the
season when a game is on ESPN and really get into the NCAA Tournament? Sound
like you? Well maybe that means you're missing out on some of the mid-major
talent around the nation or perhaps the second-best player on a major team,
those players who could go in those second or third rounds where anything can
happen. Once some of the more familiar players are gone and off the board, teams
begin to draft based on need and to fill holes or add depth to their rosters.
Whether a shooter, a big body or a backup point guard, these are a handful of
the players to watch in the later rounds on Draft Day.
Meredith Alexis, center, James Madison
Unfortunately we didn't get to see more of Alexis and JMU in the NCAA Tournament as her team lost to Pittsburgh in the tough 8-9 opening round of the Dayton region. But the fact that James Madison was a 9-seed is pretty remarkable and a testament to just how good the 6-4 center is. The CAA Player of the Year and two-time All-CAA First Team honoree holds school records for career points and rebounds and double-doubles. She is also the all-time leading rebounder in the history of the conference.
Alisha Dill, guard, Coastal Carolina
An excellent athlete, Dill is quick, has great leaping ability and can shoot with the best of them. She has the ability to score in a number of ways, averaging 22.5 ppg and hit 62 3-pointers on the season. Because of her sheer athletic ability, she also rebounds well from the guard spot and makes teammates better as well.
Kiera Hardy, guard, Nebraska
A great scorer and the 3-point shooter, Hardy led the Huskers to the program's first NCAA Tournament bid since 2000. She is a three-time first-team All-Big 12 Conference selection, hit 267 threes to rank sixth in Big 12 history and finished her career in fourth on Nebraska's career scoring list with 1,930 points. Hardy is more of a scorer at the point guard position but has the speed to keep up with a variety of opponents on the defensive end.
Yolanda Jones, forward, Louisiana-Lafayette
Big and strong at the power forward spot, she averaged a double-double in her senior season and took Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. She was the second best player in the Sun Belt Conference this season behind Middle Tennessee's Chrissy Givens and some coaches and GM's think she deserves to be a first round pick. Of course, they are just hoping she falls to them as a second round pick.
Victoria Lucas-Perry, forward, Michigan State
Scouts have gotten the chance to see Lucas-Perry play all four years thanks to the exposure that comes with winning an NCAA title as well as having talented teammates one and two years older. The Spartans leading scorer in 2006-07, she is a shooter who does a lot more than just knock down shots. She went from being a small forward in high school to being a ball-handling guard who complimented Kristin Haynie and Lindsay Bowen in the backcourt. Yet as the sole remaining starter from the 2004-05 championship team, she stepped up her game as a team leader... at 5-9, she was second on the team this season in rebounding as well.
Kristen Newlin, center, Stanford
A 6-5 center, it is hard to imagine Newlin getting lost in the shadows of her Stanford teammates, but that's how good they were. Newlin is strong, especially on the boards, and has the ability to defend centers at the next level. Not known for her offense, she did shoot 51% from the field, but took far fewer shots than many of her teammates. A hard worker, Newlin is a supreme shot blocker and will certainly compete to make a WNBA roster.
Kathrin Ress, forward, Boston College
An international player from Italy with a wealth of experience, Ress has learned the game at Boston College while getting acclimated to the college way of life in the United States. A 6-4 forward, she finished her career as the 10th all-time leading scorer at BC with 1,300 points scored and the fourth top rebounder in the programs history (664). She is an intriguing prospect who could catch on with a WNBA team and continue to improve with work at the next level and overseas.
Leah Rush, forward, Oklahoma
Rush may not have the most impressive stats in her senior season, but she hasn't had to score in the past two season, but WNBA General Managers are very high on her. She has a calming effect on her teammates and is a great leader for her Oklahoma team. Plus, she has shown that she can be an offensive contributor and scored nearly 16 ppg as a sophomore.
Rudy Sims, guard, Arkansas St.
A vitrual unknown on the national stage, Sims is a tough guard with a lot of talent. She may be at a smaller school, but she has the game (the tattoos) to play at the next level. She was certainly noticed by those in the know in the basketball community as she was named one of 11 finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award. Sims is a is a two-time All-Sun Belt performer and became the career assist leader at ASU this year. She also finished her career at the top of the all-time points and steals leaderboard.
Tyresa Smith, forward, Delaware
A tremendous athlete who can impact the game on both ends of the floor. Her defensive ability is great. She has wonderful anticipation and tenacity to steal and deflect the ball. She is a great mid-range player who can get her shot off the dribble going primarily to the right, but can elevate. She is a scorer more than a shooter who can take it to the basket and finish in heavy traffic. Makes good decisions and can deliver the right pass under pressure. She could be a defensive stopper in WNBA due to her size and desire to stop people.
Megan Vogel, forward, South Dakota St.
A very strong 3-point shooter and prolific scorer, Vogel is a versatile leader who has done just about everything for her team that made a nice run deep in the Women's NIT Tournament. She is a selfless player who went to a small school in South Dakota and established a winning legacy as the team transitioned between Division II ball and full-fledged Division I status. The Minnesota native gained exposure for WNBA scouts in wins over big-conference opponents like Minnesota, USC, Virginia, Kansas and Alabama.
Antoinette Wells, center, Wichita State
At 6-4, she has a huge upside. She is a tremendous rebounder, has athleticism, quickness and speed up and down the floor. Playing at a school that lacked great guards to get her the ball, Wells developed the ability to score one-on-one and posted a great field goal percentage. She is skilled in the low block on both ends of the floor and will only get better as her confidence improves against better competition. She can absolutely cut it in the WNBA, but needs to believe that.