As I plugged away on my computer in our makeshift WNBA office trying to educate myself on the potential draftees (my favorite was easily Ole Miss guard Ashley Awkward, she is just a Saturday Night Live skit waiting to happen), I took a break to crack my neck and a couple of seats away from me, there was Rebecca Lobo, all 6-4 of her, taking notes for her interviews as the roving reporter for ESPN’s draft coverage.
Rebecca Lobo interviews the No. 2 pick, Jessica Davenport.
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images
Rebecca Lobo, of UConn fame. Lobo, the inaugural member of the New York Liberty. Lobo, the face of the young WNBA.
And me, a bleary-eyed writer trying to cram 50 draft bios into my head in time to make it back up to my hotel room to watch American Idol.
Lobo retired in 2003 after six seasons in the league and while injuries denied her from reaching the levels she did in college, she is still one of the most recognizable female athletes of all time.
And now, here are the 10 things I learned at the 2007 WNBA Draft …
It brought me back. This is a “Where were you when …” sports moment for me, right up there with McGwire’s 62nd homerun (my mom’s couch), Jordan’s shot on Russell (my mom’s couch), Syracuse winning the tourney in 2003 (the Super Dome) and Kobe’s 81 (my desk at the NBA).
When T-Spoon hit that impossible shot, I was spending a week on an island off the coast of Portland, Maine. The game was in the afternoon and I was watching it on a grainy black and white TV in a cabin.
That’s the great thing about sports, one shot can take you back.
This was the first time in the history of the WNBA that the No. 1 pick was traded on draft day.
At 1:33, with the Harding trade still buzzing about the room, Orender announced the second big move of the day. The Liberty was sending All-Star Becky Hammon to the Silver Stars for San Antonio’s No. 2 pick, Jessica Davenport out of Ohio State.
Trades are the draft-day equivalent of the alley oop. They raise the excitement level of the crowd that much.
Kudos to the WNBA for coming up with a great idea to remedy this situation. Sitting in the center of every draft invitees’ table was an official Spalding WNBA game ball with the 2007 Draft logo etched into a blank panel along with the player’s name and their school.
I saw Alison Bales’ younger brother holding on to her “ALISON BALES, DUKE UNIVERSITY” laser-inscribed ball after the draft was over like he was holding on to the winning lottery ticket. It was really that cool.
I don’t know about you, but I would proudly put that on my trophy shelf. In fact, I think it’s such a good idea that the NBA should copy it for this year’s draft. Commissioner Stern, are you reading?
Shield’s numbers were plain filthy: 27.4 points per game, 11.3 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game last season.
The fact that Latta “fell” to double-digits hardly discouraged her cheering section, as she received the loudest ovation of any player chosen all day.
In fact, the only pick whose cheering decibels rivaled Latta’s was Shield’s contingent who was led by a man in a leopard print derby hat. True story.
Hughes admitted that he was so enamored by Little’s big game that he considered taking her with his No. 2 pick. Instead, he felt he got a steal at No. 17.
Not to mention, “her dad was a Globetrotter,” Hughes said. “And I love the Globetrotters, so she’s already coming in with a leg up.”
This time around the distinction goes to Gillian Goring, a 6-7 center out of N.C. State who was picked in the third round with the 32nd pick by Washington.
The distinction of the last pick overall, No. 39, goes to Kiera Hardy, a 5-6 scoring point guard out of Nebraska.
After the Sky took the Ole Miss star with the No. 3 pick, Lobo asked her how her test came back.
“I got an A+ with a smiley face,” Price said.
It is not one she’ll soon forget. Other than the etched ball she got that I mentioned earlier, the 6-7 Bales was picked up with the No. 9 pick by the Indiana Fever.
While we're on the subject of Bales, does anybody else think she's a dead-ringer for ESPN Cold Pizza's Dana Jacobson? Or is that just me?
The former two-time national champion at Tennessee, riding a wave of positive emotions after the Volunteers' win over Rutgers, worked the room like a standup at the Laugh Factory.
Joking with USC’s Eshaya Murphy, McGhee said she has to find herself a tall man (it sounded more like “a tallllllll man”), but if he’s short and has got money in his pocket then that’s OK too, you just lean over a little bit.
If it wasn’t a joke, it was a compliment about someone’s dress, or shoes or bracelets.
And if it wasn’t a compliment it was an offbeat comment (“I wonder what you would all do with your lives if you didn’t have cell phones?”) that eased the inherent tension of the situation.
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