WNBA Draft Watch 2014: Senior Standouts
In the hours leading up to the WNBA draft lottery and with the college hoops season well underway, it’s about time we start to take a better look at some of the top eligible WNBA Draft contenders. Compared to last year’s stacked “3 to See” Draft, 2014 offers a well-distributed wealth of talent. Nevertheless, the two players currently leading the pack are the spirited, driven addition to the Ogwumike legacy Chiney Ogwumike, and the balanced, level–headed point guard -- and former Brittney Griner teammate -- Odyssey Sims.
Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford)It’s no secret that Chiney Ogwumike is the younger sister of Los Angeles Sparks forward and No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 WNBA draft Nneka Ogwumike (pictured above), but Chiney is certainly not in anyone’s shadow. The 6’3” power forward is averaging 25 points per game and 11 rebounds on the season for No. 6 ranked Stanford. Last season, Chiney was named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year (as well as a Capital One Academic All-American). Chiney is known for her willingness to step outside her comfort zone -- which in last season’s win over Brittney Griner’s Baylor even meant stepping out beyond the arc.
Back in 2010, Chiney (a Texas native) opted for Stanford over Connecticut and Notre Dame where she played with her sister until Nneka graduated in 2012. The two carried Stanford to NCAA Final Four appearances in both 2011 and 2012. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), Chiney is as of this moment regarded as one of the top picks available for the 2014 WNBA Draft, which means that she isn’t likely to join her sister in Los Angeles (the Sparks have the second to last pick in the first round).
But while Chiney might not be in her sister’s shadow, she’s looking forward to following in Nneka’s footsteps just the same.
Odyssey Sims (Baylor)Though Odyssey Sims looks a lot like Chiney Ogwumike on paper (Sims is averaging 30 points per game, four rebounds and five assists), the similarities end there. Odyssey Sims is Baylor’s 5’ 8” point guard who is making over 50 percent of her outside shots and supplementing that with heads-up fast-break layups and aggressive drives to the basket. A former teammate of Brittney Griner’s, Sims has learned how to play with a dominate big and take matters into her own hands when the time calls. Just last week, she surpassed the record for Baylor’s most career assists with 492 – the last 13 of which she got in Baylor’s win over UTSA. And over the weekend -- despite Baylor's quadruple-overtime loss -- Sims put up a career-high 47 points.
Sims and the Lady Bears are off to a 7-1 start this year without Griner, and could be well on their way to another Final Four appearance (Griner and Sims led Baylor to a National Championship in 2012).
Sims has already been named the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year for this season.
Other notable seniors:
Penn State’s Maggie Lucas is averaging 20 points per game and brought in her 2000th career point on Sunday.
Stefanie Dolson is bringing down an average of 10 rebounds a game and putting up 14 points for No. 1 ranked UConn.
Shoni Schimmel, Louisville’s “explosive” and “dynamic” guard is averaging 13 points per game and 4 assists.
Hallie Christofferson is hitting 24 points per game on average and 8 rebounds for Iowa State.
Jordan Hooper for Nebraska is averaging 20 points per game with 10 rebounds.
No. 4 Notre Dame's Kayla McBride has 14 points per game, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
Jennifer O’Neil for Kentucky is putting up 14 points per game.
Chelsea Gray, a 5'11" guard for No. 2 Duke is averaging 12 points per game, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Note: All statistical information above as of Dec 10, 2013