Atlanta Dream Selects Schimmel, Orekhova and Harberts in 2014 WNBA Draft
“We came into this year’s draft with three needs – a perimeter playmaker, a shooter and a post – and we were able to find the player for each of those needs that we had at the top of our draft board,” said Dream Executive Vice President and General Manager Angela Taylor. “Training camp will be extremely competitive with those three players and the other players we signed during the offseason. In addition to our returning players, we expect all three draft picks to be ready to compete to help us reach our goal of a WNBA Championship.”
The five-foot, nine-inch Schimmel ranks fifth in NCAA Division I history with 387 career three-pointers, just five off the record of 392. She became the first Louisville player ever to accumulate career totals of at least 2,000 points and 500 assists, finishing with 2,174 and 600, respectively, and led the Cardinals in scoring and assists in each of the past three seasons. Her career point total ranks second in school history, trailing only Dream star Angel McCoughtry’s 2,779 career points.
Schimmel was named a Wooden Award finalist during her senior season and earned Second Team All-American honors by the Associated Press and ESPNW after averaging 17.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. She was a first-team All-Conference honoree each of the past three seasons and averaged more than 14 points per game in all four of her seasons at Louisville.
Schimmel was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Oklahoma City Regional in 2013 after leading Louisville past defending champion Baylor into the Final Four, where the Cardinals ultimately reached the national championship game. She also helped guide Louisville to the Elite Eight this past season while setting the school single-season record for threes (118), including a school-record nine in a game against Memphis.
“We are very excited about Shoni Schimmel coming to Atlanta,” said Dream head coach Michael Cooper. “She can play in an up-tempo offense like we play, and is a player that can push the tempo and play multiple positions.
“She’s going to fit in extremely well with our roster. When you want to run, you have to have someone that’s a willing passer and likes to pass, and those are some of her best assets. She also has the ability to take and knock down that big 3-point shot. Her 3-point shooting ability will stretch the defense, and it will be a joy to coach a young lady of her caliber.”
“I was very happy to hear my name called, and the fact that it’s down the road in Atlanta will make the transition even easier,” said Schimmel. “I know Atlanta has a great team and was in the Finals last year, and of course I know about Angel (McCoughtry) and what she’s capable of. I watched them play last year and it was awesome, and now I’m getting ready to go practice and play with them. I’m just so excited.
“I like their style of play and look forward to bringing my style to the team. I like to pass but I also like to score. I’m just looking forward to getting down there and playing basketball again.”
Orekhova earned All-American Athletic Conference Second Team honors after averaging 11.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. She sank 163 three-point baskets in her final two seasons at USF, and made 40.1 percent (67-of-167) of her threes over her final 28 games as a senior. Orekhova set the school single-season record for free throw percentage, making 89.0 percent of her attempts this past season, including 37 in a row during one stretch. She had a career-best 33 points with seven assists vs. Memphis Feb. 25, and finished her USF career with 1,072 points in 87 games (12.3 ppg).
“We identified and targeted Inga very early in our draft process,” said Taylor. “She is an incredible shooter who spaces the floor with range beyond the three-point line, and will fit our system nicely.”
Harberts was named to the All-Pac 12 First Team in each of the past two seasons, averaging 18.0 points and 8.2 rebounds as a junior, and 15.4 points and 7.3 rebounds as a senior. The 6-2 forward finished her USC career ranked seventh in school history in scoring (1,832 points) and eighth in rebounding (925). Harberts led USC to its first Pac 12 Tournament title in 2014, scoring 10 straight second-half points during an upset of Stanford in the semifinals, and helped her team earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. She averaged at least 10 points and six rebounds in all four of her seasons at USC.
“Cassie is someone with whom Coach Cooper is very familiar,” said Taylor. “She is an extremely competitive individual and a versatile post player who is not only familiar with Coach Cooper’s system, but who could also thrive in his system."
The three-time Eastern Conference Champion Atlanta Dream tips off its seventh season in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) on May 16 against the San Antonio Stars in Philips Arena. The Dream has qualified for the playoffs in each of the past five seasons, including conference titles in 2013, 2011 and 2010. Season tickets and single-game tickets for the 2014 season are now available and can be purchased by calling (877) 977-7729 or visiting www.AtlantaDream.net.