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2005 WNBA Draft Lottery News and Notes
NEW YORK, Nov. 30 -- When the WNBA conducts its annual draft in 2005, it will mark the fourth year that the team receiving the top pick in the WNBA Draft has been decided by lottery. Prior to that, the top pick went to the team with the worst record from the previous season.
During the first two seasons with the lottery system in effect, the team with the worst record from the previous season, and thus the best chance of earning the first pick, has not won the lottery. However, in the last year's Draft Lottery, the Phoenix Mercury finally saw the odds fall in their favor.
2004: Phoenix Gets Its Franchise Player
Order After Lottery: Phoenix, Washington, Indiana, San Antonio, New York, Seattle
After winning the 2004 WNBA Draft Lottery, the Phoenix Mercury selected Diana Taurasi with the top pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft. Living up to all of the hype, she went on to have one of the best seasons for a rookie in the history of the WNBA en route to winning the Rookie of the Year Award. averaged 17.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game to help the Mercury improve from 8-26 in 2003 to 17-17 in 2004.
But Taurasi was not the only rookie to make a big impact in 2004. The Washington Mystics added Alana Beard to the team, and Beard added her team to the Eastern Conference playoffs. The rookie frontcourt tandem of Nicole Ohlde and Vanessa Hayden also went to the playoffs with the Minnesota Lynx while the fourth pick, Lindsay Whalen, took the Connecticut Sun to the WNBA Finals.
2003: Cleveland Wins Draft Lottery
Order After Lottery: Cleveland, Sacramento, Detroit, Phoenix
After winning the 2003 WNBA Draft Lottery, the Cleveland Rockers selected LaToya Thomas with the top pick in the 2003 WNBA Draft. Thomas averaged 10.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game to help the Rockers improve from 10-22 in 2002 to 17-17 in 2003.
Rookie of the Year honors went to Cheryl Ford, whom the Detroit Shock selected with the third overall pick. Ford averaged 10.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game to help the Shock go from worst to first and capture the 2003 WNBA championship.
2002: Seattle Wins Draft Lottery
Order After Lottery: Seattle, Detroit, Washington
After winning the 2002 WNBA Draft Lottery to earn the number one pick for the second year in a row, the Seattle Storm selected Sue Bird with the top pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft. Bird averaged 14.4 points and 6.0 assists per game to help the Storm improve from 10-22 in 2001 to 17-15 in 2002.
Rookie of the Year honors went to Tamika Catchings, the third overall pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft, who missed the 2001 season with an ACL injury. Catchings averaged 18.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in 2002.
2001: Seattle Selects Lauren Jackson
Rookie of the Year honors went to Jackie Stiles of the Portland Fire. The fourth overall pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft, Stiles averaged 14.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in her rookie season.
2000: Cleveland Selects Ann Wauters
Rookie of the Year honors went to Betty Lennox of the Minnesota Lynx. The sixth overall pick in the 2000 WNBA Draft, Lennox averaged 16.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for the Lynx.
1999: Washington Selects Chamique Holdsclaw
Rookie of the Year honors went to Holdsclaw, marking the only time in WNBA history that a number one draft pick has won Rookie of the Year.
1998: Utah Selects Margo Dydek
Rookie of the Year honors went to Tracy Reid of the Charlotte Sting. The seventh overall pick of the 1998 WNBA Draft, Reid averaged 13.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
1997: Houston Selects Tina Thompson
Thompson averaged 13.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in the league's first season, helping the Comets capture the inaugural WNBA championship.
(Photo Credits: Nathaniel S. Butler, Gregory Shamus, Jesse D. Garrabrant, Jeff Reinking, David Kyle, Jennifer Pottheiser, M. David Leeds and Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images)
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