The hype surrounding the 2013 WNBA Draft class – which includes three game-changing prospects in Baylor’s Brittney Griner, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, all currently playing for their respective colleges – is at an all-time high as all three have the potential to immediately make a substantial impact on a franchise. Each week, WNBA.com will update you with what each of these players is doing for their respective schools as it's never to early for WNBA fans to start following some of the future stars of this league.
11/28 W vs. Saint Bonaventure: DNP
12/5 W at Rhode Island: DNP
12/9 W vs. Princeton: DNP
12/20 vs. Maryland, 7PM ET: Listen
12/22 at Monmouth, 3PM ET: Listen
12/29 vs. Villanova, 5/7PM: Live Video
One of the biggest stories in college basketball right now is when Elena Delle Donne will be able to return for Delaware. With no set timetable as she battles Lyme's Disease, the Blue Hens, who were preparing for another historical season, are in limbo as their best player is on the bench.
In the only game she played this year, the versatile forward was effective, scoring 22 points and grabbing eight rebounds in 27 minutes in the team's 64-46 win over Providence on Nov. 20. That is exactly the kind of production everyone should expect once Delle Donne gets back on the court.
What They're Saying:
Carolyn Peck wrote an article for ESPNW talking about the emotions every one feel surrounding Delle Donne's absence and also the affect it has had on Delaware on the court.
She wrote: "As a coach, your No. 1 concern is your player's health. Delle Donne is like a daughter, as are all your players. After experiencing firsthand what Delle Donne went through two years ago, Martin's heart must ache for her. As a coach, you pray it's the flu and not reoccurring symptoms of Lyme disease. "Not again!" is what I would be thinking. So did Martin, temporarily, I'm sure."
12/19 vs. Alabama A&M, 6PM ET: Listen
12/29 vs. Purdue, 2PM ET: Live Video
12/31 vs. Saint Francis (PA), 1PM ET: Live Video
One thing that Skylar Diggins has proved over her college career is that she is a gamer that doesn't get sidetracked by failure -- as rare as they may be. After a disappointing loss to Baylor on Dec. 5, Diggins rallied and led her team to a blowout win over Utah State, righting the ship for the Irish.
Her stat line against Utah State -- 12 points, 10 assists and three rebounds -- proves how she can do a little bit of everything. Even more telling is that she took only nine shots in the game, hitting four of them, including her only two attempts from 3-point range and her only two from the charity stripe. So, Diggins is the kind of player that doesn't need to hoist a barrage of shots to be effective, and she'll likely bring that same style to the WNBA.
What They're Saying:
After her first game since the loss to Baylor, Diggins had this to say about handling frustration of her shots not going down.
"I get over it pretty quickly. If I miss a layup, I am able to get over it. I had a good talk with our coaches after our last game. I came into this game with a different mindset. I thought I was having fun out there today. I wasn't playing with the weight of the world on my shoulders."
12/18 vs. Tennessee, 8PM ET: Listen
12/29 at Southeastern Louisiana, 8PM ET: Live Video
1/02 at TCU, 7PM ET: Listen
Though its overall winning streak was snapped on Nov. 16 versus Stanford, Baylor is now building upon its home winning streak which, after an easy win over Oral Roberts, stands at 44 games. That streak goes a long way in detailing Griner's prolonged dominance in the NCAA.
Against Oral Roberts -- understandably not the team's stiffest competition -- Griner was her usual, borderline unstoppable self, producing a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds in only 26 minutes of action. She shot 10-for-18 and also had five blocks. Need we say more.
"The Griner you see on TV appears as a 6-foot, 8-inch stick figure with a game that once seemed equally one-dimensional.
The Griner in front of my baseline seat at Purcell Pavilion stood on sturdy legs – albeit wrapped because of nagging shin splints – and took apart the Irish in so many ways that, as Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw suggested, it almost was unfair."
Last week, Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph University courageously took the floor for her first college game, refusing to let an inoperable brain tumor keep her from achieving her dream – and WNBA stars Elena Delle Donne and Tamika Catchings were on hand to lend their support.