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.
What a week it was our for these three game-changing prospects. All in all, the trio combined to play in seven games. They won all seven. And, while Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins and Baylor's Brittney Griner combined to win their four games by an average of 51 points -- yes, 51 -- it was actually Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, winner of three games, that had the best week of all. Read more below.
Elena Delle Donne left no doubt of that after leading the Blue Hens to a 3-0 record, a Blue Sky Classic title and a thrilling OT victory over Saint John's this week alone. In those three wins, the Delaware native had three double-doubles, posting averages of 23 points and 13.7 rebounds a night. Against Saint John's, Delle Donne, who also hit two free throws with 20 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, hit the game-winning jumper with less than a second to play to lead the Blue Hens to a thrilling victory, capping off a stretch of three wins in five days for the Blue Hens. Wow.
What They're Saying:
Delle Donne had this to say after the victory over Saint John's:
“I definitely think the statement in this win is that we are veterans and we don’t want to lose. We’ve been through games like this before and lost when we were younger and we don’t want to go through that again. We have a lot of trust in each other on the court. We’re older and we know what we have to do to get the win.”
1/05 at Connecticut, 4 PM ET: Live Video *Watch on CBS
1/08 at South Florida, 7PM ET: Listen Live
1/13 vs. Rutgers, 3:30PM ET: Listen Live *Watch on ESPNU
It was a bit of an easy week for Skylar Diggins as Notre Dame cruised to two blowout victories -- although only one of them would've been predicted to be a rout. In probably their biggest statement win of the year -- based on opponent and margin of victory -- the Fighting Irish toppled their in-state rivals, No. 11 Purdue, by 27 points on Dec. 29. Diggins scored 16 points, but she only had to play 19 minutes in this contest. Against Saint Francis (PA) just two days later, Diggins dished out 14 assists (a career high) in just 17 minutes, highlighting how effective she is orchestrating a high-powered offense.
If this week says anything about the Irish, it's that while Diggins is the team's most irreplaceable piece, the supporting cast is also capable. If you didn't think Notre Dame could be a force in March at the beginning of the season, it's time to start believing.
What They're Saying:
Graham Hays of ESPNW had this to say about Diggins in a recent article:
"Diggins is a singular personality when she's on the court. She's also the point guard, so it doesn't just feel like things run through her -- they do run through her. "
1/06 vs. Oklahoma State, 5:30 PM ET: Listen
1/09 vs. Iowa State, 8PM ET: Live Video
1/13 at Kansas, 2:30PM ET: Listen Live
Much like Diggins, Brittney Griner had a fairly non-challenging week. While she played more minutes than her counterpart at Notre Dame, the minutes she played were with her team's victories already well in hand. Baylor handed Southeastern Louisiana a 65-point defeat while it also bested TCU by 39 this past week.
But nobody wants to hear about the Baylor's lopsided wins -- they've become as common as the sun rising in Waco, TX in Griner's time with the Bears. What they do want to talk about is Griner's one-hand slam against TCU. Don't take our word for it, watch the highlight here.
What They're Saying:
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey had this to say about Griner's dunk:
"How many times is a fan going to go to a women's basketball game and get to see a dunk? She pretty much dunked it ... it wasn't just over the front of the rim. She took one step and, bam, it went down. It just happens so quick with Brittney, sometimes you don't see it coming."
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.