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. All season long, 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.
Today we flipped our calendars to March and every college basketball fan knows what that means: March Madness. Each team has only a few regular season games left, and then it becomes time for these sensational seniors to embark on their final NCAA postseason runs. And, as has been the case for Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne throughout their college careers, they tend to save their best for the big moments.
That said, they weren't bad this past week, either.
A close game. How about that for a change? The Blue Hens -- now on a 19-game winning streak -- held on for a thrilling 61-60 victory over James Madison on Feb. 24. In front of a record home crowd, Delle Donne responded by scoring 19 of her game-high 28 points in the second half.
Against James Madison, Delle Donne also had a season-high six blocks, which upped her career total to 255, which tied the all-time CAA mark set by William & Mary’s Tiffany Benson in 2006-10.
What They're Saying:
After the JMU game, Delle Donne had this to say about her team's performance and expectations moving forward.
“Generally, when you get a JMU win you're thrilled, but our team is a little different. We're not happy with the way we played. We know that we can't get away with that and we won't get wins in the future if we play that way. We have to step it up, especially as we get into the final stretch of the season.”
3/2 at Providence, 4PM ET: Live Stats
3/4 vs. Connecticut, 7PM ET: Live Stats
3/8 - First Round Big East Tournament
A triple double? How about that for a change. Only four times in Notre Dame history has a women's player tallied a triple-double and now Diggins has done it twice. One Feb. 24 versus DePaul, the same day Delle Donne was leading Delaware to a big win, Diggins put up 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, a herculean effort by the 5-foot-9 guard.
In the team's next game, Notre Dame was down by 15 points before rallying to defeat Syracuse. Behind Diggins, the Irish have now won 20 in a row.
What They're Saying:
DePaul coach Doug Bruno had this to say about Diggins after the game.
"The country's waiting for another (Diana) Taurasi and (Sue) Bird to take the baton from and that player's going to emerge. And Skylar has a chance to take it to that level. She's just a smart basketball player. You talk about the triple-double, but you don't talk about the quadruple-double and that's the intelligence factor."
3/2 at West Virginia, 7PM ET: Live Stats
3/4 vs. Kansas State, 8PM ET: Live Stats
3/8 - First Round Big 12 Championship
More milestones for Griner? Well, no changes there. In Baylor's most recent win versus Oklahoma, where she played only 25 minutes because of foul trouble, Griner still managed a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double to go with seven blocks. With those 15 points, Griner moved past Connecticut's Maya Moore, the No. 1 pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft, into fourth in career scoring in women's basketball history.
Griner now has 3,045 career points. The all-time leader, Jackie Stiles of Missouri State, has 3,393 while second place belongs to Patricia Hoskins of Mississippi Valley State with 3,122 points.
"By the time she got to Baylor, it wasn’t just Griner’s sheer size that contributed to the lavish adjectives being pinned to her size 17 shoes. Notions like best ever, most dominant player in history, greatest woman to lace them up. Heavy burdens for an 18-year-old.
Instead, it was her gracefulness under the rim, her ability to pirouette around defenders, slip past them and cram through dunks as though she were casually discarding trash in a garbage can."