Point Guard Briann January Highlights Versatile Fever Draft
With the sixth pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft, the Indiana Fever selected 5-8 point guard Briann January, from Arizona State University. Indiana drafted Vanderbilt forward Christina Wirth with the 19th selection overall, and Purdue center Danielle Campbell with the 32nd pick.
January, a strong and physical guard who averaged 12.3 points and 4.8 assists per game, is a two-time Pac-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year. She led ASU to a runner-up finish in the Pac-10, and an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament before the Sun Devils fell to eventual champ Connecticut.
According to Fever coach Lin Dunn, though, Indiana did not select the All-Pac-10 first teamer just because she is a good defender. Said Dunn, “We didn’t select her because she was the conference player of the year. We selected her because she is a strong player on both sides of the court. Our priority going into this draft was to secure what we felt was a secure package at the point guard – someone who could score, and penetrate and create for others; someone who could defend and push, and have the strength to take the physical play at the next level. We really zeroed in on January about a month ago.”
“She is a very complete guard,” added Fever Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf. “She’s really a combo guard who played a lot of shooting guard during her senior year, then transitioned to the point guard position in the NCAA Tournament. She really showed what she can do at the highest level. She’s a tremendous offensive player. She helped her profile in the tournament.”
“Her coach at Arizona State [Charli Turner] described her as having a lion’s heart and a tremendous will to win. We know that Tamika Catchings and Yolanda Griffith and Tully Bevilaqua are going to love that about a player coming in. There’s a toughness about her, plus she has all the physical skills.”
Indiana selected a versatile forward and a local post player with its final picks. Wirth is a physical player at 6-1 whose perimeter game included 38 percent shooting from 3-point range as a senior. She led the Commodores to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen on the strength of 16.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Fever coaches compared her to New York Liberty star Cathrine Kraayeveld. Wirth became the fifth Vanderbilt player drafted by the Fever since 2002. Campbell, a 6-4 center, helped the nearby Boilermakers to the NCAA Elite Eight while averaging 8.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
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