BRISTOL, Conn., April 11, 2011 – The Minnesota Lynx made Maya Moore the top overall selection of the 2011 WNBA Draft presented by adidas. Elizabeth Cambage, selected second by the Tulsa Shock, and Courtney Vandersloot, tapped third by the Chicago Sky, rounded out the top three picks.
The Lynx also held the fourth pick by virtue of a 2010 trade with the Connecticut Sun, drafting Amber Harris from Xavier University in that slot, while the Los Angeles Sparks chose Jantel Lavender from Ohio State to round out the first five selections.
Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve said she was extremely pleased to be able to add Moore and Harris to a Lynx roster that includes veterans such as Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen. “To add these two,” said Reeve, “I don’t know that things could have gone better for us.”
Moore enters the WNBA after earning the 2011 Associated Press Player of the Year award while leading the University of Connecticut Huskies to the Final Four. Moore, only the second four-time AP All-America (Courtney Paris, Oklahoma), helped the Huskies go 150-4 over her four-year career, which included two national championships and an NCAA-record 90 consecutive wins.
“It feels really great to finally be able to have the moment of being drafted, going No. 1, and just all the hype and excitement around it,” said Moore. “And to see some of the other players that I’ve grown up competing against and competing with, watching them get drafted as well, I feel like I’ve got some sisters out there in my class. I’m really proud to see the quality of players that are in this entire Draft. It’s been a really good day, a really good group. And I’m excited to get started this summer.”
Minnesota held the top pick for the second consecutive year and third time in franchise history. Last year, the Lynx sent the first pick and Renee Montgomery to the Connecticut Sun on Jan. 12, in exchange for Whalen and the second overall selection, marking the first time in league history that a team had swapped the No. 1 pick in advance of the WNBA Draft. In 2006, the Lynx used the first pick to select Augustus, who subsequently won WNBA Rookie of the Year.
At 6-8, Cambage was the tallest prospect in this year’s Draft. A native of Australia, the 19-year-old earned MVP honors after leading Australia’s WNBL in scoring (22.3 ppg), blocked shots (2.8 bpg) and field goal percentage (.596), and guiding her team, the Bulleen Boomers, to its first WNBL Championship.
“I’m so happy; my name’s been called,” said Cambage. “I want to go get on a plane and put on that Tulsa jersey.”
One of the top playmakers in the college game, the 5-8 Vandersloot is the first NCAA Division I player, male or female, to amass career totals of 2,000 points and 1,000 assists. Vandersloot led Gonzaga University to the Elite Eight in this year’s NCAA Tournament after averaging 30.7 points and 10.3 assists in the tournament.
“I had heard that I could go to Chicago,” said Vandersloot. “But they had to pass up some great post players to pick me. I was just open to the whole thing and I was just excited to even be here.”
The following trades were completed following the Draft:
– New York traded Kalana Green to Connecticut for the draft rights of Sydney Colson (16th pick).
– Phoenix traded draft rights of Tahnee Robinson (31st pick) to Connecticut for Connecticut’s third round pick in 2012.
– Minnesota traded draft rights of Jessica Breland (13th pick) to New York for the draft rights of Angel Robinson (22nd pick) and New York’s own second round pick in 2012.
– Minnesota traded the draft rights of Felicia Chester (14th pick) to Atlanta for draft rights to Rachel Jarry (18th pick) and the Dream’s 2012 2nd round pick.
– Washington Mystics traded Lindsey Harding and a 2012 second round draft pick to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for Ta’Shia Phillips (8th pick), Kelly Miller and a 2012 first round draft pick