April 5, 2006

Silver Stars Draft Young, Zolman & Smith

Sophia Young (Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images)BOSTON – With the fourth overall pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft, San Antonio selected Baylor standout Sophia Young, then picked up Tennessee guard Shanna Zolman and DePaul forward Khara Smith in the second and third rounds, respectively, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center Wednesday.

“I feel like we’re a little bit blessed to have a draft class that includes arguably the best athlete (Young) and the best shooter (Zolman),” said Silver Stars Head Coach and General Manager Dan Hughes. “Sophia Young is a player who we have long coveted to be part of our franchise. I think she’ll be an extremely exciting player on the court, as well as a great individual for our community to know.”

Young, an AP, Kodak and WBCA all-American, finished 2006 second in the nation in scoring and in 2005 led Baylor to a national championship, earning Most Outstanding Player honors at the Final Four. This season, the 6-1 forward set four Big 12 career records, becoming the league’s all-time leader in scoring (2,480), rebounding (1,315), double-doubles (61) and rebounding average (9.5).

“I’m glad that I’m able to stay in Texas,” said Young, who wore San Antonio team colors silver and black to the draft. “Hopefully, my fans at Baylor can come out and watch some games. I hear the fans there in San Antonio are really committed and really dedicated. I think it’s going to be a tremendous experience playing with some of these girls I played against (in the past) like Shyra Ely, Shanna Zolman and Kendra Wecker.”

A native of St. Vincent, The Grenadines, West Indies, Young is one of only four players to tally 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 steals and 300 assists in their NCAA Division I careers, joining Cheryl Miller (USC), Chamique Holdsclaw and Tamika Catchings (Tennessee). Young finished her career with 2,480 points, 1,316 rebounds, 315 steals and 303 assists.

Shanna Zolman (Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images)Zolman, the draft’s 16th overall selection, finished her career at Tennessee with 78 double-digit scoring performances, ranking ninth on the Vols all-time scoring list with 1,706 career points. She ranks first in both UT and NCAA single-season free throw percentage <(.957 in 2003-04) and career free throw percentage (.916). The 5-10 guard also ranks second at Tennessee in career games played (144), first in career three-point field goals made (266) and career three-point field goal percentage (.425). This season she claimed the single-season record for three-pointers at Tennessee with 103.

“Shanna may be the hardest working player in the draft as well as the best shooter,” said Hughes. “She fits nicely into our perimeter game with her versatility at the 2 and 1.”

The Silver Stars’ third round selection, 6-2 forward Khara Smith, became the first three-time All-American in DePaul history this season. Smith led the Blue Demons to their first Sweet Sixteen appearance and matched a program record with 27 victories. She tallied 23 double-doubles this season, averaging 17.8 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. The Wooden Award and Wade Trophy finalist is DePaul’s all-time leader in games played, rebounds and field goal percentage. She is ranked among DePaul’s top six all-time in 12 of 17 statistical categories. Smith is considering sitting out the 2006 season to recover from injuries.

Shanna Zolman (Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images)"Khara is a player who, if healthy, could have been a first-round pick in this draft,” said Hughes. She is a real physical presence in the half court. We will work with her to see the timeline as to when it might be possible to have her on the court."