SECAUCUS, N.J., April 25 — The Cleveland Rockers selected forward LaToya Thomas with the first overall pick in the 2003 WNBA Draft. Thomas, a two-time Associated Press First Team All-American, averaged 23.9 points during her four years at Mississippi State. She led the Southeastern Conference in scoring in each of her first three seasons and finished her collegiate career as MSU’s all-time leading scorer.”This is something I’ve been thinking about ever since I was in high school and it’s simply a dream come true,” said Thomas. “I watched Cleveland play last year. They were rebuilding, and they had a lot of young players. I think I’ll bring more excitement, and more scoring. I want to help rebuild the team.”The Sacramento Monarchs selected 6-6 center Chantelle Anderson of Vanderbilt who will play alongside 1999 WNBA MVP Yolanda Griffith. Anderson, an All-SEC First-Team selection as a sophomore, junior and senior, earned a spot on the AP All-America second team as a senior. She averaged 19.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in her four years as a Commodore while connecting on 65.1 percent of her field goal attempts.

“I’ve been a huge fan of (Griffith’s) game, and I just think (Sacramento’s) a great place for me because I’m going to be playing against one of the best players in the game every day in practice, and I can only get better from that.”

The Detroit Shock had two picks in the top five, selecting Louisiana Tech center Cheryl Ford with the third overall pick and Tennessee guard Kara Lawson with the fifth pick. With the fourth overall pick, the Phoenix Mercury selected Texas Tech forward Plenette Pierson.

Other first round picks included Tennessee forward Gwen Jackson (sixth, Indiana); LSU center Aiysha Smith (seventh, Washington); Korean center Jung Sun-Min (eighth, Seattle); South Carolina forward Jocelyn Penn (ninth, Charlotte); Bucknell guard Molly Creamer (10th, New York); North Carolina guard Coretta Brown (11th, San Antonio); Tulsa guard Allison Curtin (12th, Houston).