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WNBA Draft 2019: Players Quotes

Players attending WNBA Draft 2019 presented by State Farm react to being selected.

Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces, No. 1 Pick)

Q: What do you think you can bring to the Las Vegas Aces organization?

Young: I think as a big guard, I’m very versatile, can get to the basket, rebound, play defense. I’m really excited to get drafted to the Aces and I’m looking forward to it.

Q: Can you describe the type of emotions you are feeling right now after being drafted No. 1 overall?

Young: Honestly, I can’t. It’s something that I dreamed of as a little kid. To be able to achieve it today, it’s an amazing feeling. I just have to give all credit to God.

Q: This could be a Notre Dame night with your four other starters potentially being drafted. How special is it to be at the top of your class in being drafted tonight?

Young: That would be great. This is what we all dreamed of since we were little kids and to have five from Notre Dame would be amazing.

Q: What does it mean to you to be the top pick?

Young: It means the world to me. This is what I worked for my whole life. You always dream of being the first pick but to actually be able to achieve, that is just crazy.

Asia Durr (New York Liberty, No. 2 Pick)

Q: What does it mean to be drafted No. 2 by the Liberty?

Durr: It feels great to be drafted by the Liberty. They’re a great organization with a great coach. Obviously it was her first year, this past season, but I’m so grateful and thankful for this opportunity. 

Q: Is there anything special or have you thought much about playing in New York? 

Durr: My mom is from the Bronx so she always talks about New York but I’m super excited.

Q: How does it feel to be playing for a new ownership group and playing some games in Brooklyn?

Durr: I’m excited, that’s awesome. I really think that’s a great thing, especially for women’s basketball. I think that’s great.

Q: How long have you thought about this moment and being one of the top draft picks?

Durr: Oh man, I think I was sitting in my mom’s womb dreaming about this moment. I think that’s why I couldn’t talk to Holly Rowe, I was in shock. I was about to cry, and I don’t cry. This is a dream come true and I can’t thank God enough.

Q: What do you think your biggest adjustment will be playing in the WNBA?

Durr: I would probably say playing 2-3 games per week, gaining more weight and getting stronger.

Teaira McCowan (Indiana Fever, No. 3 Pick)

Q: The chance to play for Indiana and be a rim protector for Pokey [Chatman], have you thought about how great a fit you will be for that team?

McCowan: Yes, it’s nothing more than what I have been doing at [Mississippi] State. I rebound, block shots and put up whatever shots my teammates give me, so I think going there will be great.

Q: What are your expectations coming into this season?

McCowan: Whatever my coaches give me, I will fulfill those roles. No matter what it is, I’m not going to ask why or how, I’m just going to get it done.

Q: How does it feel when your name was actually called? What was going through your mind?

McCowan: I just blanked out. I knew I was going third overall and I would play with my old teammate. It was a great feeling.

Q: When you got to Mississippi State did you think you would end up here?

McCowan: No. Me being my old self I would look back and say I wouldn’t be this successful but I’m proud of myself for maturing and putting in the hard work that I have.

Katie Lou Samuelson (Chicago Sky, No. 4 Pick)

Q: What’s going to be the biggest thing that you’re going to need to work on in the future to contribute?

Samuelson: I think making sure that I can be accountable for my team on defense. I think that’s a big weakness for me and learning how to use my length to help that.

Q: How did it feel to get drafted?

Samuelson: I’m excited. I’m kind of shocked and super happy to just get this opportunity.

Q: How significant is it that Chicago’s play is something similar to what you’re used to?

Last name: Huge. I think for me I’m going in ready to learn and get as much done as I can. I’m going to work as hard as I can to see if I can make an impact. Like you said, the style of play is something I’m used to.

Q: Napheesa Collier said she was looking forward to playing against you. Are you looking forward to that? How much have you thought about that?

Samuelson: Absolutely. I’m so excited. Now, I know for sure that I’m playing against her. I’m excited to get that opportunity and we’ll see what happens.

Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings, No. 5 Pick)

Q: How does it feel to be drafted by Dallas? 

Ogunbowale: Dallas is a great place and I’m really excited. They have a great coach and I’m ready to get started.

Q: How cool is it to be a part of a Notre Dame group that could have five players drafted? 

Ogunbowale: It’s amazing. We really left a mark on Notre Dame and that’s a credit to the coaching staff. They recruit great players and develop us over the years to become what it is now and I’m just thankful for that.

Q: Can you talk about your style of play and what you think you can bring to Dallas?

Ogunbowale: Excitement, some playmaking abilities, getting to the basket, pull-up threes and whatever they need. Just passion for the game.

Q: Can you talk about the opportunity to play with a fellow Irish in Skylar Diggins? 

Ogunbowale: That’s amazing. A lot of people who don’t know a lot about basketball always ask me ‘Have you played with Skylar?’ She’s such a big name. I was too young to play with her but to actually be able to play with her at some pint will be an amazing feeling.

Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx, No. 6 Pick)

Q: How has Coach Auriemma prepared you for this moment?

Collier: He is such an amazing coach. You have all these high expectations going in because of the legacy he has there. He exceeded all of my expectations. I wouldn’t be the player that I am today with him and our coaching staff.

Q: How does it feel to be drafted by Cheryl Reeve and the Minnesota Lynx?

Collier: I’m really excited. I got to play with her at USA Basketball for a little. I’m so excited to get there with those players and that coaching staff.

Q: How does it feel to play with Maya Moore next season?

Collier: It’s going to be amazing. That’s been my dream since I started watching her when I was little. So, to know she’s a part of that team, that means a lot.

Q: What was your reaction when you heard your name called?

Collier: I was really excited. I’m so excited to play with this team. I love the coaching staff and the players. I’m excited to get down there.

Kalani Brown (Los Angeles Sparks, No. 7 Pick)

What have the last 72 hours been like?

Q: Brown: It’s been a dream come true. A tiring dream come true. Coming off the national championship, it was a quick turnaround to come back here, but it was a dream come true. It was all worth it honestly.

Q: How is going to be playing with players like Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike?

Brown: I’m going to try not to be star-struck. I grew up watching up them. I’m just going to do what I can and whatever I can. Just help my team and be me.

Q: Are you excited to play in LA?

Brown: Yes, LA is great. I’m definitely shocked and so excited.

Q: What’s going to be the hardest part about leaving Baylor?

Brown: Definitely leaving my teammates. I know they’re watching and excited. Definitely leaving my teammates. I love those girls. They’re like my sisters.

Alanna Smith (Phoenix Mercury, No. 8 Pick)

Q: How excited are you to go play under Sandy Brondello?

Smith: I’m so excited. I’ve played under Sandy before with the Australian team so I know how she operates. I have a really good relationship with her. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d want to go.

Q: How do you feel your game translates to the WNBA?

Smith: I think I’m a long, versatile player. I’ve got height. I can shoot from the outside. I can rebound. I’m willing to work hard. Whatever role they need me to play, I’m there to do it and do it at 100 percent.

Q: Did grow up following Penny Taylor?

Smith: Yeah, I grew up watching Penny. My dad was telling me a story about how he used to play and practice against her and that she was just an absolute killer. It’s great that I get to go to the same place where she’s played as well.

Kristine Anigwe (Connecticut Sun, No. 9 Pick)

Q: You come in as an elite rebounder and this is a team that led the league in rebounding percentage last season. Does this feel like it was meant to be?  

Anigwe: This whole experience is so unreal. I feel very confident in my rebounding ability, and to be at this level, the Sun trusting and believing in me to draft me, I can’t put it into words.

Q: What was this day like from picking out your outfit and getting ready?  

Anigwe: This whole entire day was unreal. They had us doing makeup, I don’t usually wear makeup but I got used to it and being around these beautiful young ladies built a lot of confidence in myself. My mom chose my outfit. It’s been great, I have a lot of family and friends here so I’m excited.

Sophie Cunningham (Phoenix Mercury, No. 13 Pick)

Q: How excited are you to have the chance to play in a high-octane offense like Phoenix?

Cunningham: I think just soaking up the sponge from Diana Taurasi is going to be awesome. I think she’s a beast. We’re both hard-nosed so I’m really excited to get out there.

Q: Do you see a lot of parallels between the type of game you have and the type she has?

Cunningham: Absolutely. She got a lot of flak for it when she was younger. I’m kind of following in her footsteps. I really am so excited to get out there.

Q: Have you ever played with a post presence like Brittney Griner?

Cunningham: No, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ve always wanted to. I really am so excited for Brittney and Taurasi. Just to be a sponge and soak up their greatness and see what I can learn.

Q: What part of the WNBA are you most excited about?

Cunningham: I’m just excited to learn. I’m excited to have a growth mindset and learn from the greats. I’m just going to go out there. Taurasi has that toughness and I think the two of us together will be great.

Han Xu (New York Liberty, No. 14 Pick)

Q: What are your plans for coming to the league?

Xu: I think I will play this year.

Q: You’re the first player that attended the NBA Academy to be drafted. What does that mean to you?

Xu: I hope that I can inspire others and give courage to others to pursue their dreams.

Q: How does it feel to play in New York City?

Xu: It feels good to be playing here in the big city. I went to camp here last year.