*********************** May 2012: Vol. 4, Issue 2************************
By David Zingler
With Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne opting to return for their senior seasons, the 2012 WNBA Draft lacked the star
power the Maya Moore-led 2011 class had and the 2013 group promises to offer. This year's draft compensated for the void in
household names however, with plenty of surprise and intrigue.
The proceedings began quietly enough when, as expected,
Los Angles made Nnemkadi Ogwumike the No. 1 overall pick. Ogwumike, a 6-2 forward from Stanford, joins Candace Parker and
former Lynx Nicky Anosike to give the Sparks an imposing front line.
Seattle was so excited about the prospect of landing
Shekinna Sticklen, they dealt established star Swin Cash to Chicago in January to acquire the draft's second pick and promptly
selected the 6-2 swingperson from Tennessee. The 2-time Wooden Award finalist should replace Cash in the Storm's line-up.
snapped up Notre Dame's Devereaux Peters with the third pick. The 6-2 forward's team first attitude and willingness to do
the less glamorous work should make her a perfect fit for the talent laden Lynx. Tennessee forward Glory Johnson - a Tamika
Catching protegee - went to Tulsa at No. 4 and San Antonio chose high scoring guard Shenise Johnson of Miami to round out
the top five.
To no one's surprise, Phoenix nabbed Samantha Prahalis with the sixth pick. The former Ohio State point
guard projects as the Mercury's replacement for Temeka Johnson. Jaws dropped however, when New York chose former Tennessee
center Kelley Cain at No. 7. Cain left school prior to last season to play in Turkey. Even ESPN was caught off guard by the
selection; they had no highlight package ready and never discussed the pick in detail.
Washington used the eighth pick
on Notre Dame guard Natalie Novosel. Connecticut kicked their selection down the road, choosing Astan Dabo from Mali at No.
9. The 6-8 center isn't expected to report to the team until at least 2013. The Mystics used their second first round pick
(10th overall) on LaSondra Barrett, a 6-2 forward from LSU. Center Sasha Goodlett of Georgia Tech meanwhile, went to Indiana
at No. 11.
The defending WNBA champion Lynx (it's always fun to say that) closed out the first round by choosing 6-4
center Damiris Dantas of Brazil. Don't expect to see Dantas in blue and green anytime soon though, the 19-year-old isn't expected
to join the team until after the 2016 Olympics.
While many of this year's first round picks will have trouble finding
playing time and three - Cain, Dabo and Dantas - probably won't even join their teams, most second rounders in this relatively
weak draft class will likely be looking for work at the end of training camp.
Among the few who could contribute in
2012 are UConn's Tiffany Hayes (No. 14, Atlanta), 5-7 Betty Lennox clone Riquna Williams (No. 14, Tulsa), Shey Peddy of Temple
(No. 23, Chicago) and C'eira Ricketts (No. 24, Phoenix).
The hometown squad meanwhile, took forward Julie Wojta of
Wisc.-Green Bay and Kayla Standish, a forward from Gonzaga with picks No. 18 and 19. Both players face long odds on making
the Lynx roster.
If the deck is stacked against the second round selectees, it's especially bleak for the third rounders.
Maryland center Lynetta Kizer got lonely in the green room - she was the final player invited to the draft to be selected
- but she may have walked into a good spot with Tulsa. The 29th pick should get a fair shot at playing time with All Star
Liz Cambage back in Australia gearing up for the Olympics.
Projected by many to go in the late first round, Kizer mysteriously
plummeted down the board. Her reaction to the snub will be watched league-wide and could be one of the key storylines when
looking back on this draft.
With their third round selection (No. 31), Minnesota chose Jacki Gemelos. The former USC
guard is recovering from ACL surgery and will not play in 2012. The Liberty completed the draft by selecting Gonzaga's Katelan
Redmon with the 36th, and final, pick.