Lynx Tracks: 2012 WNBA Draft Review

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***********************     May 2012: Vol. 4, Issue 2************************

Hoops Scoop

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.

Minnesota 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.

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