You saw a little bit of regionalized selection in the college/international draft, but it didn’t happen today in the WNBA’s dispersal draft of former Sacramento players.
Media outlets in Tulsa hoped the soon-to-be-named team acquired former Oklahoma star Courtney Paris with the seventh pick. Paris also was the seventh pick in April and didn’t pan out to be the bruiser on the pro level that most predicted as a rookie.
Paris, who’s 6-foot-4, was the fourth overall pick today to the Chicago Sky, which could use some muscle inside with C Sylvia Fowles. With three players off-limits as unrestricted free agents Kara Lawson, Hamchetou Maiga-Ba and Ticha Penicheiro, one of the teams would’ve had to pass in order to give Tulsa a chance.
Do you do that with the former Shock roster expected to return? Apparently not – a smart move. Especially since Paris’s twin Ashley has been lurking around Tulsa looking for work this summer. Both are playing in Israel with Storm F Ashley Walker.
New York selected F Nicole Powell with the first overall pick. Minnesota became scarier with F Rebekkah Brunson with the second pick and Connecticut made an interesting move in selecting the seasoned, but injury-recovering F DeMya Walker (knee) over Paris.
Tulsa ended up with G Scholanda Robinson, a solid player. And because Los Angeles and Atlanta passed, Seattle was able to select G Chelsea Newton (pictured right by the WNBA) with the 10th pick. No other selections were made.
Newton, who averaged 3.0 points and 1.7 assists in 14.6 minutes, is a marginal defender who can offer depth in the Storm’s backcourt, which coach/director of player personnel Brian Agler seeks. But I’d still expect him to again be a player in the free agent pool.
Free agency discussions begin tomorrow and contracts can be signed in January.
JACKSON FRONT: Storm F Lauren Jackson has been in contact with Agler and a long stretch of her playing at home in Australia should soothe the heartache she’s been through this year. She’s expected to return, anchoring the Storm’s inside, and she’s on the court playing after back surgery.
Jackson, 28, made her debut on the road with the Canberra Capitals on Friday, shooting 7-for-18 from the field for 18 points and eight rebounds. The scoring was a team-high, leading her squad to a 102-62 win against the Perth Lynx.
Now she’ll see how her body responds and prepare to play again this Friday in Canberra.
As for ticket-draw, the Lynx had about 1,000 people in their gym. It’s four-times the normal draw. Many were young kids there to see Jackson, who played 22 minutes. There’s even talk of moving the Capitals game to a bigger gym to fit all the projected fans.
“I don’t think we get the recognition we deserve here,” Jackson told The Sunday Morning Herald (Australia). “It’s absolutely awesome to see these kids out in full force and enjoying the sport, especially women’s sport.”
MORE MEDIA GUIDE TALK: It’s interesting that no one is defending the sexy shot of Texas A&M;, but some have backed Florida State. And it’s starting to get to the players, who don’t appreciate the critics.
Gladly, it hasn’t affected their play. Both teams still rank in the top-25.
AROUND THE PACIFIC RIM: If you’re looking for some entertainment tonight, you might want to check out Seattle University’s home game against Saint Mary’s at the Connolly Center. As an Independent, SU (2-9) may try to break into their opponent’s West Coast Conference, although Gonzaga men’s coach Mark Few is against adding the school.
Regardless, how the Redhawks stack up early in the processes of becoming Division-I with first-year coach Joan Bonvicini is intriguing. And it will also be interesting to see how the Redhawks respond from their five-point loss to Washington (4-4) on Wednesday. If it weren’t for a few breakdowns late, SU would have had the significant crosstown victory.
Elsewhere, Gonzaga (9-2) continues to roll behind the inside work of seniors Heather Bowman and Seattle’s own Vivian Frieson. The Zags defeated Montana 75-48 on Friday and then slipped past Portland State 64-57 on Sunday. Both seniors had 20-plus games to guide the Bulldogs.
Meanwhile Washington State (4-5) suffered a setback in losing to Portland on Sunday. The Cougars are young and didn’t compete to coach June Daugherty’s liking, getting trampled 79-53 at home. This was after an impressive 73-61 road win at Montana State on Friday.
But Washington probably suffered the most last week, announcing F Liz Lay is out for the year with a knee injury. She probably should have redshirted her freshman season, instead of returning for the final 20 games. Lay admits to being a fierce competitor who wants to be on the court. She said she took the advice of everyone and played.
You know what is said about hindsight. Washington is hopeful for a medical redshirt this season and that Lay can return healthy next year.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: From Gonzaga senior F Vivian Frieson (@Veezy2G): “Why do ppl spend money adopting overseas when there are impoversed, malnutritioned children all over america?”
That was posted Dec. 12 from API at 10:39 p.m.