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  • 2008 WNBA draft preview

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  • WNBA '07 post-sesason report card

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  • The 2007 Young All-American Team
    By Dave Wohlhueter

    With the collegiate season over, there's not even a time to take a breather, as the 2009 WNBA draft takes place on Thursday, April 9. The draft will be held at 3 p.m. at NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, NJ. ESPN2 will provide the television coverage and analysis of the first round, while ESPNU and NBA-TV will broadcast the second and third rounds beginning at 4 p.m.

    Times have changed, as the past three years, the draft was held at the site of the NCAA Women's Final Four. Also, a sign of the times, there was no pre-draft camp held, and teams have had to watch prospects at the NCAA tournament.

    The Atlanta Dream (4-30) holds the first selection after winning the eighth annual WNBA Draft Lottery last fall. Washington (10-24) will choose second, followed by Chicago (12-22). All three teams play in the WNBA Eastern Conference.

    Once again, this year's draft is loaded with excellent talent. The fly in the ointment is that the demise of the Houston franchise has made open roster spots at a premium. Top teams will be looking to fill just an 11th and final spot on the roster.

    Two of the top players expected to go early are UConn point guard Renee Montgomery, coming off a great NCAA tournament performance, and versatile Louisville forward Angel McCoughtry, who played against Montgomery three times this past season.

    The Dream needs help everywhere, but general manager and head coach Marynell Meadors made some off-season additions up front that would lead to the selection of Montgomery at No. 1. Atlanta needs a point guard to back up veteran Nikki Teasley, who has had some injuries in the past. Montgomery can play at the WNBA level, and is a tremendous leader. She could be a Dream for Atlanta.

    Washington is next. Again, the Mystics addressed some of their needs during the off-season by signing veteran center Chasity Melvin and acquiring point guard Lindsey Harding from Minnesota in a trade. So, the smart move would be to take McCoughtry, a 6-1 forward who can score and rebound, and better yet, plays outstanding defense.

    What's in the Sky for Chicago (12-22)? A huge scorer in the backcourt would be a plus for Chicago. Maryland forward Marissa Coleman is the best player currently available. She has great versatility, and can shoot the 3. She might even be a 2 guard. Coleman should go to Chicago, or it could be another versatile performer in Auburn 6-4 forward/guard DeWanna Bonner. Either player would give the Sky a young, but talented front with Candice Dupree and Sylvia Fowles.

    Picking fourth is Minnesota (16-18), a team that has had the No. 1 pick the past two drafts. The Lynx was the most improved team in the league last year. Minnesota also has the No. 9 pick in the first round. Would the Lynx trade up to Atlanta for the No. 1 pick again? If not, Minnesota will draft the double-double machine Courtney Paris out of Oklahoma. She would be a nice replacement for the departed Nicole Ohlde and Vanessa Hayden.

    The high-flying Phoenix Mercury (16-18) gets the No. 5 choice. Phoenix will go with Maryland point guard Kristi Toliver, who is probably the best shooter in this year's draft. If Bonner falls this far, she would be a good choice. She can't play point guard, but has the kind of speed that the Mercury craves.

    The Indiana Fever (17-17), the first playoff team to draft, gets the No. 6 choice. If for some reason, either Montgomery or Toliver are still available, they would be a great backup for veteran guard Tully Bevilaqua. If those players are not available, Arizona State point guard Briann January would be an excellent selection. In addition to being someone who can run the show, January also plays good defense.

    No. 7 goes to Sacramento (18-16), another playoff team looking for depth. GM John Whisenant likes Bonner, but she could be unavailable. A good choice for the Monarchs might be Californian Ashley Walker, a versatile forward/center for the Golden Bears who was a big force in the Pac-10.

    The New York Liberty (19-15) is next at No. 8. The Liberty always needs size up front, and Rutgers center Kia Vaughn would fit in well with former Scarlet Knight Essence Carson, who plays the shooting guard. If New York can get Vaughn to play with consistent intensity, the best basketball is ahead for the talented front court player.

    With its second pick in the draft, Minnesota certainly would pick up January if she is still around to back up veteran Kelly Miller, who joined the Lynx in the off-season. Chante Black of Duke is a 6-5 athlete who would add talent up front to replace the vets Ohlde and Hayden.

    Connecticut (21-13), a perennial late-round participant, will probably go with the best athlete available. Pittsburgh guard Shavonte Zellous would give the Sun an outstanding shooting guard to pair up with veteran point guard Lindsay Whalen. Shayla Fields of North Carolina State is a very athletic shooting guard who also likes to distribute the ball.

    Defending champion Detroit (22-12) always gets late-round choices, and is looking for a guard or small forward. Head coach and general manager Bill Laimbeer has made some good choices in the past, but then ends up trading them away. Virginia forward Lyndra Littles would give him that small forward choice or Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton of Purdue. Laimbeer might have to come up with a sleeper this spring. How about Ashley Paris of Oklahoma? Detroit also likes versatile players, and Danielle Gant of Texas A&M is a physically strong player who has played a number of positions. She definitely has all the qualities demanded of Laimbeer.

    Seattle (22-12) has the No. 12 choice, and the Storm doesn't know who to pick, depending on its needs, and that is also questionable. League MVP Lauren Jackson is holding Seattle hostage on her decision between the Storm and Phoenix. Duke's Black would be a fine addition if still available. Wisdom-Hylton would be another possibility. Ta'Shia Phillips, out of Xavier, is a big body at 6-6, to replace Jackson if she decides to go south.

    Los Angeles (20-14) has the last first-round pick. The Sparks need a point guard, and would gobble up January if she would drop this low. Sha Brooks, a 5-7 guard from Florida, is really a shooting guard, but has played the point this past season. It might be a good time to choose Phillips as a backup in all-time great Lisa Leslie's final year of her pro career.

    San Antonio (24-10) doesn't have a choice in the first round.

    With rosters reduced from 13 players to 11, there will be plenty of talent to go around, and many disappointed players.

    Dave Wohlhueter is Gball's WNBA and women's college game expert. He is a former Sports Information Director at Cornell University, as well as a member of the school's Hall of Fame. He worked in media relations at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He recently was named the winner of College Sports Information Directors of America's 2007 Bob Kenworthy Good Person Award, which annually is awarded to a CoSIDA member for civic involvement and accomplishments outside the sports information office.

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