Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Top of draft goes as expected, then Lynx go guard, guard, guard on Nos. 12, 14 and 24

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: April 15, 2013 - 11:12 PM

Her grip is larger than LeBron's. That's what one of the ESPN analysts said about Brittany Griner.

And, for those waiting, she is finally in the WNBA.

Phoenix took her with the No. 1 pick. Which some people are still mad about because a case can be made the Mercury tanked the season to get into the Giner draft lottery. Diana Taurasi sat out most of the season with injuries before and after the Summer Olympics -- after she played in the games in London.

That's the topic of another blog. This is on the WNBA draft tonight.

Time will tell if this will go down as one of the greatest WNBA drafts ever, but it has the makings of one. At the top were three can't miss superstars in most people's eyes:

6-8 Baylor center Brittany Griner who went to the Mercury. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve she will change the game in the WNBA. She can dunk, she had 18 in college, three in one of her last games. And she can block shots like nobody before her.

She should draw fans like nobody else to home and away games, too. Forget she is a rookie. She will be one of the league's best players as soon as she steps on the court.

ESPN analyst Rebecca Loco said, with Griner, Phoenix, a seven-game winner last season, is the favorite to win the WNBA title. She picks the Lynx for third in the West behind the Mercury and the Los Angeles Sparks.

No doubt Phoenix will be a handful with a healthy Taurasi and a healthy Penny Taylor and Griner.

And guess which two teams will open the WNBA season on national TV?

Phoenix vs. Chicago on May 27.

Chicago, curiously enough, had the No. 2 pick and nabbed 6-5 Elena Delle Donne of Delaware. Another of the Big Three.

She's 6-5 and she plays like a guard, Lobo said. Delle Donne can play any position but point guard.

And she scores like a machine. She averaged 34 points in five NCAA tournament games. ... She will give the Chicago Sky, which has never made the playoffs, a 6-6, 6-5, 6-2 front line.

So TV viewers will get to see the pro debut of two future superstars.

The final member of the Big Three is Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame. She led the Irish to three Final Fours, that's all. She went to Tulsa, which had the No. 3 pick.

Five-win Washington had bad luck in the draft lottery and picked fourth. The Mystics grabbed Tayler Hill of Ohio State, a high-scoring guard who played prep ball for Minneapolis South. Being fourth behind the Big Three is darn good.

After that -- much to the Lynx's delight came a run of bigs, centers and forewards.

The New York Liberty, picked No. 5 and 7, took 6-4 center Kelsey Bone of Texas A&M and 6-2 forward Toni Young of Oklahoma State.

Swish Appeal in its mock draft had the first five picks right, in the exact order.

Seattle, which wil be without its two bests, center Lauren Jackson and guard Sue Bird because of injuries the entire season, took 6-4 center Tianna Hawkins of Maryland to shore up the middle.

There were four more picks to go before the Lynx's turn. They had to be getting nervous. Would the players they wanted at No. 12 and 14 still be there?

San Antonio had the No. 8 pick and the Silver Stars went big, too -- will the average height in the WNBA got up an inch this season? Maybe. San Antonio took 6-4 center Kayla Alexander of Syracuse.

Then the run on guards began. WNBA champion Indiana, picking No. 9 (draft order is based on where a team finishes in the regular season, not the postseason, took 5-9 Layshia Claredon of California. She's been known to sport a blonde mohawk.

The Los Angeles Sparks, picking No. 10, took guard A'dia Matthies of Kentucky.

Then Connecticut, at No. 11, picked hometown favorite Kelly Faris, a guard for NCAA champion UConn. Might have been a little bit of a reach.

Checking three mock drafts -- draftsite.com, Swish Appeal and ESPN's -- was No. 9 on one of them and not in the top 12 in the other two.

Whatever. The Lynx were grateful. In under 30 seconds, it seemed, they had their pick in: Lindsey Moore, a 5-9 point guard from Nebraska.

Here is her short bio from my Sunday blog:

Lindsey Moore, Nebraska: 5-9 point guard from Tacoma, Wash. Led Big Ten in assists to turnovers ratio, avg. 15.1 points, had 195 assists, 60 steals, shot 38.2 percent on three-pointers.

Comments: Lynx had to love that assists to turnover ratio and the near 40 percent shooting touch on threes.

After Atlanta took another Big Ten guard, Alex Bentley of Penn State, the Lynx were on the clock again.

And, yup, they hesitated only second again before taking Sugar Rodgers.

Here is her short bio from Sunday blog:

Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown: Most decorated Hoya ever in women's basketball; four-time all-Big East first team pick. ... 5-11 from Suffolk, Va. ... team's top three-point scorer; shot 31.9 pct. behind arc as senior when she avg. 22.9 points per game and had 127 assists and 105 steals.

Comments: Has good size, like all the steals, too. Played in a tough, tough conference with UConn and Notre Dame but excelled.

I had the Lynx taking Rodgers No. 12 and Moore No. 14. The Lynx reversed the order.

The three mock draft mentioned above had Moore going 11th, ninth or 12th and Rodgers fifth, 12th or not in the top 12 at all.

 The Lynx finished the draft with the last pick in the second round and the last in the third. They took 5-10 guard Chucky Jeffrey of Colorado and 6-6 center Waltiea Rolle from North Carolina. Both should be considered longshots to make the team.

Jeffrey is from Colorado Springs. Rolle is from Nassau of the Bahamas.

Notes: Guard Brittany Chambers of Kansas State went No. 22 to the Los Angeles Sparks. She is from Jordan and was expected to go more toward the middle of the second round, not near the bottom.

This was the first time in 17 years the WNBA draft was on prime time TV. The first round was on ESPN2, starting at 7 pm in Minnesota, and took only an hour. Rounds 2 and 3 followed and were on ESPNU.

 

 

 

 

 

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