Xavier's Harris figures to fill void in middle

Two days after trading away their starting center, the Lynx used their second pick in the WNBA draft on Monday to pick Amber Harris of Xavier.

Photo: Greg M. Cooper, Associated Press

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Two days after trading away their starting center, the Lynx used their second pick in the WNBA draft on Monday to pick Amber Harris of Xavier.

Harris is a 6-5 forward who averaged 18.7 points and 10.2 rebounds as a senior. The Lynx took her with the fourth overall pick, acquired by Minnesota in a draft-day trade a year ago with Connecticut.

Harris had not anticipated dropping a spot to the Lynx. "It was definitely a surprise because I had talked to the Chicago coach," Harris said. "I was assuming they were going to pick me because I already knew Maya [Moore] was going No. 1, and Liz [Cambage] was going 2. So I was assuming [the Sky] wanted me" with the No. 3 pick overall.

Tulsa did take Cambage, a 6-8 center from Australia, with the No. 2 pick, but Chicago chose 5-8 guard Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga instead of Harris.

"So I am happy I am going to Minnesota," Harris said.

The Lynx, obviously, have a hole to fill in the middle with the departure of 6-2 Nicky Anosike, their center the past three seasons. She was traded Saturday to Washington for the Mystics' first-round pick in 2012.

Harris said she expects to play a lot at center. "I am hoping I can play my original position," she said, referring to power forward. "But I feel like they will probably put me out of position because Nicky Anosike left and make me the big down low."

She prefers forward, though. "I can definitely post up, step out, shoot a jumper," she said. "So my game goes back and forth."

Not in terms of consistency, as Harris is steady. She's a four-time All-Atlantic 10 Conference pick and averaged 16.3, 15.3, 16.1 and 18.7 points per season. She is first on Xavier's career list in blocks with 361 and second in scoring (2,205 points) and rebounds (1,226).

Harris said playing with Moore should be a good experience. "We are both great players and we have a lot more to develop," she said.

Two trades

The Lynx took two 6-3 forwards, Jessica Breland of North Carolina and Felicia Chester of DePaul, with their next two picks Monday. They were the No. 13 and 14 picks, the first two in the second round. But in prearranged trades, both were soon gone.

Breland was traded to New York for the Liberty's second-round pick in 2012 and Marquette guard Angel Robinson, the 22nd pick in the draft. Robinson is a former St. Paul Central star.

Chester was dealt to Atlanta for the Dream's second-round pick and 6-1 forward Rachel Jarry of Australia. Atlanta had taken Jarry, who is only 19 years old, with the No. 18 pick.

Before those trades were announced -- shortly after the draft ended -- the Lynx used their final pick to acquire another player with local ties, selecting 5-9 guard Kachine Alexander of Iowa with the No. 26 pick, the second of the third round. Alexander, a two-time All-Big Ten first-teamer, played for Benilde-St. Margaret's in high school.

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