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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Phoenix wins draft lottery, otherwise known as the Griner sweepstakes

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: September 26, 2012 - 9:28 PM

"Don't get four," Phoenix coach Corey Gaines said he was thinking before Wednesday's draft lottery.

He didn't. The Mercury will have the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft in early April. and with it, the Mercury will almost certainly take 6-8 center Brittney Griner.

She led Baylor to a 40-0 record and the NCAA title last college season.

The next three picks will be by:

No. 2  Chicago Sky

No. 3  Tulsa Shock

No. 4 Washington Mystics

"I know a lot of people in Phoenix are screaming right now," Gaines said.

And in other WNBA cities, too. In outrage. It sure looked too many like Phoenix was not trying to win. Diana Taurasi, its star player, sat out most of the first half with injuries, played for the U.S. team in the Olympics, then sat out the second half. Explain please.

“I have at least 40 texts," Gaines said, "and I haven’t gotten a chance to look at all of them, but when I was walking out the door, Diana (Taurasi) hit me with a ‘Wow’ and I know that pretty big smile that must be on her face."

Said Gaines, “We have a solid four in Diana, Penny Taylor, DeWanna Bonner [who] had a superstar year, Candice Dupree who has also been an All-Star. I think that who we take, and we haven’t decided that yet, that person will add to that mix and I think that they’ll improve – coming in as a rookie with all of these veterans around who have won European championships and won gold medals, and have ability to bring whoever we pick up to speed fast.”

Really, the Mercury haven't decided who they will take? Who believes that.

"This one is extra special," WNBA prez Laurel Richie said of this draft class.

At the top is Griner.  Two other potentail pro superstars in the draft will be 6-5 Elena Delle Donne of Delaware. She averaged an NCAA-high of 28.1 points last season. The third highly anticipated college prospect is guard Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame. The Irish have lost in the NCAA championship game the past two seasons.

EXPN analyst Carolyn Peck said this class is similar to the 2008 class. The top three picks that year were Candace Parker of LA, Sylvia Fowles of Chicago and Candice Wiggins of the Lynx.

The Sky had the worst chance at No. 1; only 10.4 percent. Chicago was 14-20 an was competing for its first playoff spot in franchise history until the final week of the regular season.

Tulsa had a 17.8 percent chance at Griner. The Shock were 9-25 and like Chicago have not had a No. 1 pick before.

Phoenix had a 27.6 chance at Griner. The Mercury was 7-27. Phoenix had drafted No. 1 twice, in 2004 and '07.

Washington, which recently fired its entire coaching staff, had the worst record in the WNBA (5-29) and had the best chance of getting the No. 1 pick, 44.2 percent. The Mystics had the top pick once, way back in 1999.

This is the third year in a row the team with the league's worst record will not have the No. 1 pick.

"Somebody like Brittney Griner has the ability to garner [the WNBA] a lot of attention," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said, "if she continues to play the way she has through college. The biggest thing about her game is that people find appealing is her ability to dunk the ball.

"[The dunk] gets us into more of the masses' [homes] that we try to reach. And so are on SportsCenter more and that sort of thing."

Delle Donne and Diggins will turn nonplayoff teams into teams coming for postseason spots pretty quickly, Reeve said.

"But Griner is the one who is a special one," Reeve said.

DRAFT ORDER FOR REST OF FIRST ROUND

5. New York Liberty 15-19
6. Seattle Storm 16-18
7. Atlanta Dream 19-15
8. San Antonio Silver Stars 21-13
9. Indiana Fever 22-12
10. Los Angeles Sparks 24-10
11. Connecticut Sun 25-9
12. Minnesota Lynx 27-7

Obviously, this order is based on how teams fared in the regular season. The playoffs don't matter.

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
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