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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NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles - LP: J. Wright 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 3
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera 2
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Portland 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
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