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 Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 70 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
USC 74 FINAL
UCLA 85
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
UNLV 58
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
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