Lynx go for quality instead of quantity

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 10, 2008 - 12:17 PM

Candice Wiggins was chosen with the No. 3 pick. She was just too good to pass up, the Lynx's Roger Griffith said.

The Lynx spurned four trade offers for the No. 3 pick in Wednesday's WNBA draft, including 3-for-1 deals.

"We wanted the one special player," said Roger Griffith, the team's chief operating officer. "[We did] not take volume over the quality that we believe Candice Wiggins is."

So the Lynx drafted Wiggins, a 5-11 guard from Stanford, without hesitation even though the team's most pressing need was for post players.

Wiggins received the Wade Trophy as the player of the year this season from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

The top two picks in the draft, as expected, were 6-4 forward Candace Parker of Tennessee and 6-6 center Sylvia Fowles of Louisiana State. Parker went to the Los Angeles Sparks, who had the No. 1 pick; Fowles went to the Chicago Sky.

The Lynx used two later picks for help underneath. The Lynx took 6-4 center Nicky Anosike of Tennessee and 6-1 forward Charde Houston of Connecticut at Nos. 16 and 30, respectively. They were the second picks in rounds two and three.

"Obviously, the prize of the day for us was Candice Wiggins," Griffith said. "When you talk about players who are going to make their teammates better, I think we have that player in Candice Wiggins.

"With her we get one of the elite players in this year's college programs. She won the Wade Trophy over those two other players [Parker and Fowles], and that says a lot to what she is both as a player and as a person. She is going to bring quickness to us, defense to us, unselfishness to us."

And humor.

Asked about the Lynx, Wiggins said: "I just know they have this girl. I don't know if anybody has heard of her, but her name is Seimone [Augustus]."

Women's college basketball fans have heard of Wiggins, too, especially this season. She led the Cardinal to the NCAA title game Tuesday in Tampa, where Tennessee beat Stanford 64-48.

Wiggins, who earlier in the tournament had two 40-point games, scored only 14 points against the Lady Vols.

Only 14 hours after that disappointment, Wiggins heard WNBA President Donna Orender say the Lynx had drafted her.

"I just hope they are really excited, because I sure am," Wiggins said.

She is the daughter of Alan Wiggins, a second baseman for the San Diego Padres and Baltimore Orioles from 1981-87. His career was cut short by drug problems and he died in 1991, reportedly of complications from AIDS. Candice was 4 at the time.

"He'd be so excited [today]; he'd be proud," she said.

"It is still a dream, it is still surreal right now, but it will be reality soon," Wiggins said, referring to being drafted. "I watched the Lynx play last summer a lot and I loved watching them play. I think they have so much potential."

So does Griffith. "I expect we will be a playoff team," he said. "Not to put any pressure on the coach here. But I think that is [Don Zierden's] expectation, too."

Last season the Lynx were 10-24, tying them for the worst record in the WNBA. The season began with the Lynx making a draft-day trade for the No. 1 pick, and there was plenty of speculation Wednesday that Minnesota might make another trade.

Even Wiggins was concerned. "You never know," she said. "I wasn't going to bet any houses or cars on anything but just would hope they would -- that everything would be fine."

Trades are on the back burner now, Griffith said, and it's time to focus on training camp, which starts April 20.

"We like our basketball team," he said.

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