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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Connecticut Sun in waiting game


                                                                                   (Associated Press photo)
Former Oklahoma State forward Toni Young is among the prospects who
could be a good fit with the Connecticut Sun if she is still around at No. 11
While there were no complaints as the Connecticut Sun was rolling along to the best record in the Eastern Conference last summer, the result of the special regular season is that the Sun will be in a waiting pattern during tonight's WNBA draft.

Connecticut has the No. 11 pick and with Asjha Jones decision to sit out the upcoming season, the Sun suddenly looks a little thin at the power forward position with Kelsey Griffin (who averaged 16.5 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Bendigo Spirit in Australia's WNBL) and Mistie Mims the returning players with the best chance of getting Jones' minutes. Other potential power forwards on the roster are former UConn standout Jessica Moore (who averaged 1.5 points and 0.9 rebounds in eight regular-season games with the Sun), former first-round pick Ashley Walker (who averaged 13.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.1 blocked shots for Targoviste in Romania's pro league) and Latoya Williams (who played for Novi Zagreb in Croatia where she averaged 16.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game). What all of this means is it would benefit the Sun if there was a power forward for Connecticut to take with the 11th pick.
                                                        (Associated Press photo)
Illinois' Karisma Penn is one of more versatile forwards
available in 2013 WNBA draft which will be held tonight.

It is a whole new world in Connecticut Sun land with Mike Thibault now calling the shots on draft day in Washington. New head coach Anne Donovan, assistant coach Jen Gillom (who did the majority of the scouting during the college season while Donovan was focused on her duties in her final season as the Seton Hall head coach) and general manager Chris Sienko will be the ones comparing notes before making the second to last pick in the first round.

While the trio never asked for my opinion on this matter, here are some thoughts on potential picks for the Sun especially since Brittney Griner should go No. 1 overall to Phoenix while top posts Kelsey Bone and Tianna Hawkins also figure to be long gone by the time the Sun get the make their first-round selection.

Kayla Alexander, Syracuse: There's absolutely no way the all-time leading scorer in Syracuse history would fall to No. 11, crazier things have happened on draft day. The 6-foot-4 Alexander made remarkable strides during her four seasons with the Orange and is one of the best shot blockers not names Brittney Griner in the draft.
Toni Young, Oklahoma State: Every year it seems as if an under the radar prospect rises up the draft boards and Young is that player in 2013. Young averaged a double-double as a senior and when you factor in that the 6-foot-2 Young is a world-class high jumper and it's easy to see why she is drawing some much attention heading into the draft.
Carolyn Davis, Kansas: Probably more likely to be taken in the second round, Davis is a terrific finisher around the basket as she set Kansas' career mark in field-goal percentage although the fact that she set career lows in field-goal and free-throw percentage should be a bit of a concern.
Karisma Penn, Illinois: Penn is another player that many expect to be taken in the second round but she is a multi-faceted player who unlike the other candidates mentioned, was able to connect several times from 3-point range and her versatility is epitomized by the fact that she is the only one of the 49 prospects listed on the WNBA official site with more than 200 assists, steals and blocks.
Markel Walker, UCLA: Some of her offensive numbers are concerning especially the fact that she shot 39 percent from the field in the last two seasons but she is a terrific rebounder as well as a solid passer and defender. It might be a bit of a reach to take her in the first round but with a new regime in Connecticut nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

Obviously the landing spot of former UConn guard Kelly Faris who is expected to be gone by the time the Sun picks at No. 11 is one of the story lines I will be following tonight and it will be interesting to see where Faris lands. It will also be worth watching if a Connecticut native goes in the draft for the first time since Jen Rizzotti was taken by Houston in 1999.

Former Wilbur Cross star Chantell Alford is one of the 49 players on the WNBA's online draft database and the former Boston University star was one of three Connecticut natives to take part in the WNBA combine in New Orleans earlier this month. Former Mercy High star Bianca Simmons and New Britain's Symone Roberts also were at the combine so I'll be curious to see if any of those three get the call.

Finally, individual game tickets for Connecticut Sun home games went on sale this morning at 10 a.m.

Fans can purchase tickets to all 17 regular season home games at Mohegan Sun Arena as well as tickets for a preseason game on May 11 against the New York Liberty. Tickets will be available at Ticketmaster.com, WNBA.com/tickets, or by calling 1-877-WNBA-TIX.

Season tickets and mini plans are also on sale now, and can be reserved by calling a Sun Ticket Representative at 1.877.SUN.TIXX (786-8499) or via e-mail at tickets@connecticutsun.com. Fans can also purchase season tickets and either a Big Game or Pick Six Mini Plan by visiting http://www.wnba.com/sun/tickets.html.

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