Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Draft prospects benefited from national team experience

The WNBA is one of the few professional leagues where there is no chance for the top prospects to work out for pro scouts. There has been something resembling a combine at previous Final Fours but it typically is for players who are borderline prospects at best.

Well, this year the WNBA teams should have a better sense about the top players since four of them got to compete with and against current WNBA stars during the U.S. national team training camp back in September.

UConn's Stefanie Dolson, Notre Dame's Kayla McBride, Baylor's Odyssey Sims and Maryland's Alyssa Thomas joined UConn underclassmen Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart as the active college players able to go through drills with Tamika Catchings, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles and other current WNBA stars.

On a recent pre-draft conference call, I asked Dolson and McBride about the impact of taking part in the national team training camp.

"For me it was definitely an eye-opening experience being able to play with all those women at the USA trials," Dolson said.  "I realized that I need to get stronger obviously down in the post, get more physical. That way I'm better at rebounding the ball because obviously being in the league it will be older women who are stronger than most girls in college. 

"I definitely have to work on my strength, work on my quickness.  At the trials, there were a lot of players that could drive right by me.  Doesn't happen a lot in college. 

"There's definitely some things I need to work on."

Here are McBride's thoughts.
"I think it was just humbling. You look at all those great players, that's what you strive to be. It was a great experience. 

"It's a whole different level of play.  Tamika (Catchings), watching how hard she plays the entire game, that's how it is every single game. It's bringing that intensity to a whole other level." 

The draft begins tonight shortly after 8 p.m. with the first round airing on ESPN2. The second and third rounds will be shown on ESPNU. The Connecticut Sun will pick first and the feeling is that Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike will be the first player of the board.

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