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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Seattle wins WNBA Draft lottery, Connecticut to pick third

Still grasping the winning lottery ticket that is sure to result in UConn All-American Breanna Stewart becoming a member of her team, Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek wasn't about to come out and declare Stewart to be a member of the Seattle franchise. However, she had no problem discussing the two-time national player of the year after the Storm won the lottery for the third time including the second year in a row.

"She is kind of the future in terms of her versatility coming from a program from UConn, a quarter of our team could be UConn players - we like that," Boucek said. "We've had good success with UConn players in the past so if we decide to go that direction, we would be really pleased to have her."

With her comment about being happy with three of the 12 players on next year's team being UConn products, I asked Boucek if UConn players have similarities when they make it to the pro level.

"UConn players are pro ready," Boucek said. "Geno Auriemma does an incredible job of choosing players that have the 'it' factor and he cultivates it. The culture he has and the eye he has not just for the most athletic players, not necessarily even the most talented, but the best basketball players, teammates and winners, has translated really well to the WNBA."
If Stewart goes first overall as expected, there is a chance that San Antonio would select UConn All-American point guard Moriah Jefferson, a Texas native, with the second pick.

San Antonio head coach Dan Hughes said that picking Jefferson over other prospects including South Carolina wing Tiffany Mitchell would not be done just because of Jefferson's home state connection.

"We will be aware of it," Hughes said. "I don't think it is the deciding thing but you are aware of it, it is a nice story, I like it but at the end of the day you are going to weigh a lot of things and if it works out that way, so be it."

Connecticut Sun general manager Chris Sienko said the team will make attempts to move up in the draft although to get the top pick might be a little too hefty of a price to pay.

"I am always going to make a play to get No. 1 or maybe make a play to get No. 2," Sienko said. "If you don't test it, the answer is always going to be no so I have to look at the options. I have to be willing to make offers We will consider anything but if we don't I don't think we are in a bad position at 3."

If it turns out that Stewart and Jefferson do go first and second, it would be the first time two college teammates went first and second since the UConn duo of Sue Bird and Swin Cash back in 2002.

While most of the attention was on Stewart, Jefferson and South Carolina's Tiffany Mitchell who are considered to be the cream of the available players in the 2016 draft, there is a chance that former Hillhouse star Bria Holmes could find herself taken in the first round.

"She is certainly a player who is going to be on a lot of boards," Hughes said. "It is her senior year and in this league, if you really study what they do in their senior year and it can have a huge impact on their draft position. She is certainly on everybody's draft board, everybody knows who she is."

Can she be a first round pick?

"That remains to be seen," Hughes said. "Obviously it is a name that we all know and in this kind of a league, a lot of what is going to happen in 2015-16 is going to drive whether she is in the first round or not."


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