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A'dia Mathies became exactly the senior leader the Kentucky Wildcats needed during the 2012-13 NCAA season. Now she's adjusting to being just "another addition" with the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks.
People spent a lot of time discussing Skylar Diggins and the "three to see" for good reason, but another significant story line for the 2013 draft class is that it features an even more promising point guard class than the highly touted 2009 WNBA Draft did. Not all of them have officially made rosters yet, but they have a good chance and their college statistics compare favorably to players of the past.
Last week St. Joseph's Hawks star Chatilla van Grinsven signed with the Connecticut Sun after being named Big 5 Player of the Year. Swish Appeal had the opportunity to follow-up with van Grinsven on a special senior season, the Connecticut Sun, and preparing for the next step in her basketball career.
Kristi Toliver and Juan Dixon were among those who shouted out the newest Terp turned pro.
Video of A'Dia Mathies' press conference after being selected 10th overall in the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks (via CommonWealthNetwork2).
Texas A&M's Kelsey Bone was selected fifth overall by the New York Liberty in the 2013 WNBA Draft on Monday. Swish Appeal had an opportunity to follow up with her and her mother about getting drafted, what she did leading up to draft night, and playing for New York Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer.
After the past two WNBA drafts I've taken stock of some of the top undrafted players. This year, that includes three players we had been following throughout the 2012-13 NCAA season and a third who multiple people considered a first round pick.
We'll be tracking the 2013 WNBA Draft as it goes tonight, but here is a final draft board after all that analysis over the past few months.
Scoring efficiency is clearly important for guard prospects, but can we get more precise at determining how important?
Okay, the big day is finally here. The WNBA Draft will be held tonight at 8:00 PM on ESPN2 at ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.
Last Monday, I put together a mock draft for a couple of WNBA team sites that I didn't comment on here. The following is my final attempt at a mock draft after looking at the statistics and talking things over with others in the know.
Continuing our position-by-position look at prospects for the 2013 WNBA Draft, we look at centers and try to use the numbers to figure out who the best one is after Baylor star Brittney Griner.
Over the past few years, scoring power forwards like Danielle Adams (2011) and Nneka Ogwumike (2012) have made a splash as rookies in the WNBA. This year's top scoring power forward is Tianna Hawkins, This year's top scoring power forward is Tianna Hawkins, who turned herself into a scorer out of need.
To kick off our position-by-position look at 2013 WNBA prospects, we begin with a group of players who have defined themselves by doing something that generally transfers to both the NBA and WNBA extremely well: offensive rebounding. But what are the chances that rebounding alone will carry some of the key power forward prospects?
Last year, I posted an essay about the evaluation of draft prospects in terms of minimizing risk, drawing from principles outlined in the widely-read book Moneyball. Since then, I've set out to see if there are tangible ways to weigh a prospect's value by their level of risk relative to past prospects based upon a set of red flags and similarity ratings. The following is a partial draft board based what I've been able to put together.
The WNBA has released a list of 12 prospects who are invited to attend Monday's 2013 Draft which will be held at ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. They are:
To read more on the 2013 Draft, and top prospects, follow our StoryStream.
The Phoenix Mercury, the team with the first pick in the 2013 Draft has a huge Draft Central page which can be accessed here. You can read more on the "Big Three," past number one picks, and other draft prospect related analysis, at least from the perspective of a Mercury fan.
The fun part is the Mock Draft section which includes one from our boss, Nate. Take a look at his picks here. In addition, Kevin Pelton of ESPN, Odeen Domingo of the Arizona Republic, Doug Feinberg of the AP, David Siegel of hoopfeed.com, and Al Bravo of the AP also created mock drafts.
We'll cut to the chase here. The top three for everyone except Al Bravo was Griner-Delle Donne-Diggins from first to third. Bravo had the second pick going to Diggins and with Delle Donne going to Tulsa at third.
At the fourth pick, things get interesting.
Nate has the Washington Mystics selecting a guard, Tayler Hill of Ohio State at the fourth pick given the need to add guards, which I have noted, since there needs to be immediate help there. But the other mock drafts had post players Tianna Hawkins of Maryland (Pelton and Feinberg) and Kelsey Bone of Texas A&M (Domingo and Siegel) going to DC. Bravo had Syracuse center Kayla Alexander as the fourth pick.
With four different players tabbed as possible #4 picks, the Mystics seem to have a very tough task. With the exception of Swish Appeal where we believe the Mystics will end up picking a guard, most of the other guys think that they should pick a post, which would only add to an already current imbalance between perimeter and interior depth on the team.
UPDATE at 3:10 PM ET, April 11, 2013 - H/T to blackandgoldforever who found that the Mercury updated the draft site.
If a player hasn't gotten the invite by now to show up in Bristol, Connecticut on Monday, April 15th, what can we say about her final draft position?
Tianna Hawkins could be staying close to home in the D.C. area, just as she did for college, a prospect that she describes as ‘so awesome.’ But regardless of where she ends up, she will soon be living her dream as a WNBA Draft pick and will have the opportunity to reach heights even greater than the ones people never expected her to reach as a senior at Maryland.
Finishing up the look at 2013 WNBA Draft prospects in the recently completed NCAA Tournament, we look at a group of players from the Spokane region that we haven't discussed much.
There were three primary 2013 WNBA Draft prospects in the 2013 Final Four, and the three had one main ingredient in common: They are winners. Brian McCormick adds to our ongoing discussion of these three draft prospects with his first-hand observations from New Orleans.
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry chats with ESPN's Jemele Hill, former South Carolina coach Susan Walvius, gold medal Olympic swimmer Donna de Varona, and 2013 WNBA Draft prospect Elena Delle Donne, who described her experience as a college basketball star who chose Delaware over UConn.
Over the course of the season we've taken a look at a number of NCAA DI seniors in anticipation of the 2013 WNBA Draft. With the Final Four coming up this weekend, it's time to finalize that list before creating an actual draft board.
A look back at the seasons of a few 2013 WNBA Draft prospects in the Norfolk region of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Texas A&M center Kelsey Bone announced yesterday that she would be leaving school to enter the 2013 WNBA Draft, as many WNBA fans have expected for some time. So what might her college statistics say about how well she'll fare in the WNBA?
Third team All American, Kelsey Bone, from Texas A & M will make herself eligible for the WNBA Draft. Story will come later
In recent weeks - and even not so recent weeks - the subject of Brittney Griner stands as a hot topic in many circles. Here's a quick look at some of the most recent high-profile pieces on the Baylor senior.
Tianna Hawkins and Alyssa Thomas gave Maryland fans a season to remember and the Terps hope to become even better in 2013-14.
Baylor Lady Bears center Brittney Griner reflects on her career after an 82-81 loss to the Louisville Cardinals in which she scored 14 points on 4-for-10 shooting.
ESPN's highlights from the Delaware Blue Hens' 69-62 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats, including the post game interview with senior Elena Delle Donne.
A brief set of responses from Delaware Blue Hens star Elena Delle Donne captured from a combination of the press conference in Bridgeport and a one-on-one interview.
The Illinois Fighting Illini will face the Toledo Rockets today at 7 p.m. EDT for the chance to advance to the fourth round of the WNIT.
Greg Alan Edwards of SB Nation's Kentucky site A Sea of Blue summarized the high points of Wildcats' guard A'dia Mathies' 34-point performance against the Dayton Flyers in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, giving the senior the game ball.
Mathies led the way as she hit 3's as well as shots inside the arc. She was getting tip-ins, off ball screens to get open looks, and using her teammates as picks everywhere...At one point, Kentucky allowed UD to take FT shots on three consecutive possessions and they hit 5 of 6 to cut the lead down to 2. Then Mathies decided she had seen enough. Soon, her 15 points became 20, then 25, and by the time she had hit 30, the Kentucky lead was back to 14 and Dayton was gassed. When all was said and done, Mathies had a total of 34 points, hit 6-7 from behind the arc, and was 13-17 from the floor.
Although one game should change our evaluation of a draft prospect, it's the type of performance that those of us paying attention to the 2013 WNBA Draft have probably been hoping to see more of throughout the season.
For more on the 2013 WNBA Draft, visit our draft prospects storystream. For more on Kentucky, visit A Sea of Blue's women's basketball section. For more on the tournament as a whole, check out our NCAA section.
ESPN's highlights from the Baylor Lady Bears' 85-47 blowout of the Florida State Seminoles in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: A'dia Mathies had 34 points, and Kentucky used a small first half run to take control of their second round NCAA tournament game, beating Dayton 84-70.
For MOAR hats, free drinks, bendy cheerleaders, redemption, and grabby hands, join your intrepid and clock-racing blogger after the jump.
Kentucky Wildcats guard A'dia Mathies went 0-for-5 from the field and had three rebounds in a 61-41 win over the Navy Midshipmen in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. In her recap of the game, Queenie described Mathies' performance as "...one of the most awful games I've ever seen from her."
The one thing that UK cannot afford is for Senior guard and Team Captain A'Dia Mathies to disappear again. After going scoreless in the opening round against Navy, UK had to find a way to get A'Dia out on Dayton early and often. Navy's game plan of denying Mathies the ball worked well against her, but the rest of the team picked up the slack. Counting on that happening twice is not a good strategy. Kentucky has scorers, of that, there is no doubt. Kentucky needs Mathies. She is the heart and soul of this team. Kentucky without A'Dia Mathies is a good team. Kentucky WITH A'Dia Mathies is a Final Four team.
Dayton coach Jim Jabir was disappointed with the way his team allowed St. John's to penetrate in the first round game and that should be one thing that Kentucky looks to exploit as well: attacking the basket instead of settling for jumpers.
norcalnick of California Golden Blogs summarized Clarendon's performance nicely - and what makes her a solid WNBA prospect - in his recap of the game.
She scored 27 points on 19 shots and punished USF for every defensive mistake. If they sagged off her (why would anybody do that?) she nailed a 3. If they played her tightly, she wove her way into the paint for a mid-range jumper or an assist. Her and-1 bank shot might have been the play of the game. Before the game I asked for her and Brittany Boyd to outplay the Smith twins. They did...With Layshia leading, everybody else played their part.
That last line is a great way to underscore what has made this team so special this season and what makes Clarendon a good candidate to contribute to a roster at the next level: she finds her spots on the court remarkably well, knows what she's capable of, rarely forces the action, and plays within the offense which allows her teammates to thrive even as she's dropping 27 on someone.
There's a lot to like there as a college starter and WNBA draft prospect.
Believe it or not, in comparison to some of the other upsets that have occurred, I'd consider this one among the more predictable ones primarily because the Nebraska Cornhuskers can be so unpredictable as described in our preview before the tournament.
And yet the players who stepped up for Nebraska in their 74-63 upset of Texas A&M tonight were hardly unpredictable, as described in a recap at SB Nation's Nebraska site Corn Nation by Jon Johnston.
The Huskers were down 14-6 early and battled back to tie the game at 16. Nebraska scored the next nine points and would lead the rest of the way as the closest Texas A&M came was a 32-30 score with 3:26 left in the first half... The Huskers were lead by Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore. Hooper had 21 points and while Moore added 20 points and 10 assists.
Nebraska will now move to the Sweet 16 where they will face either the Duke Blue Devils or Oklahoma State Cowgirls.
ESPN's highlights from the Baylor Lady Bears' 82-40 win over the Prairie View A&M Lady Panthers in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, which included another Brittney Griner dunk.
I'll let the tweets tell the story.
Dayton earns 96-90 win over St. John's in first double OT NCAA Tournament game since 2000.Flyers to play Kentucky on Tuesday.#A10WBB— Atlantic10Conference (@atlantic10) March 24, 2013
Nadirah McKenith fouled out of the game one rebound shy of a triple double #stjwbb— St. John's WBB (@STJ_WBasketball) March 24, 2013
Noooooo, please don't show Nadirah crying on the bench.I can't stand it.:(#MarchSadness— Shannon Cotterell (@SGC72) March 24, 2013
Thrills, milestones, the end of careers, and tears.
That's probably March Madness in a nutshell.
For more on the Bridgeport region - and how Kentucky advanced - check out our storystream.
Bob Knight discusses what impresses him about Baylor Lady Bears center Brittney Griner; Geno Auriemma likens her to UCLA men's basketball great Lew Alcindor.
Baylor obviously has one major star who everyone knows will be drafted (hint: she's tall), but what about their other seniors? Today we look at the draft chances of those other four players as well as other prospects to watch in the Oklahoma City bracket.
For the WNBA fans who haven't followed the NCAA women's college basketball season very closely, we'll do a bracket-by-bracket look at a few WNBA prospects in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Today we'll begin with the Bridgeport region; while you've probably heard something about the highly touted Elena Delle Donne, there are a few others worth keeping an eye on as well.
They always say, “It’s not how you start but how you finish” and the last few chapters in Kelsey Bone’s life have not just been a wonderful dream because of what she has accomplished, but in that she’s done it “her way”. Opening up the pages of history show how the results of today came from the pain of yesterday.
The Division I NCAA women's basketball tournament will start this Saturday on March 23. Many of the top seniors who are playing in the tournament will not only try to take their teams as far as they can and hopefully win it all on April 9 in New Orleans, but they also may be hoping to increase their draft stock to WNBA teams. However, in college basketball, there are four classes playing at any one time, and at least some think that the junior class, or in WNBA terms, the 2014 Draft class also consists of many players who may also be very effective at the next level. My question to you all: Is this 2013 Draft Class deeper than next year's 2014 Draft Class?
Throughout the 2012-13 women's NCAA Division I basketball season, we've discussed a number of players around the site that could eventually make it in the WNBA. With the college season coming to a close, the following is just a list of players we've focused on thus far in one way or another. You can see more on the players we've been discussing this season in our WNBA Draft prospects storystream.
After Syracuse center Kayla Alexander's dominant performance against Villanova, coach Quentin Hillsman briefly commented on the importance of him figuring out how to fully utilize her talent.
We had a good showing in last Sunday's open thread in regards to what you thought about the top of the 2013 Draft class. Though the "media" wants you to believe that there are three game changers and impact players in this draft, many, if not most of you believed that this class was more of a Big Two if not a Big One class featuring the woman, the myth, the legend: Brittney Griner. Regardless, there are going to be 33 additional players drafted after the "Big Three" and the media believes this will be a deeper than usual draft, which indicates that there may be some additional players who may also provide a significant impact on the right team. Which players who aren't part of this chosen "Big Three" have a shot to become impact players?
The Princeton women's basketball team will celebrate their historic senior class this weekend with a chance to win its fourth consecutive outright Ivy League title with a pair of wins. Niveen Rasheed is a 6'0" senior guard and co-captain for the 19-6 Tigers. She is from Danville, California. She recently answered a few questions about her career and professional basketball aspirations. (Rasheed is also discussed at the 17:30 mark in the video above.)
Greg Alan Edwards of SB Nation's A Sea of Blue looked back on star guard A'Dia Mathies' season and career the other day after she was named SEC Co-Player of the Year along with Meighan Simmons of Tennessee.
While Mathies has had something of an up and down year, Edwards explains why what might have been considered "disappearing" might not have been all that bad.
A'Dia knew that she could score when she wanted to, she could pad her stats and make herself look great to the writers and awards groups out there, and she would be raising her draft stock the entire time. And her team would have failed...All the while A'Dia kept picking and choosing her places to shine while also involving all of her teammates in the games. Matthew Mitchell's Forty Minutes game is not easy to play. It looks like chaos, but it takes patience. You have to know who to attack and when. You have to know when to run and when to choke teams off before they even reach the half-court line. That's where Mathies made her name this season.
Highlights from Arizona Wildcats guard Davellyn Whyte's triple-double against the Arizona State Sun Devils in mid-February.
Jenny Ryan as well as teammate Kate Thompson earned All Big-Ten honors for the first time in their careers, marking the first time in over a decade that a pair of Michigan Wolverines have received conference honors in a season in which the team has made huge strides themselves.
Highlights from Baylor Lady Bears senior Brittney Griner's 50-point performance, including a one-handed dunk, in a 90-68 win over the Kansas State Wildcats on Senior Night in Waco, TX.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Skylar Diggins' post-game interview with ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo after a 96-87 win over the Connecticut Huskies tonight.
The Big Ten Network recently had a feature on the Penn State Lady Lions' dynamic backcourt duo Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas with a focus on how their relationship has progressed over the years as they've learned to share the court and lead the team to success.
Highlights from Baylor Lady Bears star Brittney Griner's fifth career triple-double.
In his Senior Day preview of the Kentucky Wildcats hosting the Tennessee Lady Vols, Greg Alan Edwards of SB Nation's Kentucky site A Sea of Blue pays tribute to each of the seniors, including A'Dia Mathies and her impressive standing in the Wildcats program.
The day she signed her Letter of Intent to come to Kentucky over her hometown Louisville squad, this program changed. The die was cast that she would be the one to lead UK from mediocrity to excellence.
Overall this season, Mathies leads Kentucky in scoring and ranks second in the SEC averaging 18.3 points per game. As the preseason SEC Player of the Year, Mathies currently ranks in the top 15 of six SEC statistical categories, including second in scoring (18.3) and 3-point field goal percentage (.443), and third in 3-point field goals made (2.3). She also ranks No. 2 in scoring and No. 3 in steals. She is the first player in Kentucky history (men or women), to accumulate over 1,800 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 250 steals in her career. Mathies needs just one more steal to become the third player in school history with 300 or more and 10 more to tie the UK steals record of 309 set by Stacey Reed (1991-95).
So what does that mean for her WNBA draft chances? Discuss in our WNBA draft open thread.
For more draft analysis, check out our 2013 WNBA draft prospects storystream.
With some conference basketball tourneys coming up later this week and with the NCAA Tournament on the horizon, this gives college basketball's top seniors a chance to give their last, and hopefully their best impressions on WNBA teams in regards to their draft status. There's been plenty of talk by the league that this is a draft headlined with three game changing draft prospects: Baylor center Brittney Griner, Delaware forward Elena Delle Donne, and Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins. However, is this draft class really a headlined by "Big Three", or are there more or less prospects who figure to be game changers or impact players in the WNBA this season?
John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant reported yesterday on Connecticut Huskies guard Kelly Faris hitting a milestone yesterday that is shared only with former Husky great Maya Moore.
With her six rebounds Saturday, Kelly Faris joined Maya Moore as the only two players in UConn women's basketball history to score at least 1,000 points with 750 rebounds, 500 assists and 250 steals.
And although she maintains in the article that stats aren't of concern to her, her statistics actually cast her in a pretty favorable light as a WNBA draft prospect as described a couple of weeks ago.
For more analysis of draft prospects, check out our 2013 WNBA draft storystream.
After helping the California Golden Bears to a riveting victory over the Oregon State Beavers on Senior Day, senior guard Layshia Clarendon has been named a candidate for the Naismith National Player of the Year award. Swish Appeal had the opportunity to interview the star guard about her rise to the point she's at now, how she responded to the low points in her career, and, of course, her hair.
The highlight video from Notre Dame Athletics of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish's 79-68 win over the Syracuse Orange on Tuesday night.
The Pac-12 Networks highlight package of Cal's win over Oregon State, featuring clips of Layshia Clarendon coming off screens and shooting off the dribble.
The California Golden Bears managed to fight their way back from a 17-point first half deficit to beat the Oregon State Beavers 58-56 in front of a home crowd ready to celebrate their seniors on Senior Day.
A few Swish Appeal regulars were at the game sitting with folks from SB Nation's California Golden Blogs, so for now we'll defer to norcalnick for a summary of the action and a brief assessment of how important senior guard Layshia Clarendon was
...the reason that Layshia Clarendon is the MVP of this team is because when nothing else is working, they can give her the ball and she will go to work.
I've never seen Cal just hand her the ball and let her break down the offense herself so frequently. But it was absolutely the right decision. She finished with 26 points, 18 of them coming in the second half when the offense was "give the ball to Layshia, set a screen, and maybe grab a rebound if Layshia actually misses." It worked to perfection.
After the game there was an absolutely outstanding Senior Day ceremony at Memorial Stadium's University Club, which included beautiful video tributes to Cal's four seniors (and free food, which was awfully tasty). We'll have more on the game and the post-game ceremony later.
For more on Cal, visit CGB's women's basketball section.
Congratulations Tianna! twitter.com/BrendaFrese/st…— Brenda Frese (@BrendaFrese) February 22, 2013
Prior to the 2012-13 NCAA women's basketball season, a few of us on the Swish Appeal team came up with a list of 13 NCAA Division I players whose development we would watch closely as 2013 WNBA draft prospects. Yesterday, we checked in briefly on some of the guards on that list. Today, we look at some of few of the interior players on that list beyond Baylor superstar Brittney Griner. For more on the 2013 WNBA draft, visit our draft prospects storystream.
Prior to the 2012-13 NCAA women's basketball season, a few of us on the Swish Appeal team came up with a list of 13 NCAA Division I players whose development we would watch closely as 2013 WNBA draft prospects. This week we check in briefly on some of the guards on that list to get a better sense what's available in the draft. For more on the 2013 WNBA draft, visit our draft prospects storystream.
Last week, we looked at a few factors that contribute to the success of NCAA mid-major WNBA draft prospects. Today, we apply what we gained from looking at the past five years of mid-major prospects to the 2013 WNBA draft: Which players are worth keeping an eye on? For more on the 2013 WNBA draft, check out our 2013 draft prospects storystream.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: Cincinnati got off to an 8-0 start, but then the Red Storm's Nadirah McKenith went on an 11-2 run to spark St. John's to a 75-46 win. McKenith finished with 20 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. Cincinnati was led by 12 points from Jeanise Randolph.
For concentrated awesomeness, pinkness, ducks, and warm and fuzzies, join your intrepid and musophobic blogger after the jump (oh GOD what is that noise behind the couch).
Not only did Maryland's star senior refuse to let herself have two bad games in a row, she had her second best scoring outing of the season.
As described by Ryan Dunleavy at the Scarlett Scuttlebutt blog, Rutgers Scarlet Knights post Monqiue Oliver played only five minutes in a heartbreaking 60-57 loss to the DePaul Blue Demons last night that cost legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer her 900th win.
It's just the latest episode in a season of "disappointing" post play for Rutgers, which was documented recently by Dave Hutchinson of the Star Ledger.
Oliver, slowed by an ankle bruise suffered on Dec. 30 against Tennessee, has averaged just 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 15.6 minutes in six games since the injury. She sat out one game, has come off the bench in the past three and didn't play down the stretch against Seton Hall.
Before the injury, Oliver, who hurt her Achilles early in the season, averaged 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in 25.6 minutes in the first 10 games.
Oliver was one of the 13 players that made our preseason 2013 WNBA draft prospect list due to her offensive rebounding numbers from her junior season, but it's becoming increasing unclear what to make of her as injuries have hampered her ability to contribute.
For more on Oliver and other 2013 WNBA draft prospects, check out our draft storystream.
One of the things that stood out about the Maryland Terrapins' 71-56 loss to the Duke Blue Devils on ESPN2 was how top 2013 WNBA draft prospect Tianna Hawkins struggled. (Updated at 11 p.m. PST.)
Greg Alan Edwards of SB Nation's Kentucky Wildcats site was among A'dia Mathies' harshest critics earlier this season. But yesterday he gave credit where credit was due after Mathies' impressive performance in a 75-53 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores.
A'dia Mathies has officially come into her own in her Senior year. I was vocal and persistent in criticizing her when SEC play started, and I believe it was justified. However, when she made up her mind that she was going to get back to leading this team, she has come on full bore. Game Ball. 28 points on 10-17 shooting, 5-9 from the arc, and 3-3 from the line will get you a win from A'Dia every time. She started out hot, and got even better as the Cats jumped on her back and rode all the way to the win.
During a Q&A with Al Willman of the Eastern Echo, former Kansas Jayhawks assistant and current Eastern Michigan Eagles head coach Tory Verdi suggested that 6'3" Jayhawks post Carolyn Davis will be selected in the first round.
Moving on to the University of Kansas, being part of a program that really needed help taking that next step and within our second year we made it to the Sweet 16, and having the opportunity to coach Carolyn Davis who is on the Waite Trophy watch list and also an All-American, so I had that opportunity to help coach her up as well. She'll be selected in the first round of the WNBA draft this year as well.
Davis has certainly been on our radar since before this season but was noted as having a statistical red flag: a low offensive rebounding percentage during her junior year before tearing her ACL. Surely Davis will be in the first round conversation as a big who's an efficient scorer, but thus far this season she's still outside of the top 15 in the Big 12 in offensive rebounding.
But setting that aside, one of the things that really stands out about this draft if you look at in terms of tiers is that there are maybe a handful of elite prospects (if we're generous in how we define "elite") but it still seems extremely difficult to determine what the draft will look like after the top three picks much less narrow down a list of first round locks.
For more of our ongoing analysis of 2013 WNBA Draft prospects, check out our 2013 draft storystream.
Last week, Clay Kallam of Full Court Press took a look at some of the prospects we've been watching this season and made some key points about the top players after the highly touted "big three":
...from this perspective, the Washington Mystics will probably have to settle for Maryland's Tianna Hawkins (who sadly does a lot of the things Crystal Langhorne already does), and after that, it's just guesswork.
Can Tayler Hill do more than shoot? Despite her 20.6 ppg, Ohio State has been one of the most disappointing teams in the country, and the 5-10 guard has more turnovers than assists. Her game might translate well into the WNBA, but then again a smallish two guard who doesn't handle and has defensive questions might never break into a starting lineup.
And speaking of small, Angel Goodrich (Kansas) is a pure point guard, but is generously listed at 5-4 and shoots just 36.5% from the field. Markel Walker (UCLA) has the size (6-2), but does she have the quickness? Toni Young (Oklahoma State) and Chelsea Poppens (Iowa State) have a shot, and Kelly Faris (UConn) can defend at a very high level.
Although this has been touted as an especially deep draft, closer scrutiny of the prospects throughout this season really has revealed that after the top three or four there will be a lot of guesswork involved for WNBA general managers for this draft.
For more of Kallam's thoughts on the WNBA offseason, check out the rest of his article at Full Court Press. For more of our ongoing analysis of 2013 WNBA Draft prospects, check out our 2013 draft storystream.
The California Golden Bears' ability to dominate the post offensively was ultimately the dominant feature of their win against the Kansas Jayhawks last night, but there was an interesting story on the defensive side of the ball as well. For more on this game, check out our Cal-Kansas storystream.
Star forward Elena Delle Donne is expected to be back in the lineup for the Delaware Blue Hens tonight against the Maryland Terrapins after missing all but one game so far this season, according to a report by Kevin Tresolini of The News Journal.
The best medicine, Elena Delle Donne suggested Wednesday, may be a heavy dose of competitive basketball tonight...Delle Donne has been blue herself of late. She has battled flu-like symptoms caused by the vestiges of Lyme Disease, but plans to play just her second game this season and first since Nov. 20 tonight.
The Delaware athletics site is showing that Delle Donne's return to action will be in front of a sell out crowd, which is hoping for a win to avenge a loss last year.
In last season's meeting in College Park, Delle Donne had game-highs of 32 points, 3 blocks, and 3 steals in 40 minutes of action.
For more on this game, check out our Delaware-Maryland storystream.
Success and leadership go hand in hand. So when one looks at the early success that Colorado has garnered at 9-0, look no further than the Buffaloes top two leaders: Head Coach Linda Lappe and star guard Chucky Jeffery. For more on the game, check out the recap from the weekend at SB Nation's Ralphie Report.
Greg Alan Edwards of SB Nation's Kentucky site A Sea of Blue has been watching A'Dia Mathies closely this season and after yet another quiet performance against Middle Tennessee State University on Sunday - 7 points on 2-for-6 shooting and 5 fouls - he made a few observations that are relevant to Mathies' WNBA potential.
Although he notes that Mathies is leading the team in scoring average this season, it's the way she's gotten those points that he's most concerned about.
FG% 39.1 That's offensive in Mitchell's layup-oriented offense, and she is next to last on the team. Ft% .682 which is bad enough, but she is not getting to the line either. She is only 3rd in FT attempts. For a slasher and driver in the lane like A'Dia, it's less than stellar, way less. She has also fouled out of 2 of the 9 games that UK has played. The cold hard truth is that A'Dia is off her game, way off and it does not appear to be getting any better.
From a WNBA perspective, the most alarming thing for Mathies - whose college style of play projects to a scorer in the pros - is her shooting efficiency. Mathies' 2-point percentage (42.14%) is significantly below the rate of successful prospects in the past. Even if she was an elite 3-point shooter, the fact that she gets to the free throw line at such a low rate (20%) essentially casts her as an inefficient jump shooter.
Mathies' athleticism will keep her on draft radars and make her an attractive prospect - particularly for a team interested in her defensive potential that stands out when watching her (fouls notwithstanding) - but the early returns make you ask exactly what Edwards has: "Where's A'Dia?"
Even if a team were to come into Waco, Texas knowing exactly how to stop the Baylor Lady Bears, the challenge is actually executing that game plan.
And the bottom line is that the Kentucky Wildcats simply did not execute and ultimately got routed 85-51 in a game that actually managed to look worse than the final score suggests because Brittney Griner was able to take a rest well before the game was over.
Greg Alan Edwards of SB Nation's A Sea of Blue had harsh words for both the Wildcats team and their star A'dia Mathies in his post-mortem.
Unfortunately for UK, A'dia disappeared early in the game and was never a factor before fouling out with 5:20 left in the second half. None of her 12 points ever came at an opportune time, and defensively she looked more like the freshman A'dia Mathies than the Senior leader of the UK Hoops squad...A'dia simply does not have the luxury of taking a night off. And tonight, she really never showed up. Her assist came in the second half when the game was already over and her night was almost done.You have to credit Baylor's Sims. She played Mathies like a harp.
Although Baylor might really just be that good, it was not at all a good showing for Kentucky or their star player who some consider to be a top WNBA draft prospect.
The second annual Carrier Classic will feature a matchup between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Ohio State Buckeyes women's basketball teams on Friday at 4 p.m. EDT on NBC Sports Network. Not only does the game help raise the profile of women's basketball - while showcasing a couple of top 2013 WNBA draft prospects - but also the critical role of women in the military. For more information on the game, visit the official Carrier Classic website.
The Iowa State Cyclones enter the 2012-13 season just outside the top 25 rankings.
If they want to move up, senior forward Chelsea Poppens will be a large part of that.
Cody Westerlund of the Ames Tribune put together a great feature article on the 6-foot-2 senior over the weekend, highlighting both her biggest strength and the weakness she'll have to overcome in order to be even more productive for the Cyclones.
Notably, Poppens accomplished all her work in just 26.8 minutes per game, a paltry number for a star player on a team that didn't rout opponents, because she was often in foul trouble. That she so often drew the ire of the referee's whistle isn't pleasing to Fennelly...Flanigan, the Aplington-Parkersburg coach, can’t say he didn’t see it coming either, considering how she went about practice all her life.
"I remember doing rebounding drills, and she would just be killing people," says Flanigan, who follows Poppens and the Cyclones closely. "She’d get every rebound. I’d have to do some drills without her included, for her safety and everybody else’s. Not because she was out of control but because she was, ‘I’m going to get the ball at any cost.’"
Ask most anyone, and that willpower is the one trait that’s allowed Poppens to be successful throughout her Iowa State career, during which she’s played in 96 of a possible 97 games, starting 83 of them. She’s a quality athlete, strong and fundamentally sound at 6-foot-2, but in no way is she remarkably athletic.
It's an in-depth article with plenty of great information to digest, but that section in particular really stood out because it pretty much sums up Poppens' profile as a 2013 WNBA draft prospect - a relentless rebounder, which bodes well for a WNBA draft prospect but isn't remarkably athletic and has some concerns about foul trouble and turnovers that she could probably stand to improve upon if she wants to be successful at the next level.
While the article addresses Poppens and her role in the team's success - which reflects their experience on the frontline - their guard situation is a little shakier, as alluded to earlier today on the @CycloneWBB twitter account.
On Kidd: "She needs to give us some scoring and we obviously need another ball handler. And like most FR she needs to learn defense isn't...— Cyclone Basketball (@CycloneWBB) November 5, 2012
.....just something you do until you get the ball back."— Cyclone Basketball (@CycloneWBB) November 5, 2012
Having looked at indicators of a successful transition from college to the WNBA yesterday, today we look at the other end of things: what are the risk factors for an unsuccessful WNBA Draft prospect?
With James Bowman continuing his look at the top women's college basketball programs this week, I'm going to start officially looking ahead to the 2013 WNBA Draft for the remainder of the week. We'll begin today with a look at what NCAA Division I statistics suggest a player has the talent to make it as a pro, as we began to discuss previously.
During yesterday's visit to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, the projected top three prospects for the 2013 WNBA Draft discussed what they plan to work on in their senior years and the qualities they believe they all share.
During a visit to ESPN's campus, Delaware forward Elena Delle Donne revealed where she would like to land in the WNBA.
For more on the 2013 WNBA Draft, check out the storystream menu bar on the right side of this page.
For more on the 2013 WNBA Draft, check out the storystream menu bar on the right side of this page.
Kara Lawson, Connecticut Sun veteran guard, is preparing for the WNBA playoffs. But as she does, there is no doubt that she'll have her nose to the ground to see who will pick up the top pick in the 2013 WNBA draft. Not due to the fact that she'll have to face off with this incoming crop of newcomers on the court, but also because she'll be analyzing their games throughout the season for ESPN.
With prospects that have the women's basketball world buzzing already about the depth and breadth of talent, it's no surprise that Lawson is touting this draft class as one of the best. But one particular woman that Lawson - and most everyone - has their eye on is none other than Baylor senior center Brittney Griner.
"This class is very, very good. Obviously, Brittney Griner is going to make things very difficult for all players - how much she's going to change things defensively with her length, and just with her athleticism," Lawson said in a WNBA playoff teleconference on Sept. 24. "This class has the ability to be right up there with some of the best classes to come in."
The four teams that will be looking for the ping pong balls to find favor on the franchise are the Washington Mystics, Phoenix Sun, Tulsa Shock and Chicago Sky. Along with Griner, there are two already touted prospects receiving the majority of the hype in Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins and Delaware's Elena Delle Donne.
"But Griner to me, specifically stands out," Lawson continued. "You can just put her anywhere and she's going to have a huge impact and a huge ability to transform a team. If she goes to a city that maybe hasn't been getting as great support, I think she maybe has the opportunity to transform that community in terms of women's basketball and getting people out to watch games."
Lawson, who's in her 10th season of the WNBA, began her "offseason" career at the network in 2004 with a particular focus on NCAA basketball. She'll be sure to have an opportunity to comment on Griner's game on-air, as the Baylor Lady Bears are slated to appear on ESPN for five games in the upcoming season.
But before her analyzing can begin, her squad will face off with the New York Liberty in the Eastern Conference Semifinals beginning Friday. She is in the midst of her most productive season as a pro, contributing 15.1 points, 4.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds a game for the Sun, all career-high averages.
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