2014 WNBA Draft prospects in the NCAA Tournament: Louisville region

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

A look at a few WNBA prospects from the Louisville region in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Both of the games in the Louisville region this weekend will feature a set of WNBA prospects, some of whom we've discussed and some who we've had an eye on and haven't yet mentioned.

Today we'll cover three of the talents we haven't discussed before - if there are others in this region who you think deserve a look in the WNBA, feel free to let us know which.

Prospects we've discussed previously

#1 Tennessee

Meighan Simmons, G

#2 West Virginia

Asya Bussie, C

#3 Louisville

Shoni Schimmel, G

#4 Maryland

Alyssa Thomas, F

#9 Southern California

Cassie Harberts, F

#10 Georgia Tech

Tyaunna Marshall, G

Prospects we haven't discussed

Alicia DeVaughn, F (6'4", Maryland)

Let me begin by saying this about DeVaughn: there are players currently in the WNBA who had less going for them than she does statistically.

As a long, athletic, 6-foot-4 player, she has the physical tools to compete with the elite. Her team-high 14.95% offensive rebounding percentage gives her one clear WNBA skill and one that tends to transfer from college to the pros very well. Her 64.23% true shooting percentage is not only a team-high (of anyone playing more than five minutes per game), but also one of the top 20 in the nation. Just the other night, Todd Carton of SB Nation's Testudo Times credited DeVaughn (among others) for her defensive effort in the second round against a solid Texas front line.

Those numbers alone suggest a player who could fit in with an uptempo team that wants a player to run the floor and defend or a slower-paced team who wants a player to come in off the bench and rebound. But we also can't ignore some obvious statistical weaknesses.

Her scoring efficiency is tempered by the fact that she has a below average usage rate of just 16.6%. Her turnover rate of 18.9% is high enough to wonder whether she can control the ball effectively against quicker, more athletic WNBA defenders. Defensively, her personal foul efficiency (steals + blocks / personal fouls) of 0.60 is very low for a prospect.

Despite the shortcomings though, DeVaughn is an interesting prospect: she's one of those players who's athletic athletic enough to outperform her weaker numbers and possibly a victim of playing with a dominant star in Alyssa Thomas.

Will she get drafted? Perhaps not - as someone who only played 20 minutes per game, it might be hard for her to even get noticed (though it's worth noting that Tennessee's Vicki Baugh and former teammate Lynetta Kizer did both get drafted after playing under 25 minutes in their senior years). But could she make an impact in a training camp? Interestingly, her closest similarities to past prospects are former 6-foot-4 Terrapin Laura Harper and the 6-foot-4 Baugh, who had two knee surgeries during her college career. Both Baugh and Harper were outstanding rebounders and efficient scorers who had marginal personal foul efficiencies and almost equivalent pure point ratings. If we take the optimistic view, it's not a stretch to project DeVaughn as something of a fringe player who could compete for a roster spot in the right situation.

Theresa Plaisance, F/C (6'5", LSU)

Plaisance is a player who we almost put on our preseason watch list.

James had her squarely in the top 10 based on his draft rater using her junior season statistics, M Robinson suggested her as a possibility based on her selection to the World University Games, and I had her as a more suspect prospect due to a few red flags.

As the season wore on, not much changed in terms of her getting mixed reviews: M Robinson witnessed moments of brilliance against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament; Queenie was left relatively unimpressed after two games in the Barclays Center Invitational, but also summed up the combined sentiment of all of our observations nicely after an ugly win against Rutgers:

Theresa Plaisance missed entirely too many easy shots for a player of her size. A 6-5 post player should not be throwing hooks over the basket. When she got her shot, it was beautiful, and she had spectacular speed on her first step spin move. But she needs to be consistent if she's going to be a serious prospect.

Queenie's description actually serves as a concise summary of her statistical profile in layman's terms.

Her positives are probably obvious: she's a very skilled post who shoots 36.9% from three point range and holds her own on the boards (a 10.24% offensive rebounding percentage is a definite plus given how much time she spends on the perimeter), which makes her an outstanding candidate for a big stretch four in the WNBA.

The problem is that the statistical positives really end there.

Consistent with what Queenie deserved, she's a very inefficient scorer for a 6-foot-5 player as skilled as she is: a 44.8% 2-point percentage and 51.43% true shooting percentage are very low, even for a player who's perimeter oriented. Although she's a solid free throw shooter, she doesn't get to free throw line very often for someone of her size (36.27% free throw rate) - again, part of that low free throw rate is directly related to her perimeter scoring ability, but it makes it that much more difficult to figure out where she stands. Last, as skill a passer as she is, averaging less than an assist per game gives her a very low pure point rating of -6.48.

Ultimately, I'm not sure that any player in this draft is more of a wild card than Plaisance: her strengths (three point shooting and rebounding at 6-foot-5) might be enough to a) get her drafted and b) make a roster; her weaknesses make it difficult to even project her as a draft-worthy prospect. That means there isn't really much we can say about Plaisance as a prospect generally - her WNBA future will depend almost entirely on who drafts her and whether they can carve out a role in their offense that maximizes her strengths.

Asia Taylor, F (6'1", Louisville)

Taylor is one of a surprisingly large group of 6-foot-1 to 6-foot-3 forwards who are on the positive side of the "tweener label": the size of a smaller college power forward with strong enough perimeter skills to start as a college small forward. Taylor could be considered one of them, though she's more of a power forward who played limited time at the small forward spot while teammate Antonita Slaughter was out due to health reasons (and Slaughter's 37.1% three point shooting might earn her a look from WNBA teams). Making that transition from the college power forward to the pro small forward might be difficult, but she has already started making that transition and might have the athleticism to pull it off.

The problem is that her numbers don't exactly project her as a strong WNBA wing prospect.

Her 11.94% offensive rebounding percentage is strong for a player her size and her 56.7% free throw rate are outstanding numbers for a physical perimeter player. But her 49.61% 2-point percentage might look better if he had played the wing full-time and the fact that she has made just five threes in four years of play doesn't help her case as a pro wing. That she's also a rather turnover-prone player with a -4.24 pure point rating doesn't inspire much confidence in her ability to handle the ball on the wing.

Overall, Taylor might project as something more of a project than a strong prospect - she might have the tools to develop into a productive contributor at the WNBA level despite being a bit of a tweener.

For more on these and other WNBA prospects, check out our 2014 WNBA Draft prospect watch storystream.

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