From now until the WNBA draft on April 11, 2011, Swish Appeal will be providing you with information, quotes and audio clips on some of the top prospects. We hope you enjoy them, and they help you prepare for the new crop of WNBA players entering the league this summer!
In organizing these prospect profiles for Swish Appeal, it just didn't seem right to separate the two Stanford seniors that came in together, made historic runs through the Pac 10, made four Final Fours together, and are entering the WNBA together. Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer said of her seniors (including Melanie Murphy), "They worked hard. They dedicated themselves and committed themselves to this team and this program, and I can't say enough positive things about them and what they've brought to Stanford and how proud I am of them. I think coming to the Final Four is an awesome accomplishment. What they've accomplished...again, I'm so proud of them. They're warriors and I love coaching them and I love them as people."
Kayla Pedersen, at 6'4", is one of the most versatile players in the draft. She has the ability to bang inside, but is just as comfortable on the perimeter where she can use her range and ball handling skills. She has played the 4, 3 and 2 positions at Stanford.
Jeanette Pohlen came in as a role player, and is leaving as Pac 10 player of the year. A 6'0 guard, she was forced out of necessity to play the point at Stanford, and became quite adept at the position. Her three point shooting is exceptional though, and it will be interesting to see exactly where she will play at the 1 or 2 in the WNBA.
STATISTICAL STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
- Averaged 12.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per game this season, playing mostly on the perimeter
- Averaged 3.5 assists per game
- Missed 1 game through her entire four year career at Stanford
- Has won 3 gold medals for USA basketball and played with the USA Select team last spring vs. USA Senior national team
- All Pac-10 all four years, scholar athlete of the year in Pac 10
- Only made 26% of three-point shots this season
- Averaged 14.5 points and 4.8 assists per game
- Shot 43.6% from the floor, but shot 41.7% from three-point range
- Near 90% foul shooter
- AP, USBWA and John Wooden Award All-American teams
- Career high 31 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists as Stanford ended UConn's 90 game win streak
- Assist-turnover ratio of only 1.5 and noticeably struggled against the pressure of Texas A&M in the Final Four
STRAIGHT FROM THE PLAYER'S MOUTH
When you are drafting a Stanford product, you know you are getting a smart, high character, player. Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen were captains this year, and I talked to Kayla about being a senior leader, and helping Chiney Ogwumike adjust to playing Kayla's "old position".
Part of that also, of course, was Kayla learning to play another new position, her 3rd in her college years. She discussed learning to play the guard spot this year, and the flexibility it brings to her game.
Jeanette really increased her scoring output this year, and the confidence she had in taking the open shot was easy to see. She discussed the difference in her "scorer's mentality" this year.
One criticism you always seem to hear about the Stanford players is the lack of foot speed. Jeanette and I talked about the perception, and how they use it to their advantage.
On to the WNBA for both Kayla and Jeanette, and Jeanette talked about wanting to continue her career, and who her favorite WNBA players are.
WHAT THE COACHES SAY
Kelly Graves of Gonzaga had the misfortune of playing Stanford twice this season. In November they almost beat the Cardinal before falling 84-78, and then Stanford ended Gonzaga's season 83-60 in the tournament. I talked to Coach Graves about both Kayla and Jeanette.
FROM ELSEWHERE ON THE 'NET
A video tribute to the 2010-11 Stanford Seniors
WHAT THE BROADCASTERS SAY
ESPN and Stanford announcer Rosalyn Gold-Onwude knows about Pedersen and Pohlen both as a former teammate and now a broadcaster. She has seen them evolve from freshman year through the end of their college years. Ros and I discussed each of them individually.