The 2009 WNBA Draft was April 9. There didn't seem to be a clear absolute superstar considered a lock to be selected first this year, so there was plenty of interest to see what went down. And here's how the WNBA draft unfolded:
2009 WNBA DRAFT REVIEW
Angel McCoughtry, Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver were selected with the first three picks of the 2009 WNBA Draft.
The Atlanta Dream selected McCoughtry with the first overall pick of the draft. The Washington Mystics used the second pick to draft Marissa Coleman, the Chicago Sky selected Kristi Toliver with the third pick, the Minnesota Lynx picked Renee Montgomery fourth and the Phoenix Mercury chose DeWanna Bonner to round out the first five selections.
McCoughtry enters the WNBA after leading the Louisville Cardinals to their first-ever NCAA Championship game against Connecticut after which she was named to the Final Four All-Tournament Team. She wrapped up her college career as the Louisville’s all-time leading scorer among both men and women while also becoming the top rebounder in the school’s women’s basketball history. Over her four-year career, she was named a three-time Associated Press All-America selection, two-time WBCA/State Farm All-America selection and the Big East Player of the Year in 2007.
“I’m thrilled to be selected by Atlanta because it’s a great city,” said McCoughtry. “I’m ready to get to work. I’m looking forward to helping this team get some wins and hopefully win a WNBA Championship. To be selected No. 1 is very humbling.”
Maryland teammates Coleman and Toliver were selected consecutively with the second and third picks, marking the first time teammates were drafted back-to-back in the first five picks since Connecticut’s Sue Bird (No. 1) and Swin Cash (No. 2) in the 2002 draft. As freshmen, the Terrapin tandem won the NCAA National Championship in 2006. Coleman wrapped up her Maryland career with over 2,000 points and more than 1,000 rebounds while Toliver was a two-time WBCA/State Farm and Associated Press All-America selection.
“This is the moment that I’ve always dreamed about, playing at the highest level with the best players in the world,” said Coleman.
“I’m so excited I can’t put it into words,” said Toliver. “I’m kind of coming back to earth now, I was on cloud nine. I just talked to Coach Steve Key and he seems like a great guy. He’s welcomed me with open arms. I’m just really excited about the next level.”
Courtney and Ashley Paris became the fourth pair of sisters and the third pair of twins to be drafted in the same year. Connecticut guard and member of the 2009 NCAA Champion Connecticut Huskies Renee Montgomery was drafted fourth overall by the Minnesota Lynx.
2009 WNBA DRAFT RESULTS
WNBA DRAFT: FIRST ROUND
1) Atlanta Dream Angel McCoughtry
2) Washington Mystics Marissa Coleman
3) Chicago Sky Kristi Toliver
4) Minnesota Lynx Renee Montgomery
5) Phoenix Mercury DeWanna Bonner
6) Indiana Fever Briann January
7) Sacramento Monarchs Courtney Paris
8) New York Liberty Kia Vaughn
9) Minnesota Lynx (from Los Angeles via Washington) Quanitra Hollingsworth
10) Connecticut Sun Chante Black
11) Detroit Shock Shavonte Zellous
12) Seattle Storm Ashley Walker
13) Los Angeles Sparks (from San Antonio via Atlanta) Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton
WNBA DRAFT: SECOND ROUND
14) San Antonio Silver Stars (from Atlanta) Megan Frazee
15) Minnesota Lynx (from Washington) Rashanda McCants
16) Chicago Sky Danielle Gant
17) Connecticut Sun Lyndra Littles
18) Detroit Shock (from Phoenix via Atlanta) Britany Miller
19) Indiana Fever Christina Wirth
20) Sacramento Monarchs Whitney Boddie
21) New York Liberty Abby Waner
22) Los Angeles Sparks Ashley Paris
23) Washington Mystics (from Connecticut via Minnesota) Camille LeNoir
24) Washington Mystics (from Detroit) Jelena Milovanovic
25) Atlanta Dream (from Seattle) Shalee Lehning
26) San Antonio Silver Stars Sonja Petrovic
WNBA DRAFT: THIRD ROUND
27) Atlanta Dream Jessica Morrow
28) Washington Mystics Josephine Owino
29) Chicago Sky Jennifer Risper
30) Minnesota Lynx Emily Fox
31) Phoenix Mercury Sha Brooks
32) Indiana Fever Danielle Campbell
33) Sacramento Monarchs Morgan Warburton
34) Phoenix Mercury (from New York) Jessica Adair
35) Los Angeles Sparks Britney Jordan
36) Connecticut Sun Alba Torrens
37) Detroit Shock Tanae Davis-Cain
38) Seattle Storm Mara Freshour
39) San Antonio Silver Stars Candyce Bingham
GENERAL 2009 WNBA DRAFT PLAYER PROSPECT NOTES
From before the actual WNBA draft happened
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Angel McCoughtry led the nation in steals this past season among Division I players with 4.2 steals per game (164 total steals).
GETTING OFFENSIVE: Angel McCoughtry ranked fourth in the nation in scoring this past season among Division I players with 23.1 points per game (901 total points). Shavonte Zellous ranked sixth at 22.6 points per game (747) while DeWanna Bonner ranked eighth at 21.1 points per game (716).
THE DISH NETWORK: Whitney Boddie and Shalee Lehning ranked first and second among all Division I players in assists. Boddie led the nation with 7.9 assists per game (262 total), while Lehning passed out 7.6 assists per game (229).
ATTENDING DRAFT FROM LONG DISTANCE: Chante Black’s mother, Mazie, will travel quite a long distance in getting to the 2009 WNBA Draft – nearly 6,000 miles. Mazie, who teaches fifth grade English to students in Saudi Arabia, is expected to be in attendance at the Draft - marking just the second time in two years that she has been able to come back and see her daughter. A basketball player herself at West Virginia State University, Mazie was first stationed in Saudi Arabia with the Army during Operation Desert Storm.
HEY REF: Kristi Toliver’s father, George, served as an NBA referee for more than a decade and now serves as the supervisor of officials for the D-League.
COLLEGE COACHES AT DRAFT:
Many of the top prospects’ collegiate head coaches are expected to be in attendance at the 2009 WNBA Draft, including Joanne McCallie (Duke), Nell Fortner (Auburn), Brenda Frese (Maryland), Jeff Walz (Louisville), Geno Auriemma (Connecticut), Sherri Coale (Oklahoma) and Joanne Boyle (California).
THIS YEAR’S CP3: Courtney Paris leaves Oklahoma with quite a legacy: the only four-time All-American in women's college basketball, an NCAA-record 112 consecutive double-doubles and the most rebounds in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history among many other accolades. She also became the only player in NCAA history – men or women – to record 2500 points and 2000 rebounds in a career.
FEELING A DRAFT IN HER OWN BACKYARD: Kia Vaughn hails from the Bronx and attended St. Michael’s Academy before starring at Rutgers for the last four seasons.
ANOTHER NAPERVILLE PRODUCT: Last year’s top draft pick, Candace Parker, grew up in Naperville, Ill. Another potential pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft also hails from Naperville – Purdue’s Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton.
JERSEY RETIRED/DRAFT IN JERSEY FOR MONTGOMERY: On Feb. 16, 2009, Renee Montgomery became the first active player in UConn’s history to have her jersey put up in the Huskies of Honor. Montgomery is only the 11th player to receive the honor and her No. 20 is now alongside Huskie greats such as Rebecca Lobo, Kara Wolters, Jennifer Rizzotti, Diana Taurasi, Swin Cash, Sue Bird, Nykesha Sales and Svetlana Abrosimova.
TERRIFIC TERRAPINS: The winningest players in University of Maryland women’s basketball history at 126-19, Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman lost only three games on their home court during their four-year careers. The duo went 65-3 (.956) at home, and recently had their numbers retired on senior day. Toliver and Coleman are hoping to make it two years in a row that two seniors from Maryland are taken high in the WNBA Draft. In 2008, Crystal Langhorne was taken sixth by Washington and Laura Harper was selected 10th by Sacramento.
FAMOUS FAMILY MEMBERS: Several of the potential draft picks are related to other famous athletes:
- Oklahoma’s Courtney and Ashley Paris come from an athletic family. Their father, Bubba Paris, was an offensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers from 1983-1990. Their uncle, Leonard Gray, played for the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics and Washington Bullets.
- Rashanda McCants and her older brother, Rashad, were both standout players for the North Carolina Tar Heels. He was the #14 draft pick in the 2005 NBA Draft and now plays for the Sacramento Kings. They are also the first brother-sister duo to have both played in the McDonald's All-American Game. Several cousins also played in the pros: Cameron Maybin played in the outfield for the Detroit Tigers and Florida Marlins while John Avery has played for several NFL and CFL teams.
- Texas A&M’s Takia Starks is the cousin of former New York Knick John Starks.
- Ashley Walker’s relative, James Hardy, played four seasons with the Utah Jazz.
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE: There are several draft prospects with international ties:
- Stanford guard Jillian Harmon played for the New Zealand National Team at the 2008 Olympics. Her mother was born in New Zealand.
- Texas guard Carla Cortijo was born in Puerto Rico and lived there until moving to Houston after her first two years in high school. She was named Puerto Rico’s high school player of the year in 2002.
- Anna Kowalski, a 6’4 forward from Kent State, was born in Poland.
- Natasha Williams, a 6’3 forward from DePaul, was born in Jamaica.
- Jelana Milovanovic was born in Serbia and currently plays for MKB leasing in Hungary and has been a part of the Serbian national team.
- Sonja Petrovic, a 6’4 forward, was born in Serbia and has been a part of the Serbian national team.
- Alba Torrens, a 6’5 forward, hails from Spain and played on the Spanish National Team during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
WEST VIRGINIA CONNECTION:
Friends since junior high school, Renee Montgomery and Alexis Hornbuckle were teammates in high school at West Virginia’s South Charleston High School. One year older, Hornbuckle won back-to-back NCAA titles at Tennessee before being selected #4 overall by the Detroit Shock in 2008. The Shock also went on to win the 2008 WNBA Championship, with Hornbuckle playing a key role. Montgomery led UConn to a 39-0 record this year, the school’s third undefeated season (1995, 2002) and sixth overall NCAA Championship.
FINAL FOUR ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS: Maryland’s Kristi Toliver and Rutgers’ Kia Vaughn are the only prospects to be selected to the NCAA Championship Final Four All-Tournament Team as underclassmen. Toliver was named to the team as a freshman in 2006, the year Maryland won the championship, while Vaughn was selected in 2007 when Rutgers played in the title game. As seniors this season, Renee Montgomery and Angel McCoughtry were selected to the team.
SISTERS IN THE DRAFT:
In addition to the pairs of twins noted above, the Catchings and Branzova sisters were also selected in the WNBA Draft. Tamika Catchings was taken third overall in 2001 by the Indiana Fever, where she has spent the last eight seasons. Her older sister Tauja was taken 37th overall in 2000 by the Phoenix Mercury but never appeared in a game. The Branzovas, natives of Bulgaria and graduates of Florida International University, were both selected in the 1998 WNBA Draft. Gergana Branzova was the 24th overall pick and went on to play for the Detroit Shock that season while her older sister Albena was selected with the 29th overall pick and played for the New York Liberty that season.
TRIPLE THREAT AT LIBERTY:
Megan Frazee, a 6-3 guard/forward at Liberty University, played alongside her sisters Molly and Moriah Frazee. The triplets were born on March 29, 1987.
HIGH SCHOOL TEAMMATES:
Duke’s Abby Waner and Minnesota’s Emily Fox were teammates at ThunderRidge High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The pair led ThunderRidge to three straight Class 5A State Championships and a 26-2 overall record as seniors, when the team was also ranked seventh in the USA Today national rankings.
THIRD ROUND SUCCESS STORIES:
The WNBA Draft took on the three-round format in 2003, after previously consisting of four rounds. Notable picks from the third round in recent drafts are: Jamie Carey (2005, current team is Connecticut Sun), Cathrine Kraayveld (2005, current team is New York Liberty) and Jia Perkins (2004, current team is Chicago Sky).
STARS & STRIPES: Emily Fox, Marissa Coleman and Angel McCoughtry played together on the 2007 U.S. Women’s Pan American Games Basketball Team. The three lead the U.S. to its first gold medal in the event since 1987 with a perfect 5-0 record. McCoughtry led the team, which included seven players selected in the 2008 WNBA Draft, with 12.6 points per game. She ranked second in rebounding with 5.6 per game, behind only Nicky Anosike, now a center on the Minnesota Lynx. Coleman has also teamed with two other WNBA prospects on U.S. National Teams. In 2005, she joined Courtney Paris and Vanderbilt’s Christina Wirth on the U.S. Women’s U19 World Championship Team where the U.S. won a gold medal.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Shavonte Zellous long-jumped 19 feet in high school
- Kia Vaughn has seven younger brothers
- Emily Fox has been featured on several talk shows for her “circus art” and sport stacking abilities.
- Chante Black is working on her second degree. She finished her Bachelor of Arts degree in biological anthropology & anatomy and women’s studies in May 2008 and has been working toward her Bachelor of Science in biological anthropology & anatomy.
- Briann January holds a black belt in karate
- Kristi Toliver plays the trumpet