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MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Lynx today announced that the team has acquired former University of Minnesota women’s basketball star center Janel McCarville, along with a 2014 second-round draft pick from the Tulsa Shock in a three-team trade. In the deal, Minnesota sends restricted free-agent guard Candice Wiggins to Tulsa in a sign-and-trade. Tulsa also receives forward Nicole Powell from the Liberty and New York’s 2013 third-round pick, while New York receives the rights to guard Deanna Nolan and Tulsa’s 2013 third-round pick.
“We are very excited to announce the acquisition of Janel McCarville,” said Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith. “McCarville is a veteran center with multiple years of playoff experience, making her an ideal fit for our roster. A former #1 overall draft pick, she will fit in seamlessly with our roster and make an immediate impact this summer. Her offensive efficiency and defensive presence will be invaluable for our team as we try to reach the Finals for a third consecutive season and win another championship.”
“I’m very excited to come back to Minnesota and join the Lynx,” said McCarville. “I can’t wait to team up with Lindsay again; it’s always fun playing alongside a point guard as talented as she is. When you add Seimone, Maya, Rebekkah and the rest of the team, it’s going to be a lot of fun this summer. I’m looking forward to doing whatever I can to help bring another championship to Minnesota.”
McCarville emerged with the Liberty in 2007, being named the 2007 WNBA Most Improved Player after averaging 10.4 points and 4.8 rebounds on 54.6% shooting from the floor. She continued to thrive over the next three seasons with the Liberty, averaging 11.2 points on 51.1% shooting, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in her four years with New York. Originally selected by the Charlotte Sting with the first overall pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft, McCarville was acquired by the New York Liberty with the third overall pick in the WNBA Dispersal Draft on Jan. 8, 2007. She last played in the WNBA during the 2010 season.
The 6-2 center has played overseas during the last three seasons, spending two seasons with Familia Schio in the Italian League before joining Canik Belediyesi in the Turkish Basketball League for the 2012-13 season. She averaged 11.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game on 52.6% shooting this winter.
“We’re looking forward to having Janel in a Lynx uniform this summer,” said Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve. “She’s an excellent passing big, which is a perfect fit for our system and a great complement to the high quality three-point shooters that we have on our roster. Janel is a highly efficient post player that will fit right in with our current roster, giving us yet another option on offense.”
A native of Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, McCarville teamed up with Lindsay Whalen for three seasons (2002-04) at the University of Minnesota. In her four-year collegiate career, McCarville and the Gophers never missed the NCAA Tournament, including reaching the program’s first ever Final Four appearance in 2004. A two-time Wade Trophy Finalist (2004, 2005), an award given annually to the best women’s basketball player in the nation, McCarville finished her collegiate career with a number of school records, including field goal percentage (.582), blocks (196) and double-doubles (49). In addition, she currently ranks fifth in scoring (1,835), second in rebounding (1,206), seventh in assists (310) and third in steals (273).
As a junior, McCarville was a key member of Minnesota’s 2004 Final Four team, averaging 19.4 points, 15.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists on 57.4% shooting during the Gopher’s five-game tournament run. She was especially brilliant in the Elite Eight, as the seventh-seeded Gophers upset top-seeded Duke, scoring 20 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists in Minnesota’s 82-75 win. As a senior the next season, McCarville led Minnesota back to the Sweet Sixteen for just the third time in school history, averaging 13.0 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.3 blocks during tournament play.
With McCarville, the Lynx roster now consists of three former #1 overall draft picks (Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore) and seven former top four draft picks (Monica Wright, Devereaux Peters, Amber Harris, Lindsay Whalen).
Wiggins played in five seasons with the Lynx, averaging 10.4 points and 2.2 assists in 24.3 minutes per game, shooting 36.4% from three-point range. As a rookie, Wiggins was named the 2008 Sixth Woman of the Year, averaging 15.7 points in 27.5 minutes per game off the bench, the league’s then-highest scoring average ever for a player off the bench.
“We appreciate everything Candice has done for our organization in her five seasons in Minnesota,” said Griffith. “She was a key member of our bench during our Finals runs over the past two seasons, and a big part of our 2011 championship team. Candice plays with tenacious energy, and in her five seasons, we always knew she was going to leave it all on the court. We wish her nothing but the best in her future.”
The 2012 Western Conference Champion Minnesota Lynx kick off the 15th season of professional women’s basketball in Minnesota at Target Center on June 1, facing off with the Connecticut Sun at 7 p.m.