Lynx Add to Their Embarrassment of Riches

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Entering draft day, the Minnesota Lynx roster already included one of the top 5 woman ballers in the world (Seimone Augustus), one of the best pure point guards in all of basketball (Lindsay Whalen), the 2008 Sixth Women of the Year (Candice Wiggins) and two 3rd year All Stars (Nicky Anosike and Charde Houston).

So it’s not like they really needed the No. 2 and No. 3 overall picks in today‘s draft, but they had them anyway. With their first selection the team chose Virginia’s Monica Wright. The 5-11 shooting guard was a 1st Team All American, led the ACC in scoring (23.7 ppg) and surpassed Dawn Staley to become the Cavaliers’ all-time leading scorer.

The pick was so anticpated that Lynx media relations coordinator Aaron Seehusen was holding the press release when the selection was announced. There were also oversized Monica Wright basketball cards (shown above) printed for the occasion.

Their next pick however was not on the script. Instead of selecting hobbled Stanford center Jayne Appel with the No. 3 pick, the Lynx instead went with Kelsey Griffin, a 6-2 forward from Nebraska. Trade speculation began immediately.

At the team’s draft party in the new Hubert’s (former NBA City, Frontrunners, Naismiths, etc), fan reaction over the Griffin selection was described as “mixed.” Minutes later WNBA president Donna Orrender announced the Lynx had traded Griffin to Connecticut for their 1st and 2nd (from Tulsa) round picks next year.

In his post draft press conference, general manager Roger Griffith said the team chose Griffin for Connecticut as part of a prearranged deal and he would have taken Appel if a trade hadn’t worked out. Griffith sought to trade the pick because he believes the 2011 draft class, headlined by UConn’s Maya Moore, will be much deeper.

Highlights of Wright’s Conference Call

On draft day:
“I definitely was nervous all day, but I was very excited once I heard I was going to Minnesota. I just ran through who I knew was playing for Minnesota in my head and I didn’t realize that I was going to be playing with Seimone Augustus, someone I watched play in high school. I am very excited about the opportunity, I’ve heard so many great things about the Lynx and their program and their coaching staff and their players…I am very excited…my emotions are going crazy right now.”

“I heard things from a lot of different people, but as far as the draft goes it’s very - the last draft was kind of unpredictable because of trades and things like that. I didn’t want to get my heart set on one spot and then all of the sudden I wouldn’t be going there. I did have kind of an idea, but I didn’t want to put to much into it.”

“It was a sigh of relief after my name was called, now the work begins. I definitely feel that my parents are also relieved. I feel for them because of how nervous they were throughout this whole situation.”

On Her Role:
“I haven’t played with (the Lynx players), I am not sure what my niche and my role will be yet. I am sure once training camp starts, I’ll be able to figure out where I can produce….It’s hard to tell when you haven’t stepped on the court and played with the girls yet.”

“It’s been awhile, but in the past I’ve been on teams where I’ve had people who are just as dominate as I am scoring wise. I like to think of myself as a chameleon; where you need me, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll be whatever player the team needs me to be.”

On Minnesota:
“People have mentioned snow to me, but then I am just like ‘The season is in the summer, so I don’t think I’ll be getting too much of that snow.’ I am sure the weather will be beautiful there, I’ve heard a lot of great things about the weather. As far as I know, the shopping is phenomenal.”

“All I know is that the Mall of America is there.”

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