Baylor superstar Brittany Griner has set more records in her four brilliant years in the Big 12 Conference and in women’s college basketball than you can count on both yours and my hands. And shye added another one Monday night. The 6-8 Griner was the first player taken in the Women’s National Basketball Association’s 2013 Draft, making her the first women’s player from the Big 12 to be taken first overall in the draft.
Griner was one of eight Big 12 players selected in the WNBA Draft, which totaled just 36 players taken in the three rounds of the draft. The Big 12 had two players taken in the first round, two more in the second round and three in the third and final round of the draft. As expected, the Phoenix Mercury selected Griner with the first overall pick in the draft. Burdened heavily by injuries last season, the Mercury finished the season with a 7-27 record and at the bottom of the WNBA Western Conference standings.
“It’s a dream come true,” Griner said after being chosen as the top pick in Monday’s draft. “I’m like a little kid in Disney World the first time meeting all the characters. Sitting at the table, they said 15 seconds and my heart started beating so fast. I was grabbing the tablecloth underneath.”
Griner is the second all-time scorer in women’s NCAA history, and the career leader in the Big 12, with 3,283 points. She also ended her college career as the all-time best shot blocker, breaking the record for both men and women with 748 total blocks during her four years at Baylor.
Oklahoma State’s Toni Young also was a first-round selection, taken seventh overall by the New York Liberty. The 6-2 forward is the second OSU player in the history of the school’s women’s basketball program to be selected in the draft. She was an honorable mention on the Associated Press All-America team this season.
“It has been a dream of mine to play in the WNBA, and I appreciate the opportunity to play against the best players in the world,” Young said.
Two Iowa State players, Chelsea Poppens and Ana Prins, were selected in the second round. Poppens was selected 18th overall by the Seattle Storm and Prins was a second-round pick of the Connecticut Sun (23rd overall). Kansas State guard Brittany Chambers was selected just ahead of Iowa State’s Prins, chosen by the Los Angeles Sparks with the 22nd selection in the 2013 WNBA Draft. Chambers, one of only four players in Big 12 history to score 2,000 career points, snare 850 career rebounds and deliver 350 assists in her college careerl, is the seventh Kansas State player to be selected in the WNBA Draft.
Three other Big 12 players were third-round selections: Brooklyn Pope of Baylor (28th overall), by the Chicago Sky; Angel Goodrich of Kansas (29th), by the Tulsa Shock; and Oklahoma’s Whitney Hand (32nd), by the San Antonio Silver Stars. Hand is married to former Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, who will be participating in the NFL Draft later this month.
Elena Delle Dome of Delaware was the second player selected in the draft, the pick of the Chicago Sky. Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins was selected third by the Tulsa Shock.
The eight Big 12 players selected in this year’s draft increases the number of women players from the Big 12 who have been drafted into the WNBA to 95 in the 17-year history of the professional women’s league.