Lady Longhorns' Edwina Brown is third pick of WNBA draft - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Lady Longhorns' Edwina Brown is third pick of WNBA draft

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ann Wauters, considered the best prospect in Europe, and Tausha Mills, a "female Shaq," were the top two picks in Tuesday's WNBA draft.

Wauters, a 6-foot-4 center from Belgium, was the No. 1 pick by the Cleveland Rockers, and Mills, a 6-3 center who graduated in 1998 from Alabama, went next to Washington.

At No. 3, Detroit selected Edwina Brown, a 5-9 forward and All-Big 12 tournament MVP at Texas. The Shock acquired the third and eighth picks after trading leading scorer Jennifer Azzi and its No. 12 pick to Utah Monday night.

Azzi had threatened not to play in the WNBA this season because of salary issues.

Another Big 12 player, Nebraska guard Nicole Kubik, was the 15th pick of the first round.

In the second round, Rice guard Marla Brumfield went to Minnesota, Texas Tech forward Keitha Dickerson to Minnesota, and Iowa State forward Desiree Francis to New York.

Iowa State guard Stacy Frese, considered by some as the best player in the Big 12, went undrafted until Utah picked her in the third round. Oklahoma forward Phylesha Whaley went to Minnesota in the third round, and Rice forward Kirra Jordan went to Seattle.

The three-time defending champion Houston Comets chose 6-4 Russian center Elena Chakirova with the final selection of the first round. The Comets took Penn State center Andrea Garner in the second round, Florida State forward Latavia Coleman in the third round, and Marquette forward Abbie Willenborg in the fourth round.

Unlike last year when Chamique Holdsclaw was the consensus No.1, the relatively weak draft featured no dominant player. Stars on the national championship Connecticut and runner-up Tennessee teams are all juniors.

"I'm very excited to come to America," Wauters said. "It's a very different game than in Europe, it's very aggressive."

The 20-year-old Wauters averaged 13.8 points and 6.8 points for USV Orchies in France. She'll bring an inside threat to a Cleveland team that finished 7-25 last season.

So will Mills, whose physical play at the pre-draft camp in Chicago raised her stock and earned the nickname of Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal.

"She's referred to as a female Shaq," WNBA president Val Ackerman said. "She may grow into that, literally and figuratively. She caught the attention of coaches with her size and strength and nice touch."

Mills also played for the Chicago Condors of the ABL. She will join former SEC rivals Nikki McCray and Holdsclaw on the Mystics.

"I'm pleased to play with the best and get the exposure," Mills said.

Post players were at a premium in the four-round, 64-player draft, making up half of the 16 first-round picks. The league expands to 16 teams this season, adding franchises in Miami, Indiana, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

Eight college seniors, five international players and three former ABL players were chosen in the first round. Four-time Olympian Teresa Edwards chose not to play in the league for the second consecutive season.

Cleveland coach Dan Hughes, who only saw Wauters on tape, was impressed.

"I wanted a mobile post, somebody who could run the floor," said Hughes, a former Charlotte coach who replaced LindaHill-MacDonald.

"She brings so many elements to our program. We were hard hit (at center)." Orlando picked 6-5 center Cintia Dos Santos of Brazil at No. 4. Minnesota, which had three first-round selections because of trades, chose guards Grace Daley of Tulane and Betty Lennox of Louisiana Tech with the fifth and sixth picks.

The expansion Portland Fire chose guard Lynn Pride of Kansas, Detroit took guard Tamicha Jackson of Louisiana Tech, the expansion Seattle Storm picked Kamila Vodichkova of the Czech Republic and Minnesota selected forward Maylana Martin of UCLA at No. 10.

"Most teams are looking for a piece of the puzzle," Seattle coach Lin Dunn said. "We need all the pieces."

With the final six first-round selections, Charlotte took 6-6 center Summer Erb of North Carolina State; Utah chose 6-3 center Naomi Mulitauaopele of Stanford; New York picked 6-8 center Olga Firsova of Ukraine who played at Kansas State; Sacramento selected Stanford graduate and former Portland Power forward Katy Steding;Los Angeles took Kubik, and Houston took Chakirova.

ABL players not selected in last season's draft are considered free agents who can be added to rosters after the draft.

Wauters will be fed inside by point guard Suzie McConnell Serio, who had surgery to repair a fractured left foot in January. McConnell Serio is expected to be ready by the start of the season.

The WNBA, which opens training camps May 3, begins its fourth season May 29.
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