April 11, 2011
Four Big Ten standouts were selected during the annual WNBA Draft on Monday, marking the 13th time in the 15 years of the draft the conference has had three or more student-athletes chosen. Ohio State's Jantel Lavender was selected in the first round, followed by Iowa's Kachine Alexander, Northwestern's Amy Jaeschke and Indiana's Jori Davis in the third round. The four players selected are the most from the Big Ten since 2007.
Lavender was selected fifth overall by the Los Angeles Sparks, becoming the 13th Big Ten student-athlete to be selected in the first round of the annual draft. She becomes the second Buckeye to be chosen in the first round of the draft, joining Jessica Davenport (second overall in 2007). Lavender, the only four-time Big Ten Player of the Year, guided the Buckeyes to their third straight Big Ten Tournament title this season and helped Ohio State into the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. The Cleveland, Ohio, native was fifth in the nation with 22.8 points per game in 2011, earning first-team All-America honors from the WBCA, AP and USBWA. She leaves Ohio State as the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,818 points, second in Big Ten history, and the conference's all-time leader in rebounds with 1,422.
Alexander, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, was chosen with the second pick in Round 3 (26th overall) by Minnesota. She becomes the first Hawkeye selected in the annual draft since Crystal Smith was taken in the third round in 2006. Alexander guided Iowa to NCAA Tournament appearances in each of her seasons in Iowa City and was twice selected to the Big Ten's All-Defensive Team (2010, 2011). The Minneapolis, Minn., native averaged 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game during her senior season and was named a WBCA honorable mention All-American. She is just the fifth player in Big Ten history to record 1,000 career points, 800 rebounds and 300 assists.
Jaeschke becomes the first Northwestern player ever selected in the WNBA Draft after being chosen with the third pick in Round 3 (27th overall) by the Chicago Sky. The Wilmette, Ill., native ranked second in the Big Ten in 2011 in scoring with 21.4 points per game and was fourth in rebounding at 9.0 boards per contest. A two-time first-team All-Big Ten honoree, Jaeschke finished her Northwestern career with 1,976 points and 933 rebounds, while her 357 blocks ranks fourth in Big Ten history. She earned honorable mention All-America status by the Associated Press and was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team as a senior.
Davis was selected by the Indiana Fever with the ninth pick in the third round (33rd overall) following a senior season that saw her earn second-team All-Big Ten honors and finish third in the conference in scoring with 19.5 points per game, which ranked 19th in the nation. The Rochester, N.Y., native is the third Hoosier taken in the annual draft and first since Jill Chapman was selected in the second round in 2002. Davis ended her Indiana career as one of the program's most prolific scorers, with 1,559 career points, and finished in the top 10 in the Big Ten in assists (eighth, 3.8) and steals (ninth, 1.8) in 2011.