Minnesota's Janel McCarville selected by Sting with No. 1 pick in WNBA draft

Minnesota's Janel McCarville was the No. 1 selection in the WNBA draft.

Minnesota's Janel McCarville was the No. 1 selection in the WNBA draft.

April 16, 2005

SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) - Janel McCarville has heard all the talk about how this year's incoming rookie class in the WNBA won't be as talented as the last.

"We've been overshadowed by the players from the past," McCarville said after being selected by Charlotte as the top overall pick in Saturday's league draft. "We definitely have great players. Every year brings something different to the league and adds spice to it."

The 6-foot-4 McCarville averaged 16 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.2 steals last season while leading Minnesota to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament - the highest in school history.

McCarville is the seventh Big Ten player selected in the WNBA's first round and replaces former teammate Lindsay Whalen, who was drafted with the No. 4 overall pick by Connecticut last year, as the highest draft pick in Conference history.

McCarville is confident she's ready for the faster play in the WNBA.

"It's a little bit more uptempo," she said. "I'm definitely prepared. I'm strong and agile enough, but I know I have a lot to work on and I'm looking forward to it. I'm the type of player that will do anything my team needs to help it win, whether it's rebound, pass or even score."

McCarville already has received advice from Whalen, who was a first-round pick by the Connecticut Sun last year.

"She's talked to me a little bit about it," McCarville said. "What to expect, how to handle things and approach things. So, she's definitely been there for me."

McCarville said she is looking forward to playing with new teammate Dawn Staley.

"It's definitely a privilege to play with her," McCarville said. "She's a good passer, hopefully we'll connect on a couple of good ones."

The Indiana Fever selected Tan White from Mississippi State with the second pick, and the Phoenix Mercury followed by taking Texas Christian's Sandora Irvin. The San Antonio Silver Stars picked Kansas State's Kendra Wecker at No. 4, and the University of Houston's Sancho Lyttle went to the Houston Comets with the fifth pick.

White led the nation in scoring with 23.5 points per game, had an SEC-record 372 career steals and led Mississippi State to 12 straight wins. The 5-7 guard also won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, given to the best women's college basketball player who is 5-8 or shorter.

White believes the physical play in the Southeastern Conference has prepared her for the WNBA, and that her biggest challenge will be settling into the point guard role with the Fever.

"In college, I played whatever the team needed me to," White said. "This time I'm going to have a definite position. It'll be great to play with (Tamika) Catchings, who I played against when she was at Tennessee."

Irvin, a Naismith Trophy finalist and first-team All-American, was the NCAA career leader in blocked shots with 480. The niece of former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin was the Conference USA player of the year, averaging 19.9 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.5 blocks.

Now, she'll be teamed up with Diana Taurasi, last year's No. 1 pick and rookie of the year.

"I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to play with Diana Taurasi," Irvin said. "I've never been with someone that good. I am definitely looking forward to her leadership. I think she can definitely help my game."

Wecker, the Big 12 player of the year, averaged 21 points and 10.1 rebounds for Kansas State despite missing three games with a sprained ankle early in the season. She also shot 42 percent on 3-pointers.

Lyttle, an all-Conference USA first-team selection, averaged 18.8 points and 12.1 rebounds for the Cougars last season.

The Washington Mystics, who traded three-time All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw to the Los Angeles Sparks last month, took LSU's Temeka Johnson at No. 6.

Rounding out the first round, it was: Georgia's Kara Braxton to the Detroit Shock at No. 7; Katie Feenstra from Liberty to Connecticut with the eighth pick; Michigan State's Kristin Haynie to the Sacramento Monarchs at No. 9; Tennessee's Loree Moore to the New York Liberty next; UC Santa Barbara's Kristen Mann to the Minnesota Lynx with the 11th pick; Penn State's Tanisha Wright to the defending champion Seattle Storm at No. 12; and Oklahoma's Dionnah Jackson to the Shock with the 13th and final pick of the first round.  Illinois' Angelina Williams was picked 18th in the second round by Phoenix and Michigan's Tabitha Pool was the 23rd selection by New York.

After the draft, the Sun traded the rights to the 6-8 Feenstra to the Silver Stars for 7-2 center Margo Dydek.



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