The 2012 WNBA Draft, which saw 36 of the best female NCAA basketball players selected to join the 12 talented teams in the WNBA, had only a few surprises. Most notably, the best player in the country, 6'8 Brittney Griner out of Baylor, decided to stay in school, which shook up this year's draft and gave other players an opportunity to land a higher draft spot.
With Griner out of the picture, 6'2 forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who took the Stanford Cardinal to the NCAA Women's Final Four in all four of her seasons at school, was selected with the No. 1 overall pick -- the first Cardinal player to do so in school history.
I'm grateful for the L.A. Sparks for picking me, Ogwumike told ESPN. It means a lot and it's one of the highest accolades I've ever received. I'm looking forward to going back to Cali. ... I think looking back, a lot of the players could have gone No. 1. Things go different ways. I'm really proud to be part of this legacy.
The Los Angeles Sparks, which only had the fourth-worst record in the WNBA in 2011, was the true winner of this year's draft. In addition to claiming the No. 1 overall pick, the team also scored the No. 13 pick (Farhiya Abdi), the No. 15 pick (Khadijah Rushdan) and No. 16 pick (Tyra White), as well as the No. 28 pick (April Sykes). Don't look past White, who took her Texas A&M Aggies to the National Championship in 2011.
The Minnesota Lynx finished last season with a great 27-7 record, but the team enjoyed six draft picks anyway, including the No. 3 overall pick in Devereaux Peters from Notre Dame, and Brazil's talented Damiris Dantas at No. 12. The Lynx also got Julie Wojta with the No. 18 pick, Kayla Standish from Gonzaga with the No. 19 pick, Slovenia's Nika Baric with the No. 20 pick, and USC's Jacki Gemelos with the No. 29 pick. The team will need all of these draftees to work their hardest as three of Minnesota's veteran players prepare for this summer's Olympics in London.
The Tulsa Shock also got some much-needed support, after finishing last season with a dismal 3-31 record. The Shock drafted two players from Tennessee, including Glory Johnson (No. 4) and Vicki Baugh (No. 25), as well as Miami's Riquna Williams with the No. 17 pick, and Maryland's Lynetta Kizer with the No. 29 spot.
Take a look at the full list of draft picks below, and see how your closest WNBA team performed.
The 2012 WNBA Draft - Round 1
1. Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Stanford) - Los Angeles Sparks (15-19)
2. Shekinna Stricklen (Tennessee) - Seattle Storm (21-13)
3. Devereaux Peters (Notre Dame) - Minnesota Lynx (27-7)
4. Glory Johnson (Tennessee) - Tulsa Shock (3-31)
5. Shenise Johnson (Miami FL) - San Antonio Silver Stars (18-16)
6. Samantha Prahalis (Ohio State) - Phoenix Mercury (19-15)
7. Kelley Cain (Tennessee) - New York Liberty (19-15)
8. Natalie Novosel (Notre Dame) - Washington Mystics (6-28)
9. Astan Dabo (Mali) - Connecticut Sun (21-13)
10. LaSondra Barrett (LSU) - Washington Mystics (6-28)
11. Sasha Goodlett (Georgia Tech) - Indiana Fever (21-13)
12. Damiris Dantas (Brazil) - Minnesota Lynx (27-7)
The 2012 WNBA Draft - Round 2
13. Farhiya Abdi (Frisco Sika of the Czech Republic) - Los Angeles Sparks (15-19)
14. Tiffany Hayes (Connecticut) - Atlanta Dream (20-14)
15. Khadijah Rushdan (Rutgers) - Los Angeles Sparks (15-19)
16. Tyra White (Texas A&M) - Los Angeles Sparks (15-19)
17. Riquna Williams (Miami FL) - Tulsa Shock (3-31)
18. Julie Wojta (Wisconsin-Green Bay) - Minnesota Lynx (27-7)
19. Kayla Standish (Gonzaga) - Minnesota Lynx (27-7)
20. Nika Baric (Merkur Celjie of Slovenia) - Minnesota Lynx (27-7)
21. Chay Shegog (North Carolina) - Connecticut Sun (21-13)
22. Keisha Hampton (DePaul) - Seattle Storm (21-13)
23. Shey Peddy (Temple) - Chicago Sky (14-20)
24. C'eira Ricketts (Arkansas) - Phoenix Mercury (19-15)
WNBA Draft - Round 3
25. Vicki Baugh (Tennessee) - Tulsa Shock (3-31)
26. Anjale Barrett (Maryland) - Washington Mystics (6-28)
27. Sydney Carter (Texas A&M) - Chicago Sky (14-20)
28. April Sykes (Rutgers) - Los Angeles Sparks (15-19)
29. Lynetta Kizer (Maryland) - Tulsa Shock (3-31)
30. Christine Flores (Missouri) - Phoenix Mercury (19-15)
31. Jacki Gemelos (USC) - Minnesota Lynx (27-7)
32. Isabelle Yacoubou (France) - Atlanta Dream (20-14)
33. Amanda Johnson (Oregon) - Phoenix Mercury (19-15)
34. Courtney Hurt (VCU) - Indiana Fever (21-13)
35. Briana Gilbreath (USC) - Washington Mystics (6-28)
36. Katelan Redmon (Gonzaga)- New York Liberty (19-15)
Smith manages and coordinates the activities of the technology subsection of the company, contributing...