Chicago Sky Selects Kristi Toliver In 2009 Draft
CHICAGO, April 9, 2009 - The Chicago Sky selected 5'7 point guard Kristi Toliver with the third overall pick in today's WNBA Draft. The Sky also selected 5'11 guard Danielle Gant (16th overall) and guard Jennifer Risper (29th overall). Chicago Sky Head Coach and GM Steven Key, along with Assistant Coach Stephanie White participated in the draft from Chicago via teleconference.
Toliver ranks second among ACC scorers with 18.1 points per game and leads all conference players in assists per game at 5.1. Toliver ranks second in conference in three-point field goal percentage and consistently stood out among ACC's top five free throw shooters with an 86.4 percentage. Toliver's 1,939 career points rank third on Maryland's all-time scoring. Toliver is the first Terp to win the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is presented to the nation's top point guard, and broke the ACC's 30-year-old single-season assist record in 2008. Toliver holds the school records for career free throw percentage and three-point field goals made (209).
"Toliver is a true point guard," said Sky General Manager and Head Coach Steven Key. "Our point guards in the past have done a great job for us but I think Kristi will make us that much more versatile and allow us to move Dominique Canty over to the shooting guard role as needed. Canty is very good at getting to the basket; adding Kristi and some shooting to the team will help create some space inside for our inside players in Sylvia and Candice. It's a great selection for us!"
Grant is Texas A&M's second leading scorer and leading rebounder averaging a career-best 14.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. She had 36 starts during the season for a total of 55 for her career and is the 21st all-time player to reach 1,000 career points at Texas A&M. Gant became the 17th player in school history to gain entrance into A&M's 500 rebound club. Gant had a remarkable offensive post season, shooting 40 for 56 and averaging 19.8 points per game.
"Coach White has seen Gant play quite a bit," said Steven Key. "She has scouted the Big 12 over the past few seasons and we feel she is great defensive player and has the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. Danielle will come in and raise the competitive level and intensity in our group and push other's around her to work harder. She has had to work for a lot that she has achieved in her career and is the kind of player you want on your team."
The Sky's third-round pick (29th overall), 5'9" Risper was recently named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and to the SEC All-Tournament Team, after averaging 11.7 points, 7.7 rebounds during the NCAA tournament. Risper is eighth all-time in career steal at Vanderbilt with 221, including 81 this season, which is the most in the NCAA in 2009. Risper was selected by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) as WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year.
The Sky is one of six independently-owned teams in the WNBA, the world's longest-running women's professional sports league. Chicago finished fifth in the Eastern Division with a 12-22 record in their third season. Sylvia Fowles, Chicago's rookie center, ranked third in blocks per game and fifth in double-doubles with six. Forward Candice Dupree ranked third in defensive rebounds, fourth in rebounds per game and third in double-doubles with nine. Guard Jia Perkins ranked fourth in the league in steals, fifth in the league in free-throw percentage and seventh in points. The Sky plays at the Chicago's UIC Pavilion. For more information or to purchase 2009 season tickets, call 866.SKY.WNBA or visit www.chicagosky.net.
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