Mercury Make Four Selections in 2018 WNBA Draft
PHOENIX - The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury tonight made four selections in the 2018 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm. With the team's first round pick (12th overall), the Mercury selected Oregon State standout center Marie Gulich (GOO-litch). Phoenix followed that selection by using its two second round picks on Tyler Scaife (SKAYF) (20th overall) and Raisa (RAY-sa) Musina (MOO-see-nah) (21st overall) from Russia, while taking Imani Wright with the 26th overall selection (third round).
"We're very pleased with the results of this year's draft," said Mercury general manager Jim Pitman. "We were fortunate enough to obtain many of the players we targeted in their respective positions. Our first round pick, Gulich is one of the most improved players in college basketball this season. Her growth from midseason on was something we were really excited about. She was on our radar this season, but really shot up our board over past three months. We're excited about the effort she plays with on both sides of the court, and her 65 percent field goal percentage."
After averaging under ten points per game in each of her first three seasons, Gulich increased her all-around production during her senior year, scoring 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in 34 games. She ranked third in the nation in field goal percentage (65.2 percent) this season and fifth in blocks, paving the way to be named the media's Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Gulich was named a Third Team All-American by espnW and Honorable Mention All-American by the Associated Press and WBCA.
A 6-foot-5 center, Gulich averaged 8.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game over her four-year career as a Beaver. She finished her stint at Oregon State as a two-time All-Pac 12 selection, ranked third on the program's all-time blocks list, fourth in field goal percentage and fifth in rebounds.
After missing the 2016-17 season due to open heart surgery, Scaife, a 5-foot-9 guard averaged 19.4 points this season as a senior at Rutgers. She was named to the 2018 All-Big Ten First Team and was a semifinalist for the Staley Award, given to the best guard in the country. She finished as the second all-time leading scorer in program history after passing Kahleah Copper and Cappie Pondexter on the list this season.
Musina, a 20-year old from Moscow, Russia, currently plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg and is a member of the Russian National Team, coached by Sandy Brondello's husband, Olaf Lange. She has seen much success at the international level, most notably winning a gold medal at the FIBA U19 Women's World Championships in 2017. Musina averaged 16.7, 12.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in Russia's seven games, including a 33-point, 11-rebound and seven-assists outing against USA in the championship game. She currently plays alongside Mercury center Brittney Griner for Ekaterinburg.
The Mercury's final pick in the 2018 WNBA draft, Wright, averaged 17.1 points and 5.3 rebounds over her four-year college career. She spent her first two seasons at Baylor before transferring to Florida State to play out her final two years of eligibility. Wright's best season came this year as a senior when the 5-foot-9 guard averaged 19.8 points and 6.1 rebounds in 39 games. She was an Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award semifinalist as the top shooting guard in the country, was named an Honorable Mention All-American by the Associated Press and was an All-ACC First Team selection.
WNBA all-time leading scorer Diana Taurasi and 2017 WNBA scoring champion Brittney Griner return to Phoenix this summer to lead the Mercury in a quest for the franchise's WNBA-record tying fourth championship. Tickets for Fry's Food Stores Opening Night on Friday, May 18, Phoenix's two showdowns with the rival Minnesota Lynx on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, July 21 and the Mercury's lone home matchup with the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday, August 12 are on sale NOW and can be purchased by calling 602.252.WNBA or by visiting PhoenixMercury.com.
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