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Pheonix selects Taurasi with top pick in 2004 WNBA draft

April 17, 2004 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - Phoenix Mercury News Release

SECAUCUS, N.J. – The Phoenix Mercury selected guard Diana Taurasi with the first overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft. Taurasi, a two-time Associated Press First Team All-American and two-time Naismith Player of the Year, averaged 15.0 points, 4.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds in her four year career at University of Connecticut. The Huskies captured three consecutive NCAA National Championships (2002, 03, 04) during her time at Storrs, and Taurasi was selected the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Final Four the past two seasons.

“I’m excited (about playing in Phoenix),” said Taurasi. “It’s a lot closer to home than Connecticut is. My parents will get a better opportunity to go out there. I’ve always been good with adjusting to new situations and obviously it’s a new city with new teammates, new surroundings. I’m really excited. So everything that comes my way, I’m definitely going to enjoy it.”

The Washington Mystics selected the 2004 Associated Press Player of the Year Alana Beard of Duke University. Beard, a three-time AP First Team All-American was also the winner of the 2004 Wooden Award, Wade Trophy and United States Basketball Writers Association Player of the Year. She averaged 19.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists during her four year career as a Blue Devil.

Minnesota had two picks in the top seven, selecting Kansas State center Nicole Ohlde with the sixth overall pick, and Florida center Vanessa Hayden with the seventh overall pick.

Other first round picks included Stanford guard/forward Nicole Powell (third, Charlotte); Minnesota guard Lindsay Whalen (fourth, Connecticut); Arkansas guard/forward Shameka Christon (fifth, New York); Houston guard/forward Chandi Jones (eighth, Phoenix); USC center Ebony Hoffman (ninth, Indiana); Georgetown forward Rebekkah Brunson (10th, Sacramento); Duke forward/center Iciss Tillis (11th, Detroit); Georgia center Christi Thomas (12th, Los Angeles); Purdue forward Shereka Wright (13th, Detroit).

Immediately following the draft, the Houston Comets traded the rights to Lindsay Taylor (13 pick in 2nd round) to Phoenix in exchange for the rights to Maria Villarroel (1st pick in 3rd round).

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