2012 WNBA Draft: Historic First Round Lacks UConn Star Power

Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterApril 16, 2012

DENVER, CO - APRIL 01:  Tiffany Hayes #3 of the Connecticut Huskies pushes the ball up court against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the National Semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at Pepsi Center on April 1, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

For the first time in five years, the University of Connecticut failed to have one of its own selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft.

Not that Geno Auriemma should be worried about his Huskies program losing its luster in the pros. After all, Tiffany Hayes came within two picks of keeping UConn's first-year streak alive while making this draft the 13th in 15 years in which the Huskies sent a player to the pros. The high-scoring guard went 14th overall to the Atlanta Dream, where she should flourish in their up-tempo system.

The Dream should love having a winner like Hayes around, too. She helped the Huskies to the Final Four in each of her four collegiate seasons, two of which ended with national titles. Hayes figures to slot in as a capable third fiddle in Atlanta, behind Angel McCoughtry and Courtney Paris.

Now, Hayes is no Tina Charles (No. 1 overall in 2010) or Maya Moore (No. 1 overall in 2011), though she's certainly no slouch, not after scoring more points in consecutive games than anyone in UConn women's history.

And, along with Charles, Moore, Diana Taurasi, Kalana Greene, Renee Montgomery and Ketia Swanier (to name a few), Hayes should be able to keep UConn's WNBA footprint as big as ever. She'll be the 26th former Husky to play in the WNBA since the league's inception in 1997, by far the most of any school.

UConn might not have a first-rounder next year either—with Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins expected to rule the roost in 2013—though that shouldn't stop UConn from dominating the development of tomorrow's women's basketball stars as it has for so long.

And if it does, there will be plenty of UConn alums around to carry the mantle in the meantime.