The University of Connecticut ruled college basketball in 2014. The men's team captured an improbable national championship behind Shabazz Napier and head coach Kevin Ollie.
The women's team completed a dominant undefeated season behind WNBA hopeful Stefanie Dolson and legendary head coach Geno Auriemma.
Now, the Connecticut Sun will get first crack at the cream of the crop in women's college basketball.
The 2014 WNBA draft will take place April 14 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. Coverage for the first round begins at 8 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN2. The second and third rounds begin at 9 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPNU.
Stanford's versatile power forward Chiney Ogwumike figures to be the first player taken. Could Connecticut have yet another star on its hands?
1. Connecticut Sun, Chiney Ogwumike, PF, Stanford, 6' 3"
The Nigerian-American star lit it up for Stanford as a senior. She averaged 26.1 points and 12.1 rebounds per game to establish herself as the top prospect in the nation.
Teaming her up with Tina Charles in Connecticut could finally give the Sun a chance to shine.
2. Tulsa Shock, Odyssey Sims, PG, Baylor, 5' 8"
Skylar Diggins didn't have the type of impact she or the team hoped for in her rookie season. Because of that, the Shock still need punch in the backcourt.
Sims was a dynamo for Baylor during the 2013-14 season. Check out this remarkable stat line: 28.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.0 steals.
Her all-around skills and scoring prowess could help take pressure off Diggins. Together, the two could ultimately form a scary backcourt.
3. San Antonio Silver Stars, Stefanie Dolson, C, Connecticut, 6' 5"
Almost no other player in this year's draft offers the size and inside presence Dolson brings. Fresh off a national championship, her ability to score and rebound may look even better to teams.
WNBA legend Lisa Leslie was asked about Dolson's potential by Brian Grindrod of The UConn Blog. She said, "Dolson can have a good career or not. It all depends on what team she plays with. Teams that can use her size are Connecticut, San Antonio, and Washington because they play half-court sets. It really depends on where she plays."
The Silver Stars already have center Jayne Appel, who just signed a new multiyear deal with the team. But bringing in Dolson could give the team a formidable duo of centers to command the middle.
4. New York Liberty, Maggie Lucas, G, Penn State, 5' 9"
Cappie Pondexter is 31 years old and nearing the end of her contract. The Liberty have to find their star a running mate and a potential successor once it's time for her to move on.
Lucas was Ms. Everything for Penn State in 2013-14. Her scoring ability would be a big boost for the Liberty.
5. Indiana Fever, Alyssa Thomas, F, Maryland, 6' 2"
Thomas leaves Maryland as the all-time leader in scoring and rebounding for the university. If the Fever make her their pick, she'll join a talented roster that features future Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings.
I caught up with Catchings last week and discussed her career and the upcoming season for the Fever when she appeared on Jocks, Geeks and Gamers.
Here's that interview:
Though Catchings has shown few signs of slowing down, it would be wise for the Fever to think about who could possibly fill the legend's golden shoes when she's done.
Jones has the look of a player Catchings could pass the torch to.
6. Washington Mystics, Chelsea Gray, PG, Duke, 5' 11"
A season-ending injury cut Gray's final season at Duke short, but WNBA scouts know what kind of player she can be when healthy.
Major concerns about her fractured kneecap could scare teams away, but if she checks out medically and the Mystics call her name in the first round, the team could have a future star on its hands.
7. Seattle Storm, Astou Ndour, C, Senegal, 6' 6"
With Tina Thompson retiring and Lauren Jackson set to miss the entire 2014 season, the Storm need a presence in the middle. Ndour's size could instantly improve the Storm's porous rebounding and shot-blocking.
Unfortunately, the team will need a lot more than Ndour in order to contend.
8. Atlanta Dream, Bria Hartley, G, Connecticut, 5' 7"
The Dream aren't far off elite status. With a talented roster already in place, the team can afford to take the best available player.
At this stage, that would probably be Hartley. Bringing in a heady guard from a winning tradition would only help chemistry.
9. Indiana Fever, Kayla McBride, G, Notre Dame, 5' 11"
On Thursday, McBride tweeted this playfully frustrated message:
McBride is a gifted scorer with a lead-dog mentality. The Fever could hit the jackpot with McBride and Thomas in the first round.
10. Chicago Sky, Samarie Walker, SF, Kentucky, 6' 1"
The talent level in the draft dips a bit here. Walker is a nice prospect, but she's fairly one-dimensional. As a rebounder ,she can immediately give Sylvia Fowles more help on the glass.
Perhaps the Sky are simply a role player away from their first WNBA championship.
11. Connecticut Sun, DeNesha Stallworth, C, Kentucky, 6' 3"
This pick represents more help for the needy. The 10-24 Sun get to add another big body to their frontcourt.
Stallworth doesn't always play as big as she's listed, but with Ogwumike presumably on the roster, the Sun should be solid in the rebounding department.
Stallworth would just add depth.
12. Minnesota Lynx, Meighan Simmons, G, Tennessee, 5' 9"
A first round in the WNBA draft wouldn't be complete without a Tennessee Volunteer.
Simmons and her college teammates were disappointed in the NCAA tournament, but she could be headed for another winning organization.
The defending WNBA champions could add a solid role player to an obviously talented squad with Simmons.
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