Washington Mystics Select Maryland Star Marissa Coleman in the WNBA Draft

Jennifer JohnsonAnalyst IApril 9, 2009

BOSTON - APRIL 04:  Marissa Coleman #25 of the Maryland Terrapins drives around Mistie Williams #1 of the Duke Blue Devils during the 2006 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship Game on April 4, 2006 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Washington Mystics have upgraded their roster in a big way by selecting Maryland Terrapins star forward Marissa Coleman with the No. 2 pick in today’s WNBA draft. 

For a team that has lacked a true inside presence since the retirement of Vicky Bullet, the Mystics have added the most explosive player to come out of the college ranks this year.

The Atlanta Dream grabbed Louisville sensation Angel McCoughtry with the first overall pick. 

The Mystics were weighing many of their options in pre-draft scenarios according to Vice President/General Manager Angela Taylor.  But it was Marissa’s mix of offensive production and strong rebounding ability that won over management.

“We are excited to add a standout player like Marissa Coleman to the Washington Mystics roster with the second overall pick,” said a beaming Taylor. 

“Marissa was an integral part of building a championship program at Maryland and has consistently demonstrated an ability to elevate her game at crucial times during the game.  Her size, versatility, and her ability to score from anywhere on the floor makes her a very special player.” 

Her passion for the game and competitive nature won over her teammates throughout her career in College Park.  Coleman and former teammate Kristi Toliver combined to average more than half of the Terrapins’ points, during a fifteen game winning streak that began back in early February. (Maryland’s streak was snapped by Louisville in the NCAA regional final)

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Chicago drafted Toliver immediately upon seeing Coleman go off the board with the No. 3 overall pick.

Coleman is one of the more prolific scorers entering the WNBA in 2009. 

She averaged 18.1 PPG and 8.6 RPG.   For the ACC tournament, she averaged slightly under 24 PPG to earn MVP honors for the second time in her storied career.  Coleman is the first player in the ACC to record over 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 assists, 200 steals and 100 blocks. 

Her athleticism never stops.  She can pull up quickly and drain a 15-foot jump shot, before the defense has a chance to get in position.  And then she can dictate the physical play inside the paint to hurt her opponent.  Many times during Maryland’s season, it was Marissa who held the ball to close out the waning seconds of a Terrapins’ victory.

If you lose sight of No. 25 beware of the consequences.  She is every bit the dominant player that Sheryl Swoopes was when she led the Texas Tech Lady Red Raiders to the 1993 NCAA championship trophy.

I argue that she will be a tougher matchup than Swoopes was in the pros.  Swoopes relied primarily on her scoring ability to help her team. She attacked the basket in the same fashion as Coleman did at Maryland, but fell short when it came to handling the ball off the boards.

I am excited for the Mystics’ chances of securing a playoff spot this season.

With the maximum number of players on an active WNBA roster, cut down from 13 players to 11 this season, the battle for starting spots will be something to watch in preseason.

Mystics Notes:

Washington signed 10-year veteran Chastity Melvin on February 9, 2009. This will be her second stint in DC, as she played for the Mystics in parts of four seasons before being traded in 2007 for Monique Currie.

Melvin is expected to be the backup center, and help guide inconsistent second-year starter Nakia Sanford. 

Marissa Coleman joins former Maryland teammate Crystal Langhorne who was selected in the first round of last year’s draft.