Ogwumike No. 1 Overall In WNBA Draft
STANFORD's Nnemkadi Ogwumike was selected the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks, which was held on Monday in Bristol, Conn. Ogwumike is the second player in Pac-12 history to be selected the overall No. 1 pick and the first since 1997.
Four total Pac-12 players were selected in this year's WNBA Draft. USC has two players selected with Jacki Gemelos (Stockton, Calif.) and Briana Gilbreath (Katy, Texas) being picked in the third round, while OREGON's Amanda Johnson (Santa Rosa, Calif.) was also drafted in the final round. Since the inaugural draft in 1997, 71 players have been selected from Pac-12 teams.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Cypress, Texas) is the 68th player all-time drafted from a Pac-12 team and the 21st Stanford player all-time to be selected. She is the program's 10th first-round pick all-time, as well. She is the first No. 1 pick since USC great Tina Thompson was picked by the Houston Comets in 1997.
Ogwumike is a three-time All-American and all-conference pick. She was voted the league's Player of the Year by the coaches twice, earning the honor as a sophomore in 2010 and a senior in 2012. She led the Cardinal to four-straight NCAA Final Four appearances, reaching the national championship game in her sophomore campaign.
Ogwumike ends her collegiate career ranked second all-time in the Pac-12 record books in scoring, tallying 2,491 points in four seasons. Her 1,226 career boards ranks third all-time. She boasts a 58.3 percent shooting in her career, ranking fifth all-time in Conference history.
Gemelos was drafted in the third round by the Minnesota Lynx with the 31st overall pick, despite not playing most of the 2011-12 campaign because of a knee injury. The guard has suffered multiple injuries to both knees since high school. She was the nation's top recruit in the country in 2006 and was named National Player if the Year. In her first full collegiate campaign last year, she was named Honorable Mention All-Pac-10. Entering her final season, Gemelos was named to the Naismith Award preseason watch list. She was averaging 11.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game before her injury in December.
Gemelos' teammate Gilbreath was taken in the third round, as well, with the 35th-overall pick by the Washington Mystics. Gilbreath was a four-time all-conference pick and the 2010 Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year, as voted on by the league's coaches, and was named to the league's all-defensive team three times. Last year, she was an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American, leading the Trojans to the championship game of the WNIT. She ends her collegiate career ranked 36th all-time in the Pac-12 in scoring (1,608) and 31st in rebounding (813).
Gemelos and Gilbreath hope to follow in the footsteps of former USC greats who went on to have successful careers in the WNBA. Among the former Trojans to play in the WNBA are Tina Thompson, Lisa Leslie and current LA Sparks forward Ebony Hoffman.
Selected by the Phoenix Mercury in the third round with the 33rd overall pick, Johnson powered the Ducks' offense in her final three seasons, averaging 15.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and was named All-Pac-12 as a senior in 2011-12. She posted double-digit double-doubles this season and ends her collegiate career ranked 49th all-time in the Conference in scoring (1,505) and 21st in rebounding (893). Johnson is the first player from Oregon to be drafted since Catherine Kraayeveld was selected in 2005. Kraayeveld has played seven years in the WNBA and was a member of the Atlanta Dream during the 2011 campaign.