Lynx go big in WNBA draft 17 Apr 12

Photo Courtesy WNBA

The Minnesota Lynx today selected Notre Dame forward Devereaux Peters with the third overall pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft. Peters, a 6-2 forward from Chicago, Ill., averaged personal bests in points (11.8 ppg), rebounds (9.3 rpg) and assists (2.1 apg) last season as a fifth-year senior.

“We’re excited to welcome Devereaux to the organization,” said Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith. “With the third pick, we were looking to improve to our team’s depth. Devereaux’s tremendous energy, especially on the defensive end, will be a valuable asset for our team in the years to come.”

A two-time BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and All-BIG EAST First Team member, Peters finished her career as only the second player in school history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 150 blocks and 150 steals. She finished her career averaging 10.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.7 steals in 22.3 minutes per contest.

As a senior last season, Peters helped lead the Irish to their second NCAA Championship game in as many seasons. She was a finalist for the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year as well as an AP All-American honorable mention. Johnson finished the season as the only BIG EAST player to rank in the top ten in the conference in the three major defensive categories, ranking first in rebounding, third in blocked shots (2.0 bpg) and ninth in steals (2.0 spg).

After selecting Notre Dame forward Devereaux Peters with the third overall pick, the Lynx concluded their draft with the 12th overall choice, three second-round selections (18, 19 and 20) and one third-round pick (31). At No. 12, Minnesota selected center Damiris Dantas out of Brazil. Next the Lynx, with three consecutive second-round picks, selected forward Julie Wojta (Wisconsin-Green Bay), forward Kayla Standish (Gonzaga) and guard Nika Baric (Slovenia). To finish out their draft, the Lynx took Jacki Gemelos (USC) with pick No. 31.

A 19-year old from Brazil, Dantas (6-4, center) was named MVP of the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Chile. Dantas led Brazil to a bronze medal, its first medal at the U19 World Championship, averaging tournament-highs of 20.9 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. Her play earned her a position on the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship team, where she faced off with the best competition in the world including Lynx players Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen. She finished the competition second on Brazil with 10.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest. Most recently, Dantas played for Real Celta Vigo in the Spanish Liga Femenina de Balconesto (LFB), averaging a team-high 13.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

Wojta, a 6-0 forward out of Wisconsin-Green Bay, led the Horizon League with 19.5 points and 3.8 steals per game last season while leading Wisconsin-Green Bay to its first Sweet Sixteen appearance in school history. She led the Phoenix to a school-record 34 victories, Horizon League regular season and tournament championships and two NCAA tournament wins before ultimately losing to the NCAA Champion Baylor Bears. Wojta was named an AP Second Team All-American, becoming the first player in program history to earn All-American status.

Standish, a 6-2 forward out of Gonzaga, led the Bulldogs in points (16.4 ppg), rebounds (7.5 rpg) and blocks (1.5 bpg) last season en route to being named to the All-West Coast Conference First Team for the second consecutive year. As a junior in 2010-11, Standish started all 36 games for the Bulldogs, reaching double-figures in 31 games, topping the 20-point mark 12 times. She became one of just five players in Gonzaga history to score 600-plus points in a season, finishing the year with 617 total points.

A 19-year old from Slovenia, Nika Baric (5-7, guard) is currently playing overseas with Lynx guard Seimone Augustus on Spartak V MR in the Russia PBL. In Russian play Baric is averaging 4.7 points and 2.3 assists in 14.9 minutes per contest while coming off the bench for Spartak. Previously Baric has represented Slovenia on the international level, appearing in the FIBA U19 World Championship in 2011. In the competition she led Slovenia with 3.3 assists per game while ranking second on the team in both points (13.7 ppg) and rebounds (5.0 rpg).

Gemelos, a 6-0 guard out of the University of Southern California, averaged 11.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in nine games this season before suffering a season-ending knee injury in December. After battling injuries for much of her collegiate career, she appeared in 37 games (28 starts) during the 2010-11 season, averaging 11.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 30.6 minutes per contest. Her play earned her a 2011 All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention selection, and she was named to the 2011 Pac-10 All-Academic First Team.