1997 WNBA draft

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The 1997 WNBA draft was the inaugural draft held by the WNBA through which teams could select new players from a talent pool of college and professional women's basketball players. Unlike later drafts, this draft was unique because there were three different stages in which teams built their rosters. First on January 22, 1997, the Initial Player Allocation draft took place in which 16 players were assigned to each team in no particular order. The elite draft portion comprised professional women's basketball players who had competed in other leagues, usually international leagues. On February 27, 1997, an elite draft added two more players to each team. On April 28, 1997, the four rounds of the regular WNBA draft took place. Draftees Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, and Tina Thompson would become the core pieces of the Houston Comets dynasty.

Key

PG Point guard SG Shooting guard SF Small forward PF Power forward C Center
! Denotes player who has been inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
^ Denotes player who has been inducted to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
* Denotes player who has been selected for at least one All-Star Game and All-WNBA Team
+ Denotes player who has been selected for at least one All-Star Game
x Denotes player who has been selected for at least one All-WNBA Team
# Denotes player who never played in the WNBA regular season or playoffs

Initial player allocation

Pick Player Position Nationality WNBA Team School/Club Team
1 Vicky Bullett ^ C  United States Charlotte Sting Maryland
2 Andrea Stinson + G  United States Charlotte Sting NC State
3 Janice Lawrence Braxton ^ C  United States Cleveland Rockers Louisiana Tech
4 Michelle Edwards ^ G  United States Cleveland Rockers Iowa
5 Sheryl Swoopes ! ^ F  United States Houston Comets Texas Tech
6 Cynthia Cooper ! ^ G  United States Houston Comets USC
7 Lisa Leslie ! ^ C  United States Los Angeles Sparks USC
8 Penny Toler G  United States Los Angeles Sparks Long Beach State
9 Rebecca Lobo ! ^ C/F  United States New York Liberty Connecticut
10 Teresa Weatherspoon ^ G  United States New York Liberty Louisiana Tech
11 Michele Timms ^ G  Australia Phoenix Mercury WTV Wuppertal (Germany)
12 Jennifer Gillom ^ C  United States Phoenix Mercury Ole Miss
13 Ruthie Bolton-Holifield ^ G  United States Sacramento Monarchs Auburn
14 Bridgette Gordon ^ F  United States Sacramento Monarchs Tennessee
15 Elena Baranova C/F  Russia Utah Starzz CSKA Moscow (Russia)
16 Lady Hardmon G  United States Utah Starzz Georgia

Elite draft

The elite draft portion was composed of professional women's basketball players who had competed in other leagues, usually international leagues. It was the first time where the teams could draft the players out of a talent pool.

Round Pick Player Position Nationality Team School/club team
1 1 Dena Head G  United States Utah Starzz Tennessee
1 2 Isabelle Fijalkowski C/F  France Cleveland Rockers Colorado
1 3 Rhonda Mapp C/F  United States Charlotte Sting NC State
1 4 Kym Hampton C/F  United States New York Liberty Arizona State
1 5 Wanda Guyton F  United States Houston Comets South Florida
1 6 Judy Mosley-McAfee F  United States Sacramento Monarchs Hawaii
1 7 Bridget Pettis F  United States Phoenix Mercury Florida
1 8 Daedra Charles C  United States Los Angeles Sparks Tennessee
2 9 Wendy Palmer F  United States Utah Starzz Virginia
2 10 Lynette Woodard G  United States Cleveland Rockers Kansas
2 11 Michi Atkins F  United States Charlotte Sting Texas Tech
2 12 Vickie Johnson F  United States New York Liberty Louisiana Tech
2 13 Janeth Arcain F  Brazil Houston Comets Polti (Brazil)
2 14 Mikiko Hagiwara G  Japan Sacramento Monarchs Japan Energy Griffins (Japan)
2 15 Nancy Lieberman-Cline G  United States Phoenix Mercury Old Dominion
2 16 Zheng Haixia C  China Los Angeles Sparks China

College draft

Round Pick Player Position Nationality Team School/club team
1 1 Tina Thompson ! ^ F  United States Houston Comets USC
1 2 Pamela McGee C  United States Sacramento Monarchs USC
1 3 Jamila Wideman G  United States Los Angeles Sparks Stanford
1 4 Eva Nemcova G  Czech Republic Cleveland Rockers Bourges (France)
1 5 Tammi Reiss G  United States Utah Starzz Virginia
1 6 Sue Wicks F  United States New York Liberty Rutgers
1 7 Tora Suber G  United States Charlotte Sting Virginia
1 8 Toni Foster F/C  United States Phoenix Mercury Iowa
2 9 Tia Jackson G/F  United States Phoenix Mercury Iowa
2 10 Sharon Manning C/F  United States Charlotte Sting NC State
2 11 Sophia Witherspoon G  United States New York Liberty Florida
2 12 Jessie Hicks F/C  United States Utah Starzz Maryland
2 13 Merlakia Jones G/F  United States Cleveland Rockers Florida
2 14 Tamecka Dixon G  United States Los Angeles Sparks Kansas
2 15 Denique Graves C  United States Sacramento Monarchs Howard
2 16 Tammy Jackson F/C  United States Houston Comets Florida
3 17 Racquel Spurlock C  United States Houston Comets Louisiana Tech
3 18 Chantel Tremitiere G  United States Sacramento Monarchs Auburn
3 19 Katrina Colleton G  United States Los Angeles Sparks Maryland
3 20 Tina Nicholson G  United States Cleveland Rockers Penn State
3 21 Raegan Scott F/C  United States Utah Starzz Colorado
3 22 Trena Trice F/C  United States New York Liberty NC State
3 23 Debra Williams G  United States Charlotte Sting Louisiana Tech
3 24 Umeki Webb G/F  United States Phoenix Mercury NC State
4 25 Monique Ambers F  United States Phoenix Mercury Arizona State
4 26 Andrea Congreaves F/C  United Kingdom Charlotte Sting Mercer
4 27 Kisha Ford G/F  United States New York Liberty Georgia Tech
4 28 Kim Williams G  United States Utah Starzz DePaul
4 29 Anita Maxwell F  United States Cleveland Rockers New Mexico State
4 30 Travesa Gant C  United States Los Angeles Sparks Lamar
4 31 Tajama Abraham C  United States Sacramento Monarchs George Washington
4 32 Catarina Pollini F  Italy Houston Comets Texas

Notable undrafted players

These players were not selected in the 1997 WNBA draft but played at least one game for the WNBA.

Player Position Nationality School/club team
Marcie Alberts G  United States Ohio State
Jenny Boucek[1] G  United States Virginia
Janice Braxton[2] F  United States Louisiana Tech
Rushia Brown[3] F  United States Furman
Linda Burgess[4] F  United States Alabama
Michelle Edwards G  United States Iowa
Pietra Gay[5] G/F  Trinidad and Tobago LSU
Kim Gessig[6] F  United States USC
Nekeshia Henderson G  United States Texas
Mwadi Mabika G/F  Zaire Tourbillon Kinshasa (Congo)
Yolanda Moore F  United States Ole Miss
Kim Perrot PG  United States Southwestern Louisiana
Tiffany Woosley G  United States Tennessee

References

  1. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20010430030949/http://wnba.com/playerfile/career/jenny_boucek.html
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20010305025641/http://wnba.com/playerfile/career/janice_braxton.html
  3. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20010415021010/http://wnba.com/playerfile/career/rushia_brown.html
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20010220211709/http://wnba.com/playerfile/career/linda_burgess.html
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/19980208062146/http://www.wnba.com/playerfile/pietra_gay.html
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20010712172125/http://www.wnba.com/playerfile/kim_gessig.html
  • "All-Time WNBA Draft List". WNBA. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
  • "WNBA Elite Draft". WNBA. Archived from the original on April 16, 1997. Retrieved August 6, 2016.
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