Gonzaga star Kayla Standish was selected by the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx with the 19th overall pick of the draft Monday. Teammate Katelan Redmon, who began her college career at Washington, was taken by New York with the 36th and final pick of the draft.
The thrill was quickly dampened by reality.
After waiting patiently to hear her name called in Monday’s WNBA draft, Gonzaga star Kayla Standish realized it was the best team in the league that selected her. The versatile forward was taken with the 19th overall pick by defending champion Minnesota.
Not only do the Lynx return the bulk of their title-winning team, they have a young roster with quality depth.
“It’ll be a rough training camp,” said Standish, who was invited to attend the draft in Bristol, Conn., and sat with her father and Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves. “There’s not as many spots on the roster, so it’ll just be difficult. But basketball is never easy, and it’s not easy getting to the next level. For me, I just need to go in with a good mindset and just work my butt off to show people what I can do.”
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Standish won’t be the only Zag hustling to impress WNBA coaches. Katelan Redmon, who began her college career at Washington before transferring to Gonzaga, was the last pick in the draft (36th overall), going to New York. They are the third and fourth players in program history to be selected, joining Vivian Frieson (2010) and Courtney Vandersloot (2011).
Vandersloot started at point guard for Chicago last season and was an All-Star reserve pick. Frieson was cut by Tulsa in her first training camp, then played a season in Australia before retiring from hoops last year.
“I believe (Standish’s) best basketball is ahead of her,” Graves said from Bristol. “She is a player that has worked hard and improved. For her to be rewarded by being drafted is phenomenal.
“(Redmon) is impressive. The WNBA is the type of game that is right up her alley.”
Standish has two classes to complete in order to graduate, but said one will be finished before she leaves next week for Minnesota. The Storm doesn’t host the Lynx until June 17 at KeyArena.
Shortly after being selected by Seattle at No. 2 overall, forward Shekinna Stricklen had the opportunity to meet her new fans via video call. One mention of their nickname, “Storm Crazies,” by Stricklen, and the crowd gathered at Storm headquarters erupted.
“They just started yelling and cheering. It was great. I can’t wait to be around the fans,” said Stricklen. “I’ve read about them. It’s going to be crazy.”
Washington coach Kevin McGuff and assistant Adia Barnes, who is also a Storm color analyst, attended the draft event in Seattle.
Four Pac-12 players were chosen Monday, including Stanford forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who went at the No. 1 overall pick by Los Angeles.
USC guard Jacki Gemelos (31st overall to Minnesota), Oregon guard Amanda Johnson (33rd to Phoenix) and USC forward Briana Gilbreath (35th to Washington) also were drafted.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org