The defending champion Seattle Storm picked Penn State standout Tanisha Wright in the first round of the WNBA draft Saturday...

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SEATTLE – The defending champion Seattle Storm picked Penn State standout Tanisha Wright in the first round of the WNBA draft Saturday.

Wright was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for three consecutive years from 2003 to 2005.

“We were surprised and pleased to get Tanisha Wright with the 12th pick,” Storm coach Anne Donovan said after the draft in Secaucus, N.J.

Wright, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., was an AP All-America honorable mention as a junior and was named to the All-Big Ten First Team in 2004 and 2005. She averaged 14.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 134 career games for the Lady Lions.

“I am very excited and overwhelmed about the opportunity to join the defending champion Storm, which has so much talent with Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird and Betty Lennox,” Wright said. “Training camp begins in nearly a week and I’m looking forward to working with Coach Donovan and the team.”

In the second round, Seattle selected 6-foot forward Ashley Battle from Connecticut with the 25th overall pick. Battle averaged 7.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 134 career games for the Huskies. Battle, of Pittsburgh, earned a gold medal as a member of the 2000 USA Junior World Championship qualifying team and was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2003.

With the 38th overall selection in the third round, the Storm chose Steffanie Blackmon, a 6-foot-2 forward from Baylor, this year’s NCAA champion team. Blackmon, who earned AP All-America third team and All-Big 12 First Team honors in 2005, averaged 14.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 132 career games for Baylor.

The Storm opens its 2005 season May 21 in Seattle against the Los Angeles Sparks.