UConn’s Charles taken No. 1 by Sun
SECAUCUS, N.J. — It’s been an unforgettable 48 hours for Tina Charles.
Less than two days after helping UConn win its second straight national championship, she was selected first by the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA draft yesterday.
“It’s unbelievable, my heart is still pounding out of my chest,’’ Charles said. “I’m more interested what impact I’ll have on the team more than just being the No. 1 pick.’’
Charles averaged more than 18 points and nine rebounds while leading UConn to an NCAA Division 1-record 78 straight victories over the past two seasons.
The Sun traded with the Minnesota Lynx to get Charles, who joins Sue Bird (2002) and Diana Taurasi (2004) as UConn players taken with the top overall pick. The three former Huskies, as well as Candace Parker (2007), are the only four players to win a national championship and be taken first in the draft the same year.
The Sun also acquired Charles’s former teammate, Renee Montgomery, from the Lynx for Monica Wright, the second pick in the draft, and former University of Minnesota star Lindsay Whalen.
“I know that we’ll have good chemistry right off the bat,’’ Charles said, about being reunited with Montgomery.
The Lynx drafted Nebraska’s Kelsey Griffin with the third pick, then dealt her to the Sun minutes later for Connecticut’s first- and second-round picks next year.
Kansas forward Danielle McCray was taken by the Sun with the seventh pick.
McCray couldn’t complete her senior season after tearing the ACL in her left knee in February. She’s expected to join the Sun in August after completing rehab.
Chicago drafted former Rutgers guard Epiphanny Prince with the fourth pick. She was unable to attend the draft because she was playing in Turkey for Botas-Spor, though her mother and father were on hand. Prince, who left Rutgers after her junior year to pursue a playing career overseas, watched it on television.
Jayne Appel, who guided Stanford to three straight Final Fours and the national title game this season, was taken fifth by San Antonio.
Washington drafted Florida State’s Jacinta Monroe with the sixth pick.
Oklahoma State star Andrea Riley went eighth to Los Angeles. Rounding out the first round, it was: Mississippi State’s Chanel Mokango to Atlanta at No. 9; Iowa State’s Alison Lacey to Seattle at No. 10; San Diego State’s Jene Morris to Indiana at No. 11; and Mississippi’s Bianca Thomas to Los Angeles at No. 12.