1997 WNBA draft

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The 1997 WNBA draft was the first annual 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[edit]

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[edit]

Pick Player Nationality WNBA Team School/Club Team
1 Vicky Bullett ^ (C)  United States Charlotte Sting Maryland
2 Andrea Stinson + (G)  United States Charlotte Sting North Carolina 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 Southern California
7 Lisa Leslie ! (C)  United States Los Angeles Sparks Southern California
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 Australia
12 Jennifer Gillom ^ (C)  United States Phoenix Mercury Mississippi
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 Russia
16 Lady Hardmon (G)  United States Utah Starzz Georgia

Elite draft[edit]

Main article: WNBA 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 1[edit]

Pick Player Nationality WNBA Team School/Club Team
1 Dena Head (G)  United States Utah Starzz Tennessee
2 Isabelle Fijalkowski (C/F)  France Cleveland Rockers Colorado
3 Rhonda Mapp (C/F)  United States Charlotte Sting North Carolina State
4 Kym Hampton (C/F)  United States New York Liberty Arizona State
5 Wanda Guyton (F)  United States Houston Comets South Florida
6 Judy Mosley-McAfee (F)  United States Sacramento Monarchs Hawaii
7 Bridget Pettis (F)  United States Phoenix Mercury Florida
8 Daedra Charles (C)  United States Los Angeles Sparks Tennessee

Round 2[edit]

Pick Player Nationality WNBA Team School/Club Team
9 Wendy Palmer (F)  United States Utah Starzz Virginia
10 Lynette Woodard (G)  United States Cleveland Rockers Kansas
11 Michi Atkins (F)  United States Charlotte Sting Texas Tech
12 Vickie Johnson (F)  United States New York Liberty Louisiana Tech
13 Janeth Arcain (F)  Brazil Houston Comets Brazil
14 Mikiko Hagiwara (G)  Japan Sacramento Monarchs Japan
15 Nancy Lieberman-Cline (G)  United States Phoenix Mercury Old Dominion
16 Zheng Haixia (C)  China Los Angeles Sparks China

College draft[edit]

Round 1[edit]

Pick Player Nationality WNBA Team School/Club Team
1 Tina Thompson (F)  United States Houston Comets Southern California
2 Pamela McGee (C)  United States Sacramento Monarchs Southern California
3 Jamila Wideman (G)  United States Los Angeles Sparks Stanford
4 Eva Nemcova (G)  Czech Republic Cleveland Rockers Czech Republic
5 Tammi Reiss (G)  United States Utah Starzz Virginia
6 Sue Wicks (F)  United States New York Liberty Rutgers
7 Tora Suber (G)  United States Charlotte Sting Virginia
8 Toni Foster (F/C)  United States Phoenix Mercury Iowa

Round 2[edit]

Pick Player Nationality WNBA Team School/Club Team
9 Tia Jackson (G/F)  United States Phoenix Mercury Iowa
10 Sharon Manning (C/F)  United States Charlotte Sting North Carolina State
11 Sophia Witherspoon (G)  United States New York Liberty Florida
12 Jessie Hicks (F/C)  United States Utah Starzz Maryland
13 Merlakia Jones (G/F)  United States Cleveland Rockers Florida
14 Tamecka Dixon (G)  United States Los Angeles Sparks Kansas
15 Denique Graves (C)  United States Sacramento Monarchs Howard
16 Tammy Jackson (F/C)  United States Houston Comets Florida

Round 3[edit]

Pick Player Nationality WNBA Team School/Club Team
17 Racquel Spurlock (C)  United States Houston Comets Louisiana Tech
18 Chantel Tremitiere (G)  United States Sacramento Monarchs Auburn
19 Katrina Colleton (G)  United States Los Angeles Sparks Maryland
20 Tina Nicholson (G)  United States Cleveland Rockers Penn State
21 Raegan Scott (F/C)  United States Utah Starzz Colorado
22 Trena Trice (F/C)  United States New York Liberty North Carolina State
23 Debra Williams (G)  United States Charlotte Sting Louisiana Tech
24 Umeki Webb (G/F)  United States Phoenix Mercury North Carolina State

Round 4[edit]

Pick Player Nationality WNBA Team School/Club Team
25 Monique Ambers (F)  United States Phoenix Mercury Arizona State
26 Andrea Congreaves (F/C)  United Kingdom Charlotte Sting Mercer
27 Kisha Ford (G/F)  United States New York Liberty Georgia Tech
28 Kim Williams (G)  United States Utah Starzz DePaul
29 Anita Maxwell (F)  United States Cleveland Rockers New Mexico State
30 Travesa Gant (C)  United States Los Angeles Sparks Lamar
31 Tajama Abraham (C)  United States Sacramento Monarchs George Washington
32 Catarina Pollini (F)  Italy Houston Comets Italy

References[edit]