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Frieson drafted

GU senior Vivian Frieson has her eye on the ball during practice Friday. (Colin Mulvany)
GU senior Vivian Frieson has her eye on the ball during practice Friday. (Colin Mulvany)

Calling it more than a dream come true, Gonzaga senior Vivian Frieson was selected in the WNBA Draft Thursday afternoon.

Frieson was picked by the Tulsa Shock with the seventh pick in the third round, 31st overall. The Shock is a the highly successful (on the court) Detroit franchise that moved to Tulsa after last season.

The graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle is the first Zag to get drafted and we could say the fourth Spokane-based player, joining three GSL alumns who were drafted. Those details are in the unedited story I filed for Friday's paper, posted below.

By Dave Trimmer

davet@spokesman.com; (509) 927-2154

Hope became a reality for Vivian Frieson Thursday afternoon when she became the first Gonzaga Bulldog drafted by the WNBA.

The Seattle native was taken in the third round by the Tulsa Shock, the 31st pick overall.

“I didn’t really expect to get drafted but I hoped to get drafted,” the versatile 6-foot forward said. “There is a lot of great talent and I wasn’t expecting to get drafted as it got later and later. When I saw my name I was so excited.”

Frieson’s stock improved dramatically as the Bulldogs advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.

After the Zags defeated North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Frieson hit the game-winning shot with 18 seconds left in a 72-71 win over Texas A&M.

“I think it came down to the tournament,” she said. “I had it a decent tournamenet . That put me out there and some coaches noticed.”

Frieson averaged 12.5 points on 52.8 percent shooting and 12.5 rebounds with 70 assists, 46 steals and 45 blocks as Gonzaga went 29-5. In three NCAA Tournament games she averaged 16 points and 8.7 rebounds with nine blocks, nine assists and six steals.

“I always said this is something I wanted to do,” she said, “but it’s more than a dream come true.”

The Shock, which played the past 11 seasons in Detroit and won WNBA titles in 2006 and 2008, is coached by Nolan Richardson, best known as the University of Arkansas men’s coach.

The team drafted Amanda Thompson of Oklahoma in the first round and recently added former Olympic sprinter Marion Jones, who was a guard on North Carolina’s 1994 NCAA championship team.

Frieson is the first player from a local college to be drafted by the WNBA but not the first local player to be drafted.

Briann January, who went to high school at Lewis and Clark and played collegiately at Arizona State, was the sixth overall pick last year by Indiana, which made it to the WNBA Finals last summer. Two years early, January’s college teammate and Central Valley graduate Emily Westerberg was taken in the third round by Phoenix, although she chose not to play.

Mead graduate Stacy Clinesmith, who went to UC Santa Barbara, was taken by Sacramento in the second round of the 2000 draft.

Andrea Lloyd, a Moscow graduate who played at Texas, was a third-round pick of Minnesota’s in 1999 but she first played in the ABL, as did Coeur d’Alene and Purdue graduate Carissa Yasen and Washington State’s Jenni Ruff.




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