WNBA: Brittney Griner left an indelible mark on women’s college basketball. Now she’s ready to take on the pros.
The Phoenix Mercury took Baylor’s star center with the top pick in the WNBA draft Monday night. Despite knowing she was going first, the two-time Associated Press Player of the Year admitted she was extremely nervous.
“It’s a dream come true; I’m like a little kid in Disney World the first time meeting all the characters,” Griner said. “Sitting at the table they said 15 seconds and my heart started beating so fast. I was grabbing the tablecloth underneath.”
The 6-foot-8 phenom finished as the second all-time scorer in women’s NCAA history, with 3,283 points. She is the top shot-blocker, shattering both the men’s and women’s college marks with 748. She also had a women’s record 18 dunks – including 11 this season.
Chicago added a budding star in Elena Delle Donne with the No. 2 pick to an already stacked roster that just missed making the playoff last season. The 6-foot-5 forward, who can play multiple positions, was second in the nation in scoring (26.0) and averaged 8.5 rebounds. She finished her career at Delaware with 3,039 career points – fifth all-time in NCAA history.
Tulsa took Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins with the third pick. Diggins averaged 17.1 points, 6.1 assists and 3.1 steals while helping the Irish reach the Final Four the past three seasons.
Seattle, which will be without Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird this season because of injuries, took Maryland’s Tianna Hawkins with the sixth pick.
Training camps open May 5, with the league’s 17th season set to begin on May 24.
Thunder clinch top seed in the West
NBA: Kevin Durant scored 29 points, Russell Westbrook had 21 before getting ejected in the final 3 minutes and the Oklahoma City Thunder clinched the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs by beating the Sacramento Kings 104-95 in Oklahoma City.
• Jazz keep playoff hopes alive: Al Jefferson had 22 points and eight rebounds to help Utah keep its playoff hopes alive with a 96-80 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis.
The Jazz still need to win at Memphis on Wednesday and for the Los Angeles Lakers to lose at home against Houston that night to get into the playoffs.
• Bobcats top Knicks: Gerald Henderson scored 27 points, Kemba Walker had 23 points and a career-high 13 assists and the Charlotte Bobcats defeated a New York Knicks team playing without Carmelo Anthony and a few others 106-95 in Charlotte, N.C.
The victory was the second straight for the Bobcats, who pulled into a tie with Orlando for the worst record in the league.
• Bulls rout Magic: Carlos Boozer scored 22 points, Luol Deng added 18 and the Chicago Bulls snapped a two-game losing streak with a 102-84 victory over the Orlando Magic in Orlando, Fla.
Chicago still has a chance to catch Atlanta for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
• Heat edge Cavaliers: LeBron James watched from the bench in street clothes as Norris Cole stripped Kyrie Irving of the ball with 2.2 seconds left to give the Miami Heat, resting most of their top players for the playoffs, a 96-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland.
Cole finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists.
• Grizzlies rally past Mavericks: Keyon Dooling scored 13 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer before consecutive baskets by Ed Davis, and the Memphis Grizzlies rallied to keep alive their chance of hosting a first-round playoff series with a 103-97 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas.
• Pacers-Celtics game canceled: The Boston Celtics’ home game against the Indiana Pacers scheduled for tonight has been canceled because of the Boston Marathon bombings.
It will not be rescheduled.
• Dr. J documentary airing in June: An upcoming documentary will look at the life and career of Julius Erving, on the 30th anniversary of his only NBA championship.
“The Doctor” will air on NBA TV on June 10, between games of the NBA Finals. The 90-minute program features rare footage from his ABA career. Dr. J later came to the NBA and helped the Philadelphia 76ers win the 1983 title.
Blackhawks streak to sixth straight victory
NHL: Chicago’s Andrew Shaw, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Marian Hossa scored in the third period after Dallas rallied to tie it, and the Blackhawks went on to beat the Stars 5-2 for their sixth straight win.
Jonathan Toews netted his team-leading 21st goal, and Viktor Stalberg also scored for NHL-leading Chicago, which has points in nine consecutive games (8-0-1). Ray Emery made 16 saves and improved to 16-1.
• Canucks stay hot: Ryan Kesler scored two goals and Roberto Luongo made 36 saves to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators in Nashville, Tenn.
Derek Roy, Jason Garrison, and Alex Burrows also scored for Vancouver, which has won five of its past six.
• Hartnell sparks Flyers: Scott Hartnell scored three goals and the Philadelphia Flyers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal.
Montreal has suffered two lopsided losses since clinching a playoff spot on Thursday.
• Devils’ losing streak hits 10: James Reimer made 31 saves, and Phil Kessel snapped a scoreless tie late in the third period to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 2-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils in Toronto, despite recording only 12 shots on goal.
• Columbus wins, pulls even with Detroit: Nick Foligno scored at 4:31 of overtime, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 shots and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in Denver for their fourth straight win.
Blake Comeau, Mark Letestu and R.J. Umberger also added goals to help the Blue Jackets remain in the thick of a tightly packed playoff chase. They pulled even in points (47) with Detroit for the final playoff spot.
Earthquakes ‘appalled’ by gay slur
Soccer: The president of the San Jose Earthquakes says he is appalled that forward Alan Gordon directed an anti-gay slur at Portland’s Will Johnson.
Dave Kaval said that Gordon’s actions have let down the team’s fans and Kaval will do whatever is necessary so the team can be “viewed as a beacon of diversity, community, and equality.”
Gordon apologized after the match and said his comments don’t reflect his views. Gordon could face a three-game suspension from MLS.