UNCASVILLE, Conn. – It was a busy draft night for the Connecticut Sun.
Minutes after taking Chiney Ogwumike with the top pick in the WNBA draft Monday night, the Sun made a blockbuster deal to trade 2012 MVP Tina Charles to the New York Liberty.
The Sun acquired the Liberty’s first pick this year, which turned out to be Alyssa Thomas of Maryland at No. 4, as well as Kelsey Bone and New York’s first-round pick next year. Charles told the Sun that if she wasn’t traded she would sit out this year.
“We’re not going to be held hostage by anybody,” Sun vice president and general manager Chris Sienko said. “We had to do what’s best for our organization and fan base. New York came back with a significant offer. … That’s a great trade.”
Ogwumike joined her sister Nneka, drafted by Los Angeles in 2012, as the only siblings to be chosen first in the WNBA.
“To be picked No. 1 in front of those Connecticut fans with my family and sister, it’s unreal,” Chiney Ogwumike said.
“When someone told me that I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s pretty cool,’ ” Chiney Ogwumike said. “We fell into the sport and found our passion in it and now it’s life. To share that moment with my sister, she’s the reason I play, and to be called a No. 1 draft pick is inconceivable.”
Chiney Ogwumike finished her stellar career at Stanford as the top scorer and rebounder in Pac-12 history.
Odyssey Sims of Baylor went second to Tulsa, which means she’ll team up with former Notre Dame star Skylar Diggins.
“Me and Skylar will make a great backcourt,” said Sims, who scored 1,054 points – second all time for a single year.
San Antonio took Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride No. 3.
The Indiana Fever selected Natasha Howard of Florida State with the fifth pick. UConn teammates Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley went with the next two picks to Washington and Seattle. Hartley was later traded by the Storm to the Mystics to reconnect the Huskies.
Training camps open April 27, and the WNBA’s 18th season tips off on May 16.