Who won the Women’s National Basketball Association draft? Gonzaga knows.
Bulldogs forwards Kayla Standish and Katelan Redmon were both selected Monday to play at the next level, and Standish says it was their coaches who helped take them there.
“I think the coaching staff let me show my versatility,” said Standish, who was chosen midway through the second round, and 19th overall, by the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx.
“Our posts are interchangeable, so we have free rein to what we could do, Katelan and me.”
That would be Katelan Redmon, chosen with the final pick of the draft, last in the third round, by the New York Liberty.
In one afternoon, the Gonzaga program doubled its contribution to the pro game.
“It is amazing to have had a player drafted three straight years,” Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves, who joined Standish at the draft, held at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. “That doesn’t happen often, anywhere, so I am thrilled. Our program is coming of age.”
Standish and Redmon join former Zags Courtney Vandersloot and Vivian Frieson as players who have been drafted into the WNBA.
Now comes the hard part – leaving.
“We start camp next week,” said Standish, “so I’m packing up and leaving Spokane sooner than I thought.”
Standish, a 6-foot-2 forward from Ellensburg, averaged a team-high 16.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks last year as the Bulldogs reached the NCAA Sweet 16. She was also named to the All-West Coast Conference first team.
“I am thrilled for Kayla,” Graves said. “I think she is a player that has worked hard and improved and for her to be rewarded by being drafted is phenomenal. I believe her best basketball is ahead of her and I wouldn’t be surprised if she surprises people as she moves forward. Kayla has so much to give to a team.”
The Lynx are loaded with talent, even more so after picking up six players in Monday’s draft. “But if I have a good camp, I’ll have a good chance of making the team,” Standish said.
Her biggest goal? Playing better defense, “because the WCC hasn’t had a lot of big post players to defend.” Standish will get her chance right away in camp against Maya Moore, last year’s WNBA Rookie of the Year.
Redmon will also join a winner; the Liberty went 19-15 and reached the playoffs last season.
Redmon, also a two-time All-West Coast Conference honoree and 2010 WCC Newcomer of the Year, averaged 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game as a senior. She became the 18th player in school history to eclipse 1,000 points, ending her career with 1,412 – which is ninth highest in school history – and is the Bulldogs’ career leader in field goal percentage at 51.7 percent. She also grabbed 548 rebounds, had 170 assists and made 103 steals in 102 games.
Her 81.3-percent free-throw shooting was tops on the team.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled for Katelan,” Graves said. “She has worked hard and I can see her going and winning a spot. She is impressive. The WNBA is the type of game that is right up her alley.”
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