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Sports >  NCAA basketball

‘I was in shock’: Lexie Hull embraces challenge of WNBA after being drafted sixth overall by Indiana

UPDATED: Sat., April 16, 2022

For the first time in her basketball career, Lexie Hull is an underdog.

Bring it on, the former Central Valley and Stanford star said this week at a news conference in Indianapolis.

On Monday, Hull was picked sixth overall in the WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever, a franchise that’s in rebuilding mode after finishing dead last in 2021 with a 6-24 record.

The Fever, however, have plenty of new material with which to work, including seven draft picks. Perhaps the most surprising was Hull, who was projected to get drafted in the middle of the second round at the earliest.

In predraft conversations, however, Hull was told that the Fever were looking for someone who competed hard, who hated to lose, who worked hard on every possession and who could shoot the long ball.

“My entire time at Stanford, those were the things I enjoyed doing,” Hull said Thursday in a news conference for the Indiana rookies.

“When they explained that, it felt like I was checking a lot of those boxes,” said Hull, who along with twin sister Lacie won state and national titles at CV and the NCAA Tournament with Stanford in 2021.

Then again, it was a surprise to hear her name called that early. On Monday afternoon, Hull was awaiting the draft in Palo Alto, California, with her parents, Lacie and most of her Stanford teammates. Expecting a longer wait, Hull and her guests got a pleasant surprise.

“We heard Stanford guard, and everyone started screaming,” Hull said. “My jaw dropped. I was in shock. It was the best moment ever.”

Getting picked sixth put Hull in some impressive company as the top pick to come out of Spokane. In 2009, former Lewis and Clark star Briann January also went sixth, to the Fever.

Since Monday, Hull has heard from dozens of people in the Spokane area – especially after Stanford won the regionals last month at the Arena.

“Spokane is home for me, and I’m so proud to be able to call it home,” she said. “The amount of people that have reached out, the amount of support I feel the past couple days, and even my entire time at Stanford, was unmatched.

“To be able to bring that back to Spokane, I just feel really special about it, and hopefully bring back another championship, too.”

That will take some work. Indiana, which hasn’t had a winning season since 2016, will be relying heavily on its new players.

“I think it’s that much more exciting because we, as a draft class, can have an impact this season unlike other teams,” Hull said.

“That ability, that opportunity excites me a lot. I’m just excited to shock the league because the league doesn’t know our team. They don’t know the Fever right now because we’re all new.”

Hull should give the Fever a boost with her long-range shooting. As a senior, she shot 39.3% from 3-point range.

First, she has to make the team, which isn’t a certainty even for a first-round pick. The Fever have 22 players signed to training camp, but only 12 roster spots.

“I think just coming in with that mindset that you can’t take anything for granted,” Hull said. … “I knew declaring for the draft that the draft was super exciting, super important, but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t secure you a spot on a team. It doesn’t secure you playing time. It’s what we do when we get out on the court that matters, so I’m excited to compete and get out there and play.”

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