Whether the Storm is needed to find a center in the WNBA Draft is debatable, but there’s no question that Seattle gained a lot of importance when it picked Alyssa Kunen in the second round on Monday night with a total of 17 .
“The plan was to strengthen our front court,” said Storm coach Noel Quinn. “When you go through the (evaluation) process and as the draft happens there are certain things that make you pivot.
“We didn’t think quinine would be available and we always discussed as a group that a skilled bigot was something we were concerned about.”
Kunane, a 6-foot-5 center, is one of the most decorated players in North Carolina state basketball history. During her four-year career, she has been named to nine different All-America teams, has been a four-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion and is a two-time ACC tournament MVP.
He averaged 14.8 points and 7.9 rebounds in a game, shooting 54.0% and starting 101 out of 125 games. He ranks first in program history in free-throw meds (513), fifth in rebounds (513), sixth in career points (1,855) and seventh in double-doubles (34).
“My time at NC State has improved my ability to shoot all three,” Kunene said during an ESPN interview. “I look forward to expanding it.”
Kunane was one of 12 players invited to New York City to participate in the WNBA Draft, the first in person since 2019.
Several mock drafts have predicted that Kunen will be chosen between the No. 5 and No. 12 options.
“It was a little unexpected,” said Seattle general manager Talisa Ria. “We were thinking she would go over us. As we got closer to our liking and she became available, we were excited to have the opportunity to have her. We felt she was the best fit for our roster in that position ”
Two months earlier, the Storm traded Katie Lou Samuelson to the Los Angeles Sparks for a total number 9 in the WNBA Draft and forward Gabby Williams.
This is the second year in a row that Seattle settled their first-round draft pick after selecting Texas A&M guard Aaliyah Wilson last year and promptly sending her to Indiana Fever in exchange for guard Kennedy Burke.
On Monday, Storm had three options in the second round and a third-round pick. Seattle followed Connecticut guard Evina Westbrook with the No. 21 overall selection and Australian guard Jade Melbourne at No. 33.
The Storm also picked Georgia Tech forward Lorela Cubaz, who was selected with the No. 18 overall pick before being traded to the New York Liberty for a future second-round option.
It is not immediately clear whether the 19-year-old will join the WNBA this season in Melbourne or stay abroad.
It is also uncertain whether Cunanan and Westbrook will have a long future with the Storm, given the constraints of the team’s projected lineup and salary cap.
Currently, Seattle’s roster has 13 players, excluding three rookies. The WNBA roster limit is 12 and Quinn said the Storm plans to start the season with 11 players.
Sue Bird, Brenna Stewart, Jewel Lloyd, Mercedes Russell as well as newcomers Gabby Williams and Brian Jan have guaranteed contracts, which makes them locked in to the team.
Quinn indicated that Ezzie Magbegor, Stephanie Talbot and Kennedy Burke are prominently involved in Storm’s plans, while newly signed Gentle Lavender is expected to provide less post depth.
Presumably, this leaves veteran backup guards Epiphany Prince and Mickey ‘Kiki’ Herbert Harrigan, who missed last season due to pregnancy leave, battling rookies for roster spots alongside training camp invitee Lauren Mannis. Were were
When asked about the prospects of Kunane building up the roster, Quinn said, “Just to be transparent, it’s tough.” “If you look at who we have and our contracts and all that, we honestly have a place. It’s about getting into camp and being the best version of ourselves and wooing us in a way that might be That the things we’ve built up as an employee and as a ownership group, we might see a few things in the camp that prompt us to re-adjust our roster.
“This is the mindset you have to develop in the second round. It’s not that you’re getting into a position that won’t necessarily allow you to build a team, but you’re going to be in a position that is auditioning and every single day at a point in everything you do. Whether it is on the floor or off the court. … go to camp and do your best and understand that there are only 144 (players in the league). Drafting is wonderful, but the work doesn’t stop there. ,
Hurricane is starting training camp on Sunday.
– Atlanta Dream picked Kentucky forward Rhine Howard with the No. 1 overall pick.
– With four selections in the first round, Indiana Fever beat boiler forward Nalissa Smith in second, Louisville forward Emily Engstler at No. 4, Stanford guard Lexi Hull, a Spokane product, at No. 6 and Boiler center Queen Egbo at No. 1 selected. 10.
– The Las Vegas Aces had two first-round choices and caught Colorado forward Maia Hollingshead at No. 8 and Florida Gulf Coast guard Kirsten Bell at No. 11.
– The Washington Mystics took on Mississippi center Shakira Austin with the third overall choice. At No. 5, New York got Oregon center Nyra Sabli and Northwestern guard Veronica Burton went to the Dallas Wings at No. 7.
– With a pick from the Storm, the Los Angeles Sparks edged out Rae Burrell from Tennessee at No. 9, and the Connecticut Sun ended the first round by picking Michigan State guard Nia Claudeen with 12.th overall option.