Coates was drafted next with the second overall by Chicago. WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes delivers the news that Coates' didn't have to wait long to hear. "Alaina Coates from SC".
The WNBA moved the draft to NY after a successful stint at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun the last few years. "When it happened I was just overcome with so much happiness and excitement". I think I'm still coming off the national championship high. "I hustle. I'm not afraid to dive to get a loose ball".
"It's very exciting", Coates said.
The timing, Allisha Gray said a few weeks ago, was right to leave college early for the WNBA.
Analyst LaChina Robinson called Coates the "most pro ready" player in the draft, and expects her to immediately contribute with defense and rebounding. "I don't know when I'll be able to play".
The 6-foot-4 center was South Carolina's career leader in field-goal percentage and defensive rebounds.
Her selection will also be significant from a program perspective.
Dallas is in major rebuilding mode after finishing with the second worst record in the WNBA last season (ahead of only San Antonio).
The increased workload and nightly battles with other bigs around the league is actually something she's looking forward to though. "Whenever it's time for me to get back out there, I'm going to take it slow doing the basics, and just take it from there". I'm so blessed to have played with each and every one of you, what an incredible group of women!
"I was definitely projected like two through eight", she said in a video news conference afterward.
For now though, its all about rehab and getting healthy. "It means a lot". "I'm very proud of her, how she grew up this year". "For them to still take a chance on me, they obviously see potential and they believe in me and so I'm thankful they took a chance like that with me".
With the first pick in the third round (25th overall), the Stars selected Tennessee forward/center Schaquilla Nunn. "I'll be really surprised if she's not picked first". I'm glad the Dallas Wings have confidence in me and chose me. "Timing is everything", Gray told ESPN. "I've been improving my ball handling".
"Find your fit in the system and then stick to that and do it well", she said.
Two down, one to go.
Davis comes from esteemed basketball pedigree.
But it was an atmosphere far different from the National Basketball Association draft: Instead of being guided backstage, players could mingle with former players and their families on the second floor of the interactive experience after their big moment. Her 18 points against Mississippi State in the title game capped a brilliant career that was defined by USC although she only played one season there. She also played the second most minutes on the squad for the year, 1030 total. Both Gray and Davis are excited to be reunited in Dallas. She's a player who can create her own shots from anywhere on the floor.
SC coach Dawn Staley was at the draft and thrilled to see her three players get picked. It's special and I'm super excited.
With a huge smile sprawled across her face, Gray shared a similar sentiment. The Gamecocks became just the third school to have three players taken in the opening round, joining Tennessee, Georgia and UConn.