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Storm stunned Alissa Cunane obtainable at No. 17, however discovering her a spot on roster not sure


Whether the Storm wanted to discover a heart within the WNBA draft is a matter of debate, however there’s no query Seattle bought nice worth when it chosen Elissa Cunane with the No. 17 general selection within the second spherical Monday evening. 

“The plan was to bolster our front court,” Storm coach Noelle Quinn stated. “When you go through the (evaluation) process and as the draft happens certain things occur that kind of makes you pivot.  

“We didn’t think Cunane would be available and we always discussed as a group that a skilled big is something that we were intrigued by.” 

Cunane, a 6-foot-5 heart, is among the most embellished gamers in North Carolina State basketball historical past. During her four-year profession, she’s been named to 9 totally different All-America groups, has been an Atlantic Coast Conference champion 4 occasions and is a two-time ACC Tournament MVP.

She has averaged 14.8 factors and seven.9 rebounds a recreation whereas taking pictures 54.0% and beginning 101 of 125 video games. She ranks first in program historical past in free-throws made (513), fifth in rebounds (513), sixth in profession factors (1,855) and seventh in double-doubles (34).

“My ability to shoot the three has improved over my time at NC State,” Cunane stated throughout an ESPN interview whereas noting her 41.9% taking pictures from deep final season. “I’m looking forward to expand that.” 

Cunane was one in all 12 gamers invited to New York City to attend the WNBA draft, which was in particular person for the primary time since 2019. 

Several mock draft predicted Cunane could be chosen between the No. 5 and No. 12 selections. 

“It was a little bit unexpected,” Seattle normal supervisor Talisa Rhea stated. “We went in thinking she would go above us. As we got closer to our pick and she was available, we were excited to have that opportunity to get her. We felt like she was the best fit for our roster at that position.” 

Two months in the past, the Storm traded the No. 9 general selection within the WNBA draft and Katie Lou Samuelson to the Los Angeles Sparks for ahead Gabby Williams. 

It’s the second consecutive 12 months Seattle dealt its first-round draft decide after choosing Texas A&M guard Aaliyah Wilson final 12 months and instantly transport her to the Indiana Fever in trade for guard Kennedy Burke. 

Monday, the Storm had three selections within the second spherical and a third-round decide. Seattle acquired Connecticut guard Evina Westbrook with the No. 21 general choice and Australian guard Jade Melbourne at No. 33. 

The Storm additionally chosen Georgia Tech ahead Lorela Cubaj with the No. 18 general decide earlier than buying and selling her to the New York Liberty for a future second-round selection. 

It’s not instantly clear if the 19-year-old Melbourne will be a part of the WNBA this season or stay abroad. 

It’s additionally unsure if Cunane and Westbrook could have an extended future with the Storm contemplating the crew’s projected lineup and wage cap constraints. 

Currently, Seattle has 13 gamers on the roster, not together with the three rookies. The WNBA roster restrict is 12 and Quinn stated the Storm plan to start the season with 11 gamers. 

Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, Mercedes Russell in addition to newcomers Gabby Williams and Briann January have assured contracts, which makes them a lock to make the crew. 

Quinn indicated Ezi Magbegor, Stephanie Talbot and Kennedy Burke determine prominently within the Storm’s plans whereas newly signed Jantel Lavender is anticipated to supply low put up depth. 

Presumably, that leaves veteran backup guard Epiphanny Prince and Mikiah ‘Kiki’ Herbert Harrigan, who missed final season resulting from a being pregnant go away, battling with coaching camp invitee Lauren Manis in addition to the rookies for a roster spot. 

“Just being transparent, it’s tough,” Quinn stated when requested about Cunane’s probabilities of making the roster. “If you look at who we have and our contracts and all that, we have one spot honestly. It’s about coming into camp and being the best version of yourself and wowing us in a way. Maybe the things that we prepared as a staff and an ownership group, maybe we see some things in camp that makes us readjust our roster.   

“It’s the mindset you have to have getting drafted in the second round. It’s not that you’re coming into a situation that wouldn’t allow you necessarily to make a team, but you’re going into a situation auditioning and wanting to be on point every single day in everything that you do whether it’s on the floor or off the court. … Go into camp and do the best that you can and just understand that there’s only 144 (players in the league). To get drafted is amazing, but the work doesn’t stop there.” 

The Storm start coaching camp Sunday. 

NOTES 

— The Atlanta Dream chosen Kentucky ahead Rhyne Howard with the No. 1 general decide.  

— With 4 alternatives within the first spherical, the Indiana Fever chosen Baylor ahead NaLyssa Smith second general, Louisville ahead Emily Engstler at No. 4, Stanford guard Lexie Hull, a Spokane product, at No. 6 and Baylor heart Queen Egbo at No. 10. 

— The Las Vegas Aces had two first-round selections and nabbed Colorado ahead Mya Hollingshed at No. 8 and Florida Gulf Coast guard Kierstan Bell at No. 11.

— The Washington Mystics took Mississippi heart Shakira Austin with the third general selection. At No. 5, New York bought Oregon heart Nyara Sabally and Northwestern guard Veronica Burton went to the Dallas Wings at No. 7.

— With the decide acquired from the Storm, the Los Angeles Sparks picked ahead Rae Burrell from Tennessee at No. 9 and the Connecticut Sun ended the primary spherical by choosing Michigan State guard Nia Clouden with the 12th general selection.



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