Photo Courtesy of the WNBA
It was a disappointing finish to the season for Duke, as the Blue Devils were upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, prematurely ending the careers of Chante Black, Abby Waner and Carrem Gay.
But Black took the next step in her basketball career as she was selected 10th overall in the WNBA Draft Thursday by the Connecticut Sun. At least one Blue Devil has now been taken in the first round in three of the last four years, including Lindsey Harding and Alison Bales in 2007 and Monique Currie in 2006. Harding was the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 after earning National Player of the Year honors.
With the Duke center at the draft in Secaucus, N.J. were head coach Joanne P. McCallie, assistant coach Al Brown, friends and Black’s number one fan–her mother. Mazie Black is a teacher in Saudi Arabia and had not seen her daughter since last summer.
But she was on hand to witness the opening act of what hopes to a be long and successful professional career for Chante.
Black joins a Connecticut team that finished 21-13 and made the WNBA playoffs, only to be upset by the New York Liberty in the first round. She was the third ACC player to be selected, behind Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver of Maryland, who went No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Angel McCoughtry, who led Louisville to its first Final Four and national championship game, was the first overall pick.
UPDATE 4:53 p.m.: Waner was picked with the 21st overall pick in the second round by the New York Liberty. The Liberty also drafted Duke guard Wanisha Smith in 2008, but Smith only appeared in one game for the Detroit Shock last season.
Waner has previously expressed interest in pursuing a career in sports media after completing an internship with ESPN over the summer and was not present in New Jersey for the draft. The WNBA cut its roster size from 13 to 11 during the offseason because of the economy, so it will be even more difficult than usual for second and third round picks to make a team.
UPDATE 5:19 p.m.: The third round of the draft just concluded and Carrem Gay was not picked. In all, nine players from the ACC were drafted, including three from Florida State.