Seniors Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen of Stanford are in Bristol, Connecticut, for the 2011 WNBA Draft today. The draft will take place at 12:00 PM PST and can be seen on ESPN. Pedersen and Pohlen, both of whom were selected to this season’s All-PAC-10 Team and combined for 7 total selections to the all-conference team during their careers on the Farm, will both be drafted barring a dramatic and unforeseen development before the final selection is made.
Pedersen, a 6′ 4″ forward, projects well as a versatile pro who can play either forward position in the WNBA. She should be able to use her size and strength to beat up on small forwards, and use her quickness in the post against 4’s. She figures to be drafted in the #4-#7 overall pick range in the first round. While her versatility will help her get minutes early on in her career, it could also help her draft stock among teams looking for either a 3 or a 4. If Pedersen is selected fourth, her entry into the pros would mirror her entry into college ball, when she was regarded as the country’s #4 recruit in the Class of 2007.
Pohlen might also go in the first round, although experts do not anticipate her coming off the board nearly as early as Pedersen will. Pohlen is a natural 2-guard who nonetheless played the majority of her minutes this season at the point. WNBA teams will look to transition her back to the shooting guard slot, where she can better utilize her height and ability to shoot from the perimeter. In part due to the postion question mark and in part due to the stiff competition among top backcourt players in the draft, Pohlen is seen as anywhere from a #9 to a #17 pick.
Because the league only has 12 teams, Pedersen and Pohlen could even end up playing for the same franchise. If so, it would likely be Minnesota, which picks in slots #1, #4, #13, and #14. The Stanford duo would also join UConn guard Maya Moore, the projected #1 selection, and Stanford alumna Candice Wiggins ’08, who is entering her fourth year in professional basketball, on the Lynx roster.
Each of the draft’s 3 rounds includes 12 picks, for a total of 36 selections. The draft takes place in ESPN studios.