"I feel really blessed to have been picked where I was," said Brown, the leading scorer on the 2002-03 Tar Heel squad with 14.5 points per game. "Growing up, I played basketball just because I loved it. I never expected to get a scholarship and never thought I'd play professionally. This is awesome."
The team is in its first year in San Antonio following the franchise's relocation from Salt Lake City. Now known as the Silver Stars, the squad was 20-12 last season as the Utah Starzz.
In San Antonio, Brown will join former Tar Heel LaQuanda Barksdale. Barksdale, a first-round pick in 2001, has spent the last two years in Portland but found herself in a dispersal draft after the franchise folded. Sylvia Crawley, another former UNC player who had been with Portland, was taken with the seventh pick of the dispersal draft by the Indiana Fever. Barksdale went to the Silver Stars with the 12th pick of Thursday's dispersal draft, which also included players from the former Miami franchise.
"My first reaction to getting picked by San Antonio was that I'm excited Q will be there," Brown said. "She called me about three minutes later. I've never been to San Antonio, but I'm really excited about going."
UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell was happy to hear where Brown is headed. "I think a lot of the coach there, Candi Harvey," Hatchell said. "I've known her for a long time and I think her style fits Coretta well. It's a great opportunity for Coretta.
San Antonio had two other selections in the draft. The Silver Stars took LSU forward Ke-Ke Tardy with the 25th overall pick and Austin Peay guard Brooke Armistead with the 40th pick.
Brown, a 5-8 guard from Statesboro, Ga., finished her career as Carolina's all-time leader in three-pointers and three-point percentage. She ranks third in school history in assists, eighth in free throw percentage and 12th in scoring. A two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference and All-ACC Tournament selection, Brown didn't miss a game during her UNC career, which stretched from 1999-2000 to 2002-03.
An African-American studies major, she.ll complete her undergraduate degree this semester. She has a final exam to take on Monday, but has already conquered her biggest challenge: she passed the UNC swim test, required for graduation, earlier this week.
Also selected in Friday's draft was former UNC player Marion Jones, who went to the Phoenix Mercury with the 33rd pick. Jones was a standout player for the Tar Heels in 1993-94, 1994-95 and 1996-97 before giving up basketball to focus on her track career.
UNC Players in the WNBA Draft
1998: Tracy Reid, first round, seventh pick overall, Charlotte
1999: Charlotte Smith, third round, 33nd pick overall, Charlotte
2001: La'Quanda Barksdale, first round, 12th pick overall, Portland
2001: Juana Brown, fourth round, 49th pick overall, Seattle
2002: Nikki Teasley, first round, fifth pick overall, Portland (traded to L.A.)
2002: Jackie Higgins, second round, 32nd pick overall, Los Angeles
2003: Coretta Brown, first round, 11th pick overall, San Antonio
2003: Marion Jones, third round, 33rd pick overall, Phoenix