Teasley should be top five pick in WNBA draft

North Carolina star senior guard Nikki Teasley figures strongly in Friday's WNBA draft.

North Carolina's Nikki Teasley shoots under pressure from Kentucky's Keiko Kate during the first half
Despite rolling her ankle at the recent pre-draft workout in Chicago, Nikki Teasley is expected to be a top five pick in Friday's WNBA draft. She badly wanted to play after a rough final college game performance but "I have to protect myself," Teasley said.

Teasley finished her outstanding career at UNC listed among the program's all-time leaders in scoring, assists, steals, three-pointers and free throw percentage. She holds the school record for assists and ranks second all-time in the Atlantic Coast Conference. She had a career 15 points per game average and lead the ACC in assists for four years.

The Seattle Storm again hold the first pick in the draft, followed by Detroit, Washington with picks 3 and 4 and Portland. Seattle selected center Lauren Jackson from Australia last year in the top spot.

Storm coach Lin Dunn has said Teasley is in the running for the number one pick, "I'm either going to pick Sue Bird, Stacey Dales, Swin Cash, Nikki Teasley or Sheila Lambert. I'm going to pick one of those five, or I'll trade the pick. And I really don't know yet for sure. The trade deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday (April 18)."

Lambert has been injured and some insiders believe this is a race between Sales, Bird and Teasley - the three finalists ESPN The Magazine's Point Guard of the Year Award.

Sol Director of Scouting Marynell Meadors said about Teasley after the NCAAs, "I think she would be disappointed in her play in the tournament. She went 1-for-14 in their loss to Vanderbilt, but she contributed in other parts of the game like her assists (nine). I thought she would step up a little bit more and find a way to score -- whether it was from the perimeter, and if she wasn't hitting there, taking the ball to the rim. I was surprised she didn't do a lot of that. I don't think she's hurt her stock very much. Everybody knows that she's really a great player."

Dunn and her staff spent some extra time with Teasley when she went down at the pre-draft camp.

"Nikki has exceptional speed and quickness. She is a big combo guard who can play at the 1, 2 or 3 spots. She has great three-point shooting range and is also a solid defender," said Coach Dunn.

Before heading to the WNBA Pre-Draft Camp, the Storm staff did a mock draft - while Coach Dunn opted for UConn point guard Sue Bird in the simulation, Missy Bequette, Director of Basketball Operations went with Teasley. Check out the rest of their mock draft.

Teasley will chat on wnba.com on Wednesday at 3:30pm.

You can watch the draft starting at 11:30 am on Friday on ESPN2 or get live draft video and audio online at wnba.com.

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