Nicole Powell Goes Third in WNBA Draft

Lost in the myriad of Stanford sporting news today around campus and beyond, Cardinal senior guard/forward Nicole Powell was taken with the third overall pick today in the WNBA Draft in New Jersey by the Charlotte Sting. For her quotes and those of the Sting GM/head coach who made the pick that puts a lot of pressure on the Stanford superstar, read on...

Stanford's Nicole Powell had the talent to be a top three pick in today's eighth WNBA Draft, but the pundits had pegged Vanessa Hayden (6'4" center) from Florida to best fit the needs of the Charlotte Sting in that #3 position. That made the pick of Sting general manager and head coach Trudi Lacey a little bit of a surprise. Charlotte took the 6'2" Powell, who can play four different positions at the pro level, as their first pick and third overall today in the 2004 WNBA Draft in Secaucus, New Jersey.

"I knew I had a chance to go there but heard some things leading up to today," Powell says of her third overall selection. "The situation with the players at Charlotte is great and I can't wait to get there."

"There were a lot of good players in this draft, but we feel great about Nicole," Lacey says in defense of the Stanford selection. "She's a very good player, great rebounder, very good passer, has a very high basketball IQ, very versatile. I think she'll be able to do great things in Charlotte."

"In my opinion, she's the Magic Johnson of the WNB," the Sting GM continues. "I think she'll fit in well with us. I think... she'll be able to make contributions in a lot of areas. She can play the point position, she can play the power forward position, she can shoot the three, she can rebound, she's very good with the ball in her hand. She's a great passer. She makes other people around her better. As you can see, she just has a plethora of skills."

That heaping of praise, though, immediately begs the question that fans of Powell and the Sting wonder about her future in Charlotte. Just where does the organization see her playing on the floor?

"She does so many things well. I think what we'll have to do now is look at our offensive system and see what best suits her and maybe have to make some adjustments there," Lacey offers up.

The Sting new that Diana Taurasi and Alana Beard would go in the top two slots of today's draft, so when they sent Kelly Miller (the #2 overall pick in 2001) and the ninth pick to the Indiana Fever for this third pick in early February, they had to have had a lot of faith in the talent they could get from this selection.

"I think she will be a marquee player in the league," Lacey says of Powell's value. "She is a difference-maker. She has put the program at Stanford back in the national light. As I said before, she has made that team at Stanford better and I think she'll do that for the Charlotte Sting. She could be one of the best players to play in the league. I think she'll be an impact player."

Powell and the Sting will tip off the 2004 season on May 21 at home when they host the four-time WNBA champs, the Houston Comets.

Nicole Powell was named a consensus All-American in this senior season at Stanford, averaging 20.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists. She earned Kodak First Team All-American honors the last three years, and she twice was named Pac-10 Player of the Year (2001-02, 2003-04). Though she never reached the Final Four as a Cardinal, she goes down as one of the elite legends in a storied program. Powell was named the Midwest Region Most Outstanding Player this year in the NCAA Tournament, despite Stanford's loss in the Elite Eight to Tennessee in the final seconds. She has bounced between guard, wing and forward positions throughout her four years on The Farm and excelled at every turn.

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