The top female college basketball prospects will assemble at Mohegan Sun Arena, home of the Connecticut Sun, for the 2014 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm on Monday, April 14. Airing in primetime for the second-straight year, coverage and analysis of the first round will begin at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2, followed by the second and third rounds on ESPNU from 9-10:30 p.m. The entire Draft – three rounds of 12 picks each – can also be seen on WatchESPN. WNBA Draft anchor Kevin Negandhi will be joined by analysts Rebecca Lobo and Carolyn Peck, and reporter Holly Rowe.
Content will also be offered across ESPN platforms, including SportsCenter and espnW.com.
Top prospects invited to the WNBA Draft are guards Chelsea Gray (Duke), Bria Hartley (Connecticut), Kayla McBride (Notre Dame), Shoni Schimmel (Louisville), Meighan Simmons (Tennessee) and Odyssey Sims (Baylor); forwards Natalie Achonwa (Notre Dame), Natasha Howard (Florida State), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford) and Alyssa Thomas (Maryland); and centers Stefanie Dolson (Connecticut) and Markeisha Gatling (NC State).
The Connecticut Sun holds the top pick in the draft for the second time in franchise history after garnering the top selection in this year’s WNBA Draft Lottery presented by State Farm, which aired on SportsCenter in December. Rounding out this year’s top five picks are the Tulsa Shock (second), San Antonio Stars (third), New York Liberty (fourth) and Indiana Fever (fifth).
Production Features & Storylines
· Connecticut Sun, Tulsa Shock and San Antonio Silver Stars representatives onsite
· Live shots and reaction from friends and family in the arena
· Virtual graphics within the telecast
· ‘ESPN3 Podium Cam’ allows viewers to see each pick live through the third round with sound from podium microphone
· In addition to post-selection interviews with Rowe, the telecast includes individual sit-down chats with Ogwumike, Dolson, Schimmel and other top players
· All-access with top prospects throughout the day
· Interview with WNBA President Laurel Richie
· Discussion of new player collective bargaining agreement (CBA), as well as Magic Johnson’s Sparks ownership and what it means to the league
· College head coaches in attendance at the draft
· Exclusive post-pick interviews with top draftees by ESPN analyst LaChina Robinson
· Mock Draft: espnW experts give first-round predictions
· Video: Kate Fagan and Mechelle Voepel preview the Draft
· DraftCast: Live chat, pick-by-pick analysis of each selection and video player of WatchESPN Draft feed
· Photo gallery and player blogs
· Team-by-team Draft grades
WatchESPN is accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the award-winning WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon FireTV. It is available in 67.5 million households nationwide to fans of an affiliated video provider, including AT&T U-verse® TV, Bright House Networks, Cablevision’s Optimum TV, Charter, Comcast Xfinity TV, Cox, DISH, Google Fiber, Midcontinent Communications, NRTC, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS TV.
The WNBA and ESPN have been affiliated for 18 years, dating back to the league’s inaugural season in 1997, and extended the relationship in March 2013 to six years through the 2022 season. ESPN2 will debut its schedule of WNBA games on Saturday, May 17 showcasing Chicago at New York at 8 p.m. The schedule also includes the Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014, with ESPN showcasing the best women’s basketball players in the world from Phoenix on Saturday, July 19, at 3:30 p.m.