SECAUCUS, N.J. - For the second straight year, and fourth time overall, a BIG EAST women's basketball player has been selected No. 1 overall in the 2010 WNBA Draft. Connecticut center Tina Charles was picked first by the Connecticut Sun. Last year, Louisville forward Angel McCoughtry was selected No. 1 by the Atlanta Dream. Ex-UConn standouts Diana Taurasi (2004) and Sue Bird (2002) also have been picked No. 1.
Charles averaged 18.2 points and a team-leading 9.2 rebounds this past year and helped lead the Huskies to the NCAA Championship title, along with a perfect 39-0 season. Charles led the BIG EAST and ranked fifth in the nation in field goal percentage shooting 61.8 percent from the floor. She also helped UConn set an NCAA Division I women's basketball record with 78 consecutive wins.
""It's unbelievable, my heart is still pounding out of my chest,"" Charles said. ""I'm more interested what impact I'll have on the team more than just being the No. 1 pick.""
In all, two BIG EAST players were selected in the first round, including former Rutgers guard Epiphanny Prince who went No. 4 to the Chicago Sky. Prince finished her Scarlet Knights career ranked ninth in scoring (1,552 points) and sixth in steals (260) in three seasons.
UConn senior guard Kalana Greene was picked No. 13 overall as the first pick in the second round by the New York Liberty. Rutgers center Rashidat Junaid was picked No. 32 overall in the third round by the Los Angeles Sparks.
Overall, four BIG EAST players were selected in the three-round draft.
WNBA teams open training camp April 25. Exhibition games begin April 30 and the league's 14th season will start May 15.