Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Number 18

I was reading the good ol' WNBA message boards and bemoaning the fact that Alison Bales got traded to the Phoenix Mercury. One of the wiser posters, Richyyy, stated that it was most likely that Atlanta's embarassment of riches - due to Holdsclaw possibly playing and the acquisition of Lyttle - meant that the Dream had to jettison someone from an overcrowded boat, and that Bales drew the short straw.

As for the #18 pick we received in return, Richyyy surmised that it was most likely the person coming to camp would not be signed, thus allowing the Dream to get rid of Bales's salary without taking on any obligations in return. But this led me to ask myself a question many #18 picks have ever seen time in a WNBA uniform?

The answer might surprise you: all of them! Let's go through the list:

1. Chantel Tremitiere (1997) - Tremitiere came in with a slew of great players in that first draft year. Unfortunately, she was outclassed. She played one year for the Utah Starzz, and then played two more years for the Sacramento Monarchs. Acquired in the expansion draft in 2000 by the Indiana Fever, she played one more year before retiring with an ankle injury.

She played one season with the Shreveport Aftershock as quarterback in the Independent Women's Football League in 2007 - at 37 years old.

2. Andrea Kuklova (1998) - Kuklova played two seasons with the Phoenix Mercury - in the second season she only played five games. She continues to play basketball in Europe and owns a pension (sort of a bed and breakfast) in Slovakia.

3. Michele Van Gorp (1999) - Van Gorp played six years in the WNBA, first with the New York Liberty, then with the Portland Fire, and the final four with the Minnesota Lynx. Her best years were with Minnesota, but she was never a superstar. A stress fracture in her foot suffered with the Lynx in 2004 led to her retirement and an eventual lawsuit against the Lynxy's medical staff. She's probably best known for being the WNBA's first openly gay player.

4. Tonya Washington (2000) - Washington played for the Washington Mystics from 2000 to 2002, and was traded mid-season in 2003 to the Seattle Storm. In all of her years, she was a "below replacement level" player. In 2004, she was playing in Europe, but she disappears from the radar after that.

5. Tammy Sutton-Brown (2001) - Sutton-Brown played for the Charlotte Sting until the team folded in 2006, and then moved her skills over to the Indiana Fever, where she still plays.

6. Lenae Williams (2002) - Williams played the 2002 season for the Detroit Shock. She would be traded to the Phoenix Mercury after the 2003 training camp, be picked up by the Charlotte Sting and Indiana Fever, and never play a minute for any of those latter three teams. She is currently playing for Mondeville in the French league.

7. Jordan Adams (2003) - Adams played one season for the Lynx in 2003. She would be signed - then waived - by the Seattle Storm in 2006. Adams is currently a special education teacher.

8. Kelly Mazzante (2004) - Mazzante was drafted by the Charlotte Sting. After the Sting folded, she picked up with Phoenix and has played there ever since. Mazzante has had a couple of decent WNBA years.

9. Angelina Williams (2005) - Williams played for the Mercury in 2005 and the Shock in 2006. In her rookie year with Phoenix, she only shot 30 percent from the field. The last time she was seen in 2008, she was playing for the Tampa X-Factor of the Women's Blue Chip Basketball League.

10. Liz Moeggenberg (2006) - Moeggenberg played a couple of years for the Chicago Sky. She is currently playing for Tarbes in the French League.

11. Tyresa Smith (2007) - Smith played for the Shock in 2007 - for a grand total of seven minutes. She was signed as a free agent in 2008, but waived two months later. That winter she played for Novosibirsk in the Superleague A Russia; it is unknown with what team she's playing now.

12. Olayinka Sanni (2008) - Played for the WNBA Champion Detroit Shock in 2008. So what will happen to her in 2009?

In other words, even if the #18 pick doesn't play for the Dream, she might play somewhere. But as you see, not all #18 picks are Tammy Sutton-Brown.


Rebecca said...

We may be getting into semantics here, but I don't think VanGorp did the whole "How hard do I have to beat you over the head with it, YES, I'M GAY!" thing until after Sue Wicks answered "Are you a lesbian?" honestly and affirmatively in a 2002 interview with Time Out New York.

For Tonya Washington, have you tried her married name, Massaline? Or her full first name, LaTonya?

Tremitiere also spent a year or two as an assistant with the Fever. That particular shade of faux-blonde was especially odd with a suit.

pt said...

Rebecca, I think I tried pretty much every permutation of Tonya Washington's name, down to LaTonya Washington-Massaline. No luck.