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Indiana Fever draft Sun Devil's point guard

Thursday, April 9, 2009


AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Fever may have just drafted their point guard of the future.

The Fever selected Pac-10 defensive player of the year Briann January of Arizona State with the sixth pick in the WNBA draft on Thursday. With starting point guard Tully Bevilaqua's career winding down at age 36, Fever coach Lin Dunn said January likely will compete with Erica White for the starting job.

That's fine with January, a 5-foot-8 floor general who is known for her toughness.

"My ultimate goal is to go in there and do what my team needs for us to be successful," she said. "If that does mean to start, then I'm going to take that role and run with it. I'm just going to go in there, work hard and see what happens."

January was named the Pac-10's top defensive player in 2008 and 2009. This season, she averaged 12.3 points and 4.8 assists and shot 44.8 percent from 3-point range. She helped the Sun Devils reach the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament.

Dunn said January is tough, plays well on both offense and defense and fits into the team's up-tempo style.

The Fever picked Vanderbilt's Christina Wirth in the second round and Purdue's Danielle Campbell in the third round.

Wirth, a 6-1 power forward, averaged 15.8 points per game this past season and was a two-time all-Southeastern Conference pick. Campbell averaged 8.7 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Boilermakers.

January said she was excited to go to the Fever, who have reached the playoffs the past four seasons.

"I knew Indiana was a great team. They had success last season, so that was just a bonus to having my name called up there," she said.

January looks forward to playing with perennial All-Star and Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings.

"I think she's an amazing player," she said. "I've watched her forever. I definitely admire her game and I look forward to having the opportunity to be on the same court as her."

The Fever added White in the WNBA Dispersal Draft in December after the Houston Comets disbanded. Fever general manager Kelly Krauskopf said she likes the fact that January and White will get the chance to learn from Bevilaqua.

"There's no question that having Tully as a mentor to both Briann and Erica White is going to be a tremendous advantage," Krauskopf said. "It's rare that you have that opportunity, and it's rare that you have an opportunity where a veteran is willing to do that, where they're willing to relinquish some of that role and perhaps play less minutes and help this franchise move in a new direction."

Campbell was the second Purdue player selected in the draft, after the Los Angeles Sparks took Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton with the 13th and final pick in the first round. Wisdom-Hylton averaged 13.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting 50.6 percent from the field this past season. She and Campbell helped Purdue to a 25-11 record and a regional final appearance.

"I'm thrilled for Lindsay and Danielle," Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said in a statement from the school. "They have both meant so much to this program and we've always felt they are among the best post players in the country. We are excited for their futures and wish them the very best."

Among others taken in the draft was guard Mara Freshour of Florida State, an Indiana high school All-Star at Brown County in 2005. Freshour was picked by Seattle in the third round, the 38th overall selection.

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