While Gonzaga point guard Courtney Vandersloot has drawn the majority of draft attention, two other players with local ties could have a shot at having their name called in the WNBA Draft.
Spokane native (University High School) Angie Bjorklund, who completed a decorated career with Pat Summitt and the Tennessee Lady Vols, has probably been a more closely watched prospect than Vandersloot over the course of her career and will very likely be drafted, perhaps somewhere in the mid-second to third round.
Contributors at SBN's Swish Appeal pegged Bjorklund as the fourth-best shooting guard prospect, although there was neither any agreement nor who's the top shooter prospect nor how many of them would even be drafted.
WNBA Draft 2011 Shooting Guard Prospect Rankings - Swish Appeal
We had her everywhere from the best shooting guard of this group to a non-prospect and pretty much nothing in between.
At 6'0", she has WNBA wing size and the skills to be an effective role player as a spot up shooter with a 45.10% 3-point percentage. Yet perhaps the reason for concern about Bjorklund lies with her inefficiency in creating her own shot at the college level: her usage percentage of 17.36% was the third-lowest among this group and both her free throw rate (9.50%) and 2-point percentage (41.00%) are the lowest, which indicate that she was very inefficient when trying to get things done inside the arc and that's not to mention her 3.20% offensive rebounding percentage.
Working in Bjorklund's favor are two things: first, she has a solid reputation having played at Tennessee and second she's the best spot up shooter in this draft. Last season, Mississippi's Bianca Thomas snuck into the first round (before being cut without playing a game) because the Los Angeles Sparks were in desperate need of perimeter scoring. It's not inconceivable that something similar could happen with Bjorklund with a team looking for shooting reaching for a name women's basketball fans know.
Also in the mix among shooting guard prospects is Gonzaga's Janelle Bekkering, who Swish Appeal contributors ranked sixth.
WNBA Draft 2011 Shooting Guard Prospect Rankings: Where Jeanette Pohlen Might Fit Best As A Pro - Swish Appeal
Bekkering is an intriguing prospect in that it seems that she could have more room for growth in the right situation and as she also gets more international experience with the Canadian National Team.
She might be among the better defenders of this group and among the more athletic, which bode well for her possibly making a training camp roster and impressing a coach. Perhaps most surprising is her 2-point percentage of 60.13%, second-highest among this group, which helped her to the third-highest true shooting percentage in this group at 59.88%.
Tacoma native Alex Montgomery is also in the draft mix after a solid career at Georgia Tech and her rebounding and athleticism have led Swish Appeal contributors to consider her a second round prospect.
2011 WNBA Draft Prospects: Major, Mid-Major, Independent & NAIA Players To Watch - Swish Appeal
While many of her numbers point to a somewhat fringe draft prospect on the wing, Montgomery is certainly not lacking for athleticism and her rebounding - she leads a solid Georgia Tech team with 8.5 per game - makes her someone that is certainly worth a look.
As a wing who might need to improve her outside shot to stick on a WNBA roster (she shot 40% from the field this season), there's a strong likelihood that she'll be drafted by the Atlanta Dream, who have established a strong relationship with Georgia Tech and might find a local draw appealing.
Another lesser-known prospect is Seattle University's Breanna Salley who hasn't played since the Redhawks moved up to Division I, but was at the 14th Annual Women's Pro-Am Invitational Free Agent Basketball Camp during Final Four weekend. Although it was a limited sample and one of those free-wheeling guard dominated affairs, Salley's length enabled her to get a few fast break-triggering steals and defensive stops. Offensively, she showed the ability to get her own shot and has legitimate 3-point range and the size to shoot it over defenders. Salley will be more of an unknown quantity because of her lack of Division I experience, but she has the physical tools and skills to get into a training camp and challenge for a roster spot.
We'll have updates on all of these players if/when they are drafted in this storystream, but stay tuned to Swish Appeal for running updates of the entire draft as it unfolds.