Phoenix Mercury net two first-round picks in 2019 WNBA Draft

Apr 10, 2019, 7:00 PM | Updated: 7:04 pm
Stanford's Alanna Smith, right, poses for a photo with WNBA COO Christy Hedgpeth after being select...
Stanford's Alanna Smith, right, poses for a photo with WNBA COO Christy Hedgpeth after being selected by the Phoenix Mercury as the eighth overall pick in the the WNBA basketball draft Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The Phoenix Mercury bolstered its roster Wednesday, adding two first-round picks through the 2019 WNBA Draft.

With their highest pick in the draft (No. 8), Phoenix selected Stanford forward Alanna Smith.

As a member of the Cardinal, Smith showed her potential at the next level with her play on the court.

In her senior season at Stanford, the forward shot 51.5 percent from the field (39.7 percent from long range) to go along with 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.

Smith also helped the Cardinal capture its 13th Pac-12 Tournament championship, averaging 18.7 points and 12.3 rebounds over the three-game span.

For her efforts, she was named as just the 12th All-American in program history, while also taking home the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

Smith finished her career at Stanford 10th in school history in scoring (1,703) and second in blocks (225).

But the Mercury weren’t quite done yet in the first round as they were able to make a draft-day trade with the Atlanta Dream for No. 11 pick Brianna Turner out of Notre Dame.

In exchange for the center’s draft rights, Phoenix shipped Marie Gulic to the Dream. In her lone season with the Mercury, Gulic averaged 1.5 points, 1.0 rebounds, 0.3 blocks in 5.0 minutes per game.

Tuner, who returned this season after missing the Irish’s 2018 NCAA Championship season rehabbing a torn ACL, averaged 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 2.7 blocks in her four active seasons.

The center leaves Notre Dame as a three-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year (2016, 2017, 2019) and was named as the ACC’s 2016 Player of the Year by the conference’s coaches.

In the team’s Final Four win over UConn this season, Turner proved to be the catalyst, dropping 15 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots. With her fifth block of the night she surpassed Ruth Riley-Hunter for the most blocks in school history with 371.

Joining the two first rounders in the desert is Mizzou’s all-time leading scorer Sophie Cunningham. The Mercury used the No. 13 pick on the guard.

With the selection, Cunningham became the eighth Tiger drafted into the WNBA, the first since 2014.

In four years at Mizzou, Cunningham etched her name in the program’s record book, holding the all-time records for points scored (2,187) and free throws made (537).

Cunningham was named a 2018 AP All-American Honorable Mention and received First-Team All-SEC honors in 2017 and 2018.

In her senior year, Cunningham averaged 17.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, helping lead the Tigers to their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

With their final pick of the draft, the Mercury selected Arica Carter out of Louisville in the third round.

As a three-year starter at Louisville, the 5-foot-8 guard averaged 5.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals. She shot 39.9 percent from the field.

In her redshirt senior season, Carter dropped single-game career highs in points (23), minutes (38), rebounds (seven) and assists (six).

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