BRISTOL, Conn. - Two seniors from the Texas A&M women's basketball team, Tyra White and Sydney Carter, were selected in the 2012 WNBA Draft held Monday afternoon at ESPN headquarters.
White (Kansas City, Mo.) was picked 16th overall by the Los Angeles Sparks. Carter (DeSoto, Texas) was chosen 27th overall by the Chicago Sky. The Aggies were the first two players in this year's draft to be selected from the Big 12 Conference.
It marked the fifth consecutive year in which an A&M player was drafted into the WNBA. The Aggies have now had eight players drafted in the past five years. It also marked the third time that Texas A&M had two players selected in the same draft.
White became the third A&M player to be taken with the 16th overall pick, the highest selection for any Aggie in a WNBA Draft. The other A&M players to be drafted 16th overall were Sydney Colson (by Connecticut Sun in 2011, traded to New York Liberty) and Danielle Gant (Chicago in 2009).
"I'm happy for Tyra and Sydney and I'm happy that the WNBA recognizes what we do as a program - develop kids to play on both sides of the ball," A&M head coach Gary Blair said. "With eight kids drafted in the last five years, it says a lot for Texas A&M. It says that we can develop kids to play at the next level. Carol Ross (L.A. Sparks Head Coach, who had been handling radio duties for Texas women's basketball) has done her homework watching Tyra, and Carter is an outstanding choice by Chicago. It's been a great five-year run for us and I know we will continue to have more of the same in years to come."
White is just the third Aggie women's basketball player to become a two-time WBCA All-American. The six-foot guard is also a two-time All-Big 12 First Team honoree, was twice selected to the Big 12 All-Tournament team and was named to the 2011 Women's Final Four All-Tournament Team. She has put her mark on A&M and finished her career ranked fourth all-time in career field goals made (601) and career field goals attempted (1,301), seventh in career points (1,482), ninth in career 3-point field goal percentage (.340, 87-256) and 10th in career rebounds (594). In her final two seasons, White averaged 13.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and was the Aggies' leading scorer as a senior.
"I've always wanted to play in the WNBA ever since I was little and I met Cynthia Cooper," White said. "Today was the longest day of my life, but having them call my name is special. It's kind of unreal, but it is a dream come true. I knew I held the option in my hands, but playing at A&M taught me to work hard every play and to not take plays off. That's something the coaches instill in us. A&M took me to the next level. Out of a select few in women's college basketball, we (Carter and I) were chosen and it's a great opportunity for both of us."
Carter is a two-time member of the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, a two-time All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection and was on the All-Big 12 Second Team this season. The three-year team captain was also the 2011 NCAA Dallas Regional Most Outstanding Player. She holds the Texas A&M record for best career free throw percentage (.820, 296-361), ranks fifth all-time in career 3-point field goals made (130) and career 3-point field goals attempted (400), eighth in career assists (388) and career free throws made (296), ninth all-time in career steals (206) and 13th all-time in career points (1,176). In her final two seasons as an Aggie, the 5-foot-6 guard averaged 10.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
"Knowing that the draft was today, I kept replaying how I told Coach Blair I didn't want to play in college," Carter said. "Now, just hearing my name called is an unbelievable blessing and opportunity for me. Today, everyone's dream as a little girl is to play in the WNBA and I'm finally getting the opportunity to do that. Being at A&M developed me both mentally and physically and pushed me to levels I didn't know I had. Each of the coaches contributed in preparing me for this as a player and a person in so many different ways."
Comprised of 12 teams in Atlanta, Chicago, Connecticut, Indiana, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York, Phoenix, San Antonio, Seattle, Tulsa, and Washington D.C., the WNBA is the most successful women's professional team sports league in the world and will tip off its 16th season on Friday, May 18, 2012.
TEXAS A&M ALL-TIME WNBA DRAFT PICKS
Tyra White - 16th overall - 2012 Second Round - Los Angeles Sparks
Sydney Carter - 27th overall - 2012 Third Round - Chicago Sky
Sydney Colson - 16th overall - 2011 Second Round - Connecticut Sun (traded to New York Liberty)
Danielle Adams - 20th overall - 2011 Second Round - San Antonio Silver Stars
Tanisha Smith - 22nd overall - 2010 Second Round - Seattle Storm
Danielle Gant - 16th overall - 2009 Second Round - Chicago Sky
Morenike Atunrase - 24th overall - 2008 Second Round - Atlanta Dream (traded to San Antonio Silver Stars)
A'Quonesia Franklin - 38th overall - 2008 Third Round - Sacramento Monarchs
Toccara Williams - 34th overall - 2004 Third Round - San Antonio Silver Stars
Jaynetta Saunders - 27th overall - 2001 Second Round - Cleveland Rockers