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2017 WNBA Draft: Storm draft Syracuse PG Alexis Peterson

Seattle drafts the ACC Player of the Year with their first pick.

Storm select Alexis Peterson out of Syracuse

The WNBA Draft took place in New York Thursday evening. The University of Washington’s Kelsey Plum was selected Number One overall by the San Antonio Stars. Meanwhile, the Seattle Storm did not have a first round pick because they traded it earlier this year to acquire the New York Liberty’s starting center 6’ 6” Carolyn Swords. Heading into the off-season the Storm were in desperate need of two things. A true starting Center who can help guard the league’s best bigs like Sylvia Fowles (6’ 6”), Tina Charles (6’ 4”), and Brittney Griner (6’ 9”). And a very capable point guard that could back-up Sue Bird this season, with the hope of taking the reins as the starting point guard once the legend decides to finally hang it up.

Crystal Langhorne has been playing out of position for the past 2-3 years. At 6’ 2” Langhorne is undersized when having to go up against the elite centers listed above. By acquiring Swords, the Storm should allow both Crystal Langhorne and Breanna Stewart to play their more natural positions. And Swords should help Seattle improve their rebounding as the Storm were dead last in offensive rebounding last season.

The trade for Swords left Seattle with the #15 overall pick (2nd round) and the #30 pick (3rd round). Seattle selected Syracuse point guard Alexis Peterson with their first pick. Peterson was named the ACC Player of the year in her senior season. She was the first player ever from Syracuse Women’s basketball to win such an award. Peterson averaged 23.6 PPG, 7.2 APG, and 3.1 Steals a game during her senior season. As she helped lead Syracuse to a 22-11 record and the second round of the NCAA tournament. Last season she helped Syracuse reach their first Final Four, beating Plum and the Washington Huskies to reach the title game, where they would ultimately lose to Breanna Stewart’s UConn Huskies.

“Alexis is a true point guard, she’s a strong playmaker and solid scoring guard that will fit well in Jenny Boucek’s system,” said Storm President & GM Alisha Valavanis. “We are excited to welcome Alexis to Seattle and to the Storm franchise.”

Peterson should have the opportunity to compete right away for the backup PG position on the team. Last season the Storm struggled to find consistent play from the backup PG position, which may have led to Sue Bird playing more minutes than she should have. Bird averaged 31.6 minutes per game which was the most she’s played since 2011. While Bird had one of the best seasons of her illustrious career last season, the Storm still need to find a way to reduce her minutes. And they will eventually need to find Bird’s heir apparent once Sue decides to call it a career. Peterson will have the opportunity to learn from Sue for at least a couple years and she spoke about that after the draft.

“You watch someone that’s so great and legendary, and I got to meet her two weeks ago. I’ve been watching her play for the longest time,” said Peterson. “Now for the opportunity to be able to learn from her and all of her knowledge and wisdom of the game is just a great opportunity.”

In the 3rd round (30th overall), the Seattle Storm selected 6’ 5” Center, Lanay Montgomery out of West Virginia. Known for her defense, Montgomery was named to the Big 12 All Defensive team in her junior and senior seasons. She also led the conference in blocked shots at 2.83 blocks per game. Montgomery’s points and rebounds consistently improved throughout her collegiate career, finishing her senior season with 10.6 PPG and 8.9 RPG. She is also WVU’s career Field goal percentage leader at .596 on 355-of-596.

In Montgomery, the Storm will hope for another player that can help out defensively and with rebounding. While it’ll be difficult to make the team as a 3rd round pick, Montgomery will have the opportunity to impress the team in training camp, and compete for one of the final roster spots.

Training camp begins April 23rd.