Aces History: Feeling A Draft (2002)

The Utah Starzz had two picks in the first round of the 2002 WNBA Draft—their own pick at no. 11, and New York’s at no. 14, which they acquired in a trade for Korie Hlede.

At No. 11, Utah selected Baylor forward Danielle Crockrom. The two-time All-Big 12 First-Team selection earned All-American Honorable Mention honors as a senior. Competition for a roster spot in the WNBA was fierce, however, and she played just one year in the league, averaging 1.6 points in 18 games for Utah in 2002.

With the 14th pick, Utah choose Oklahoma guard LaNeisha Caufield, who, like Crockrom, played just one season in the W. She averaged 2.4 points per game in eight games during the 2002 campaign.

In the second round, the Starzz picked Howard forward Andrea Gardner. Gardner (pictured) was a two-time MEAC Player of the Year, who also played in a reserve role for Utah in 2002. She averaged 1.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 30 games, but was released the following season.

Gardner returned to the WNBA in 2008 after signing with the Washington Mystics, and averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds over 22 contests. For her career she averaged 2,2 points and 2.1 rebounds in 52 games.

Utah selected Edmarie Lumbsley from Mobile with the team’s third round selection. The 2002 NAIA All-American and GCAC Player of the Year was released during training camp, and never played in the WNBA.

The Starzz concluded the 2002 WNBA Draft by taking Jaclyn Winfield, guard out of Southern, in the fourth round. She became the first player ever drafted out of the SWAC into the WNBA, but she never saw action in a regular season game.

Given that the Starzz were coming off of their first playoff appearance, and had a slew of talented veterans on the roster, it isn’t surprising that the 2002 draft class had difficulty staying on the team. Utah would make its second straight postseason appearance in 2002, winning what was then a franchise-record 20 games and advancing to the Western Conference Finals before falling to Los Angeles.