WNBA

Connecticut Sun win top pick in WNBA draft lottery

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SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP)

Mitchell Etess admitted he was a little nervous attending his first WNBA draft lottery.

The CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority didn't have too much to worry about as the Connecticut Sun earned the top pick in the draft Tuesday.

''The house wins,'' Etess said laughing. ''I was convinced we weren't going to win. I didn't think it was going to go our way.''

The Sun had a 44 percent chance of earning the top pick after finishing last in the league this past season. It was the first time since 2009 that the team with the worst record won the top pick.

''We're in the casino business we know the odds don't always work for us, but they did today,'' Etess said.

Tulsa was awarded the second pick, San Antonio got the third choice and New York the fourth. It's the first time that the Sun have won the lottery. They did have the first pick in 2010 after making a trade with Minnesota, which had won the lottery.

''We'll evaluate all our options,'' Mitchell said. ''We know that we have the choice for the best college player out there or we can look at other scenarios if we want.''

Unlike last season when Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins were the prize for the top picks, this year's class has no clear-cut No. 1 pick with Chiney Ogwumike of Stanford, Odyssey Sims of Baylor and Alyssa Thomas of Maryland all in the mix.

''This draft is deep and full of talent,'' ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo said. ''There aren't a `Big 3' but there are a group of players who can make a real impact for their teams this W(NBA) season.''

All four teams in the lottery were beset by injuries this season so already will be gaining help next year before the draft even takes place in April.

''We've been stockpiling a lot of young talent over here and we have to see what is the best fit for our team,'' said Sam Combs, who is the owner and managing partner for Tulsa, which has been in the lottery every season since joining the league since 2010.

San Antonio was the only team to buck the odds, moving up to third. The Silver Stars were plagued by injuries with stars Becky Hammon and Sophia Young hurt.

''There's a lot of talent out there,'' said Silver Stars coach and general manager Dan Hughes, who wore a lucky tie and suit to the event. ''It's going to be interesting since we already are getting two players.''

The rest of the first-round selections are Indiana, Washington, Seattle, Atlanta, Phoenix, Chicago, Los Angeles and Minnesota.

This was the second straight year the lottery was shown on television. Buoyed by the success of last season's lottery when Phoenix won and earned the right to draft Griner, the league and ESPN decided to do it again. In the past, the lottery had been done at a league meeting.

''ESPN continues to be committed to the WNBA property,'' said Doug White, senior director, programming and acquisitions.

The actual lottery was held at league headquarters in Manhattan a few hours before it was shown on TV. The envelopes with the results were taken by car to the NBA studios in New Jersey.

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Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

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