Phoenix Mercury add four during 2019 WNBA Draft

Talking Stick Resort Arena
Talking Stick Resort Arena hosts the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA. (File photo)

The Phoenix Mercury added three of the top-13 picks and four players overall, in the 2019 WNBA Draft.

With the team’s own first-round pick (eighth overall), Phoenix selected Stanford standout forward Alanna Smith, according to a press release.

Phoenix then obtained the rights to Atlanta’s first-round pick (11th overall), Notre Dame standout forward Brianna Turner, in exchange for center Marie Gulich.

Phoenix selected Missouri star Sophie Cunningham with the first pick of the second round (13th overall) and selected Louisville guard Arica Carter with the team’s third round pick (32nd overall).

A 6-foot-4 stretch-forward, Smith was a second team all-American selection and all-Pac 12 selection as a senior for Stanford while averaging career highs in scoring (19.4 points per game) and rebounding (8.6 rebounds per game).

The standout two-way player was a Pac-12 All-Defensive Team selection while also shooting 51.1 percent from the field, including 39.7 percent from 3-point range and 81 made 3-pointers.

Smith joined Elena Delle Donne, Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart as the only players in the past 20 years to finish their collegiate career with totals of at least 1,600 points, 150 3-pointers and 200 blocks, while averaged 11.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg in 143 career games.

A member of the Australian National Team under Mercury Head Coach Sandy Brondello, Smith was on the roster for the 2018 FIBA World Championships and averaged 6.3 ppg and 2.3 rpg, helping the Australians to the silver medal.

Turner finished her Notre Dame career as the program’s all-time leader in rebounds (1,048) and blocks (372) and averaged 14.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg during her four-year career, a release states.

She was a four-time all-ACC selection and was named the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year three times. Turner missed the 2017-18 season following a season-ending knee injury, but returned to Notre Dame to help guide the team to a national championship appearance after avergaing 14.3 ppg and 7.8 rpg this season.

Cunningham, a 6-foot-1 guard from Columbia, Missouri, finished her career at the University of Missouri as the program’s all-time leader in points (2,187) and second in 3-point field goals (590). She led the program to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances after Missouri had missed 10-straight NCAA postseason berths.

Cunningham was a three-time all-SEC first team selection during her collegiate career and earned all-American third team honors following her senior season after finishing as the only player in the nation to average 17 ppg, grab 200 rebounds, hit 80 3-pointers and 150 free throws.

Carter, a three-year starter at Louisville, finished with career averages of 5.7 ppg and 2.1 assists per game in 140 games. She is coming off a senior season in which she averaged career highs in points (8.5 ppg) and rebounds (3.1 rpg) and led the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8).

She reached three sweet sixteens, two elite eights and one final four during her four years with the Cardinals, and was part of a class that won 132 total games over the last four years.

After coming within one win of the WNBA Finals, the Phoenix Mercury return in 2019 in search of a league-record tying fourth WNBA title. Led by the All-Star trio of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner, Phoenix opens its title quest on May 25 at Seattle.

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