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April 11, 2011
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Two Atlantic Coast Conference student-athletes were selected in the first round of the 2011 Women's National Basketball Association Draft, which was held today in Bristol, Conn.. Overall seven league players were drafted in the three rounds.
Among those tabbed in the first round were Georgia Tech guard/forward Alex Montgomery, who was taken 10th overall by the New York Liberty, and Duke guard Jasmine Thomas, who was taken 12th overall by the Seattle Storm.
Montgomery was the first ACC player to be drafted this today, marking the highest pick ever for Yellow Jacket. She became the sixth Tech player to be selected in the WNBA Draft and the third in the last four years. Montgomery earned a slew of postseason honors this year as she was named State Farm Coaches' All-America Honorable Mention, the State of Georgia Women's College Player of the Year, Second Team All-ACC and ACC All-Defensive Team. Montgomery led the Yellow Jackets to a school record 24 wins, an NCAA Tournament berth, and helped Tech win only its third tournament game. This season she also helped the Jackets set a school record with a 13-game winning streak, and tied school records with 14 home wins and nine ACC victories.
Thomas led sixth-ranked Duke to a 32-4 overall and 12-2 mark in ACC action this season. The Fairfax, Va., native was named ACC Tournament MVP for the second straight year after guiding Duke to its second consecutive league tournament crown. Thomas averaged 15.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.4 steals and 0.6 blocks on the season. Thomas was a finalist for the John R. Wooden and Naismith National Player of the Year awards, while being named to the All-ACC Defensive Team and 2011 ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
In addition to the pair of first round selections, the ACC had four picks in the second round and one more in the third round. In the second round, North Carolina forward Jessica Breland was taken (13th overall) by the Minnesota Lynx, Boston College center Carolyn Swords was taken (15th overall) by the Chicago Sky, UNC guard Italee Lucas was taken (21st overall) by the Tulsa Shock, and Duke guard/forward Karima Christmas was taken (23rd overall) by the Washington Mystics.
Breland was an honorable mention all-conference selection this season after averaging 12.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. The Kelford, N.C., product, who missed the 2009-10 season while receiving treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, established a new school record for career games played with 142 and finished her time in Chapel Hill with more than 1,500 points and 900 rebounds.
Swords led Boston College in scoring (17.3 ppg.), rebounding (9.5 rpg.), blocks (1.7 blocks) and field goal percentage (71.4%). She is the first Eagle player to lead the country in a statistical category as she was the national champion in field goal percentage the last three seasons. A native of Sudbury, Mass., Swords recorded a single-season career-high 16 double-doubles and set a new program record with 46 in her four years. Swords' became the second player in program history to reach 2,000 points as the center. She was the first play in BC history to reach 1,000 rebounds and ended her four years with 1,159 boards.
Lucas was a second-team All-ACC pick, who averaged a team-best 16.2 points per game as a senior. One of the top three-point shooters in school history, the Las Vegas, Nev., native made 226 threes in her career and scored 1,703 points.
Christmas, a Long Beach, Calif., native, earned a spot on this year's ACC all-tournament team. The guard finished her Blue Devil career with 1,004 points and 601 rebounds.
To conclude the ACC representation in this year's Draft was Duke center Krystal Thomas, who was selected as the 36th overall pick by the Seattle Storm. With her 776 career rebounds, Thomas finished her Blue Devil career ninth on the school's all-time rebounds list, 12 shy of tying former Duke standout Alana Beard.