Quartet Of Euro Stars Drafted To WNBA

16 April 2013

11. Emma Meesseman (Belgium)
Emma Meesseman was selected by Washington as the seventh pick in the second round (19th overall)

Four rising stars of the European women's game were selected in the 2013 WNBA draft with former FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year Emma Meesseman heading the list.

The Belgian center was widely tipped to be the top ranked European and it turned out to be the case, when she was selected 19th overall by Washington Mystics.

Meesseman was signed to a four-year contract last summer with four-time EuroLeague Women champions Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje, who loaned her to Villeneuve d'Asq where she has enjoyed a super first year in the French League.

Despite suffering a wrist fracture at the start of the season, she has averaged an impressive 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game to further underline her enormous potential.

One of the surprise selections of the night came when Diandra Tchatchouang of France was chosen immediately after Meesseman, by San Antonio Silver Stars. The 21-year-old wasn't really on the radar ahead of the draft, perhaps because she didn't complete a full stint at College with Maryland.

But, having also played a solid year in the French League, the Perpignan Basket forward was picked up and that should be a big confidence boost as she tries to persuade French head coach Pierre Vincent to hand her a spot on the final roster for EuroBasket Women, having only managed to make the reserve list for the Olympics in London last year.

There was a particularly interesting couple of selections in the third round when Turkish guard Olcay Cakir was drafted by New York Liberty (27th overall pick) and Los Angeles Sparks opted to go with Ukrainian dynamite in the form of 2012 FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year Alina Iagupova (34th overall pick).

Playmaker Cakir, who plays with Fenerbahce, helped Turkey claim their first ever youth medal last summer when they grabbed bronze at the U20 European Championship Women in Debrecen. She was also included in the All Tournament Team.

And, perhaps it was Fenerbahce backcourt partner and Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter who gave the management in New York a glowing recommendation. There was however disappointment for fellow Turkish rising star Tugce Canitez who had been widely tipped to be drafted but wasn't on the list.

The final European player to be drafted was the explosive Alina Iagupova, who is likely to be the driving force for Ukraine at EuroBasket Women this summer after leading her team with 14.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in the Qualification Round last summer.

Her stellar efforts at last year's U20 European Championship Women also led to her making the All Tournament Team after producing an outstanding 27.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists against her peers in Debrecen.



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