Going into Friday night’s 2020 WNBA Draft, many thought the Minnesota Lynx would lean toward selecting a guard with their sixth overall selection in the opening round.
With players like combo guard Tyasha Harris of South Carolina, point guard Crystal Dangerfield and forward Megan Walker of Connecticut — all of whom many thought the Lynx would take with that pick — still on the board as Minnesota was on the clock, the Lynx threw the first curveball of the draft at No. 6.
The Lynx ended up selecting Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, a 6’2″ forward from South Carolina.
Minnesota, however, was still able to get the point guard it might have had its eye on for a while in the second round, ending up taking Dangerfield with the fourth pick and the No. 16 overall selection in the draft. The Lynx later ended up trading forward Stephanie Talbot to the New York Liberty in exchange for Rice guard Erica Ogwumike.
“I thought everything went well. It went exactly as we thought it might in the first five picks,” Lynx head coach and general manger Cheryl Reeve said after the draft. “We knew it was going to be a tough decision (at No. 6). We felt like we could use some depth at power forward.
“We had a pretty balanced draft, positionally. We know we have competition and people are going to have to compete for jobs (on the roster). Whatever we did in the first (round), we wanted to make sure we balanced it out in the second.”
Stretch Forward in Herbert Harrigan
Herbert Harrigan is a stretch forward that has the ability to be able to do a little bit of everything both offensively and defensively.
During her senior season at South Carolina, Herbert Harrigan averaged 13.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.4 assists while shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from three.
“This means a lot. This has been a dream for me and something I’ve dreamed of growing up,” Herbert Harrigan said in a conference call after the draft. “I’m really excited about (joining the Lynx) and I’m going to have to contribute early. I just want to continue to work on my game and do whatever I can to help my team win.
“I’m very excited about playing under (Cheryl Reeve) and to get the season started to go out there and perform.”
In her four-year career with the Gamecocks, Herbert Harrigan averaged 8.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 0.7 assists while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from three.
“Overall, I just want to keep improving on different things in my game,” she said. “I’m aggressive on the court and I take pride in my defense.”
During her career at South Carolina, Herbert Harrigan joined Alaina Coates and A’ja Wilson as the only players in program history to surpass the 1,000-point and 200-block mark in her career. She finished up her tenure with the Gamecocks ranking second in school history in total blocks with 210.
“I think she is very hard to play against. We think she has a lot of upside,” Reeve said. “Kiki is one who we feel like is someone that has the potential to have a high ceiling.”
Waiting for Dangerfield
Although a lot of people thought Dangerfield could end up landing in Minnesota in the first round of the draft, the Lynx were able to wait and pick the point guard with the fourth pick in the second round (No. 16 overall).
Dangerfield is a 5’5″ point guard who was a three-year starter at Connecticut and was among the final five for the Nancy Lieberman Award as the nation’s top PG in 2020 as a senior.
During her senior season, Dangerfield averaged 14.9 points, 3.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds while being named to the American Athletic Conference First Team. She holds career averages of 11.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 44.1% from the field.
“We happen to really like Crystal Dangerfield,” Reeve said. “We didn’t necessarily think she would be there at No. 16. We thought she would be gone.”
Before the draft, Reeve made it clear that she didn’t think we would see a rookie point guard starting for the Lynx in 2020, so it’s likely that Dangerfield will slide into some sort of back-up role for at least her rookie campaign in 2020. Regardless, Minnesota ends adding to its guard depth — which was a big need coming into the draft — and gets a player that Lynx wing Napheesa Collier was hoping the team would draft.
“I like the way she competes, I like the way she defends. She can shoot the three,” Reeve said. “Crystal is going to know what we want. I think that’s why Napheesa had an easier time (in her rookie season). … You probably have to see this more as a process with Crystal.”
Trading for Ogwumike
After their pair of selections in the opening two rounds of the draft, Minnesota didn’t have a pick for the remainder of the three-round draft, but that didn’t stop them from continuing to make moves.
After the draft concluded, the Lynx completed a trade with the New York Liberty to acquire the rights to Rice guard Erica Ogwumike, who is the younger sister of WNBA stars Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks.
“Anybody who follows the WNBA, knows the bloodlines of the Ogwumike family. The characteristics and the qualities of an Ogwumike are incredibly appealing, period,” Reeve said. “She plays similarly (to her sisters) in all the best of ways as far as her energy and enthusiasm. … I think Erica is going to give us something different and that’s what we wanted.”
In the trade, Minnesota sent Talbot, whom the team acquired leading up to the 2019 season to New York. Talbot spent one year with the Lynx, averaging 4.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists primarily in a bench role.
“When we picked Crystal at No. 16, we immediately asked how we could go get Erica. We ended up working things out with New York,” Reeve said. “Steph was so important to us (in 2019). She plays extremely hard. We’ll will miss that. … You weigh it out and we felt like this was the right time for us to get a player who could play more than one position.”
Ogwumike, a 5’9″ guard, finished her senior season at Rice averaging 19.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 45.8 percent from the field. In her career, she averaged 17.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists while earning Conference USA Player of the Year, All-Conference First Team and C-USA All-Conference First Team honors.
Full WNBA Draft Results
- New York Liberty — Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon
- Dallas Wings — Satou Sabally, Oregon
- Indiana Fever — Lauren Cox, Baylor
- Atlanta Dream — Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M
- Dallas Wings — Bella Alarie, Princeton
- Minnesota Lynx — Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, South Carolina
- Dallas Wings — Tyasha Harris, South Carolina
- Chicago Sky — Ruthy Hebard, Oregon
- New York Liberty — Megan Walker, Connecticut
- Phoenix Mercury — Jocelyn Willoughby, Virginia
- Seattle Storm — Kitija Laksa, Latvia
- New York Liberty — Jazmine Jones, Louisville
- New York Liberty — Kylee Shook, Louisville
- Indiana Fever — Kathleen Doyle, Iowa
- New York Liberty — Leonna Odom, Duke
- Minnesota Lynx — Crystal Dangerfield, Connecticut
- Atlanta Dream — Brittany Brewer, Texas Tech
- Phoenix Mercury — Te’a Cooper, Baylor
- Seattle Storm — Joyner Holmes, Texas
- Los Angeles Sparks — Beatrice Mompremier, Miami
- Dallas Wings — Luisa Geiseloder, Germany
- Los Angeles Sparks — Leonie Fiebich, Germany
- Connecticut Sun — Kaila Charles, Maryland
- Washington Mystics — Jaylyn Agnew, Creighton
- Atlanta Dream — Mikayla Pivec, Oregon State
- New York Liberty — Erica Ogwumike, Rice (traded to Minnesota)
- Atlanta Dream — Kobi Thornton, Clemson
- Indiana Fever — Kamiah Smalls, James Madison
- Phoenix Mercury — Stella Johnson, Rider
- Chicago Sky — Japreece Dean, UCLA
- Seattle Storm — Haley Gorecki, Duke
- Chicago Sky — Kiah Gillespie, Florida State
- Las Vegas Aces — Lauren Manis, Holy Cross
- Los Angeles Sparks — Tynice Martin, West Virgina
- Connecticut Sun — Juicy Landrum, Baylor
- Washington Mystics — Sug Sutton, Texas