June 6, 2011
by Debby Jennings, Assoc. AD for Media Relations
The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) kicked off the 15th season of play over the weekend and it's no surprise that 11 former Tennessee Lady Vols dot the rosters of eight teams in the league.
Overall, the University of Tennessee and the University of Connecticut tied for the most active players in the WNBA with 11 each. Since the formation of the league in 1997, the Lady Vols have supplied 31 players to the WNBA including 12 first round draft choices.
UT's elderstateswomen on the hardwood are Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) and Michelle Snow (Chicago Sky) who are both starting their 10th season while Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun) and Ashley Robinson (Seattle Storm) check in with their ninth seasons in the pro league.
Also earning opening day roster spots were: Shyra Ely, sixth season (Indiana Fever); Sidney Spencer, fifth season (New York Liberty); Nicky Anosike (Washington Mystics), Alexis Hornbuckle (Minnesota Lynx) and Candace Parker, fourth seasons (Los Angeles Sparks); Shannon Bobbitt, third season (Indiana Fever) and rookie Angie Bjorklund (Chicago Sky). Former Lady Vol standout Shanna Zolman Crossley had hoped to return to the league this season but underwent anterior cruciate ligament surgery in February 2011 and will be sidelined.
According to the Southeastern Conference release, the WNBA looks like the "SEC All-Stars." All told, 28 former SEC stars made WNBA opening day rosters. Following Tennessee's 11 former players, LSU had six and Georgia had four among the leaders. Nationally, UT and UConn had 11 each while Duke added seven to the league, LSU and Rutgers six, and North Carolina and Stanford had five players represented.
Eleven of the 12 WNBA teams have at least one former SEC player on their roster with Chicago and Phoenix leading with four each. Tulsa is the only team without SEC representation on its 11-woman roster.