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ND WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Batteast drafted by Minnesota

Heather VanHoegarden | Monday, April 18, 2005

Senior Jacqueline Batteast said last week at the basketball banquet she didn’t know what she would do when she had to leave South Bend for the first time. Turns out, the South Bend native won’t have to go that far. The forward was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx Saturday in the WNBA draft.Batteast, who was projected as a top-10 pick, fell to No. 17 overall, the fourth selection of the second round, prompting her new coach to call her the “steal of the draft.””So we felt very fortunate to get someone with her experience, who has been a starter and a proven scorer in the NCAA, at the collegiate level, for the past four years,” Lynx head coach Suzie McConnell Serio said in a press conference after the draft. “We feel that she is someone who brings size and strength and a physical presence to our team, as well.”Batteast will join an already Big East-dominated team, with former Boston College standout Amber Jacobs and former West Virginia standout Kate Bulger. Former Connecticut Huskies Svetlana Abrosimova and Tamika Williams also play for the Lynx.Batteast was the second selection by the Lynx, who chose UC-Santa Barbara’s Kristen Mann with the No. 11 pick. Mann and Batteast faced off in the first round of this year’s NCAA Tournament in Fresno, Calif., a game the Irish won 61-51.McConnell Serio said she was unsure why Batteast fell to the second round.”I think a lot of times what happens is, she was not at the pre-draft camp in New York this past weekend and didn’t go very far into the tournament, so maybe a lot of coaches hadn’t seen her enough,” McConnell Serio said. “She was the Big East Player of the Year and they were on TV, so she was someone who we were very familiar with.”Batteast averaged 16.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game this season, while earning third team Associated Press All-American honors as well as Kodak All-American honors. The senior was the second Big East player taken in the draft, one pick behind West Virginia’s Yolanda Paige, who was chosen by the Indianapolis Fever. Batteast, who was a swing player for Notre Dame this season, should see the same role next season according to her new coach.”Jacqueline Batteast we look at as a ‘3,’” McConnell Serio said. “And something that we haven’t had is a post-up ‘3,’ someone that we can really put on the block and be able to go to them inside and create mismatches.”Batteast will report to Chicago on Thursday for rookie orientation sessions and will head to Minneapolis on Sunday for the start of training camp. The Lynx, who finished 18-16 last year, tip off the regular season May 22, and their first exhibition is set for May 1.