by: Lorne Chan

Before the future No. 1 pick hears her name called at the WNBA Draft, she’ll be seeking one more shining moment in the Final Four. The Stars hold the No. 1 and No. 5 picks in the 2017 WNBA Draft, and almost every potential draft pick will be in action this weekend. To prep for the draft with a dose of March Madness, here are seniors to watch in the NCAA tournament, which enters the Final Four in Dallas. South Carolina faces Stanford and Connecticut meets Mississippi State in the national semifinals, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday on ESPN2. The National Championship game is at 5 p.m. Sunday on ESPN. The 2017 WNBA Draft is less than a month away, taking place on Thursday, April 13.

alainacoatesAlaina Coates (C – South Carolina)

Out of the NCAA Tournament because of an ankle injury, Coates finished her college career with 1,603 points, 1,230 rebounds and 210 blocks. She was named first-team All-SEC as a junior and senior.
South Carolina has still advanced to the Final Four with a 31-4 record, as both the men’s and women’s teams are in the Final Four this weekend.

Next Game: Stanford vs. South Carolina, Dallas, TX, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 3/31, ESPN2

ninadavisNina Davis (F – Baylor), brionnaAlexis Jones (G, Baylor)

Baylor was as close as it gets to a Final Four appearance, but run into one of the greatest individual performances in the NCAA Women’s Tournament of all time. Mississippi State’s 5-foot-5 junior guard Morgan William had 41 points, seven assists and no turnovers as Mississippi State defeated Baylor 94-85 in the Elite Eight.
Jones, a 5-9 guard, averaged 13.9 points and 4.8 assists for the season. Davis, a 5-11 forward, was the 2015 Big 12 Player of the Year and averaged 12.5 points and 5.6 rebounds this season.

kelseyplumKelsey Plum (G – Washington)

Plum finished her college career with an NCAA record 3,527 career points, including 29 in her final game, a 75-64 loss against Mississippi State in the Sweet 16.
Washington finished the season with a 29-6 record as Plum, a 5-8 guard, led the nation in scoring at 31.7 points per game, while shooting 53.3 percent from the field overall, 42.9 percent from 3-point range and 88.8 percent from the foul line. Plum earned unanimous Associated Press All-America honors, becoming the first Huskies player to do so.

shatoriwalkerkimbroughShatori Walker-Kimbrough (G – Maryland), brionnaBrionna Jones (C, Maryland)

Jones, a 6-3 center, and Walker-Kimbrough, a 5-11 guard were both selected as All-Americans, as Jones made the first-team and Walker-Kimbrough was a third-team selection.
The Terps’ season ended with a 77-63 loss against Oregon in the Sweet 16, but it doesn’t diminish the impressive collegiate careers of Jones and Walker-Kimbrough. They helped Maryland reach the Final Four in 2014 and 2015, and win three straight Big Ten titles in the school’s three seasons in the conference.
Jones set a school record with 697 points this season while Walker-Kimbrough finished with the fourth-highest career points in team history (2,156 points).

Seniors in the Final Four

SaniyaChongSaniya Chong (G – UConn)

The only senior starter for UConn this season, Chong will have a place in record books as the Huskies’ winning streak is now 111 games and counting. She’s averaging 8.2 points and 4.0 assists this season, with an assist-turnover differential (3.63) that ranks third in the nation.

Next Game: Mississippi State vs. UConn, Dallas, TX, 10 p.m. Friday, 3/31, ESPN2

EricaMcCallErica McCall (F – Stanford), KarlieSamuelsonKarlie Samuelson (G, Stanford)

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said the Cardinal is not a star-studded team this season, but has a group of players that excels within their roles. McCall leads the team in scoring with 14.4 points and 8.9 rebounds while Samuelson adds 12.8 points and 2.7 assists per game. Samuelson is the older sister of UConn sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson.

Next Game: South Carolina vs. Stanford, Dallas, TX, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 3/31, ESPN2

ChinweOkorieChinwe Okorie (C – Mississippi State)

A 6-5 starter, Okorie is averaging 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds. Okorie, a native of Nigeria, first dribbled a basketball at age 16. She moved to Massachusetts for her senior year of high school and became on of the top recruits in the country.

Next Game: UConn vs. Mississippi State, Dallas, TX, 10 p.m. Friday, 3/31, ESPN2