Kachine Alexander won’t need directions to get to the Target Center to practice with her new team, the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.
The Minneapolis native was selected 26th overall Monday in the WNBA Draft. The 5-foot-9 guard had to wait until the second pick of the third round to start celebrating in Iowa City.
“It is a special thing to go back to my hometown,” Alexander said. “I grew up looking up to a lot of those players and going to those games.”
Alexander becomes part of a rebuilding effort for the Lynx, who haven’t made the WNBA playoffs the past six seasons.
“It’s a good place for me and a good challenge,” Alexander said. “I’m always up for a challenge. I like being in that type of spotlight.”
With five draft picks Monday — including overall No. 1 Maya Moore out of Connecticut — the Lynx are hoping to become a title contender for the first time.
After Moore, the Lynx added Xavier’s Amber Harris with the fourth overall pick. Minnesota then took North Carolina’s Jessica Breland (13th) and DePaul’s Felicia Chester (14th) before wrapping their draft with Alexander.
With a roster full of talented veterans, plus the highly drafted newcomers, Alexander will have to impress the Lynx coaches when training camp opens May 15.
“That’s my next big challenge, making the team with the talent they have there,” Alexander said. “I have to make my mark.”
Alexander became the first Iowa player selected in the draft since Crystal Smith was taken with the 32nd overall pick (third round) in 2006. She is the fourth player under Iowa coach Lisa Bluder and 11th in school history to be selected in the draft.
“We are very excited for Kachine,” Bluder said in a release. “Being selected in the WNBA Draft has been one of Kash’s goals since she arrived at Iowa.
“Kachine was a great Hawkeye in her four years, and we can’t wait to see her take her talents to the professional stage.”
Alexander left her mark on the career lists at Iowa including scoring (16th), rebounding (2nd), and assists (9th), despite missing a season’s worth of games because of academics and injury. She also recorded 33 double-doubles at Iowa.
She was the first Iowa player and fifth in Big Ten history to record 1,000 points, 800 rebounds and 300 assists in her career.
Four-time Big Ten Player of the Year Jantel Lavender of Ohio State was picked fifth by the Los Angeles Sparks. Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke went to the Chicago Sky with the 27th overall pick and Indiana’s Jori Davis was selected 33rd by the Indiana Fever.
The Lynx open the 2011 season June 3 at Los Angeles. An expansion team in 1999, the Lynx have finished above .500 twice, in 2003 and ’04, and have one playoff win in 12 years. Minnesota was 13-21 last season.
“I didn’t have a thought in my head when my name popped up,” Alexander said. “I was nervous from the beginning of the draft. Definitely nervous.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball