Smith Drafted by Phoenix in WNBA Draft

April 5, 2006

Iowa senior women’s basketball player Crystal Smith has been selected by the Phoenix Mercury with the 32nd pick in the third round of today’s WNBA Draft.

Smith becomes the 12th Hawkeye to be drafted by the WNBA and the third in six years. She becomes the first Hawkeye to be selected in the WNBA Draft since Lindsey Meder was picked 38th in the third round by the Minnesota Lynx in 2002.

The native of Haughton, LA, was one of three players selected by the Mercury in today’s draft. Rutgers’ Cappie Pondexter was picked second by Phoenix, while the Mercury traded for Connecticut’s Ann Strother, who was picked 15th by Houston.

“Ann Strother and Crystal Smith are great shooters who can also run the floor and defend,” general manager Seth Sulka said in a statement released by the team. “They’re going to give us much-needed depth in both of those areas.”

Smith was one of only three Big Ten players selected. Michigan State’s Liz Shimek, who was chosen 18th in the second round, will be going to the Houston Comets, while Ohio State’s Debbie Merrill was picked 28th by the Connecticut Sun in the last selection of the second round.

A two-time tri-captain, Smith was named a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American her senior campaign. The 5-6 guard, was one of only two Big Ten players to be named consensus all-conference and to the all-defensive team.

Smith set or matched six single-game Iowa records in 2005-06, including points (46). Smith finished her Hawkeye career ranked fifth in Iowa career steals (213) and 3-pointers made (116) and 14th in scoring (1,193). She earned third team all-Big Ten accolades her junior year and was named Most Outstanding Player at the 2004 Junkanoo Jam and Hawkeye Challenge Tournaments.