WNBA DRAFT 2016 PRESENTED BY STATE FARM® TO BE HELD ON APRIL 14

– ESPN2 and ESPNU to Televise Draft Live from Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut – 

– Storm Owns Top Pick for Second Straight Year; Sun to Select Third and Fourth – 

NEW YORK, Feb. 22, 2016 – WNBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm will be held on Thursday, April 14 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.  ESPN2 will provide coverage and analysis of the first round beginning at 7 p.m. ET, and ESPNU will air coverage of the second and third rounds starting at 8 p.m. ET.  The draft comes one month before tip-off of the WNBA’s historic 20th season, which opens on Saturday, May 14.

“We are thrilled that the WNBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm will once again be held in front of a great crowd at the Mohegan Sun Arena and televised live on ESPN2,” said WNBA President Lisa Borders.  “Through the network’s in-depth coverage our fans around the country will have the opportunity to see these players as they embark on their professional careers and take the first step toward making their mark on the WNBA.”

“We are looking forward to continuing ESPN’s 20-year collaboration with the WNBA,” said Julie Sobieski, ESPN Vice President, League Sports Programming.  “The WNBA Draft is a key opportunity for us to welcome the next generation of players who will become integral to ESPN’s coverage and storytelling of this landmark season.”

The draft will also be available through WatchESPN, accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected devices to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.  In addition, WNBA.com will provide complete draft-day coverage and serve as the web destination for fans who want to track the top college seniors in advance of the draft.

The Seattle Storm holds the top pick in the draft for the second consecutive year and the fourth time in franchise history after winning the WNBA Draft Lottery presented by State Farm last Sept. 24.  The San Antonio Stars will select second, followed by two selections for the Connecticut Sun, which has its own pick at No. 3 and a pick acquired from the Atlanta Dream at No. 4.  The fifth pick belongs to the Los Angeles Sparks.

Last year, the Storm used the No. 1 overall pick to select Jewell Loyd, who was named WNBA Rookie of the Year presented by Samsung and headlined the 2015 WNBA All-Rookie Team.  The All-Rookie Team also featured the New York Liberty’s Brittany Boyd and Kiah Stokes, the Nos. 9 and 11 overall selections, respectively, in last year’s draft.

Mohegan Sun Arena has hosted the WNBA Draft twice before (2014 and 2015) and the WNBA All-Star Game four times (2005, 2009, 2013, and 2015).

“The draft is a perfect event for a live audience that is passionate and knowledgeable about the women’s game, and that is the description of the fans in our area,” said Sun CEO Mitchell Etess.  “The building should be particularly electric this year given the talent at the top of the draft class, so we very much look forward to having Mohegan Sun Arena once again serve as the home of the WNBA Draft.”

The event is open to the public.  Sun season-ticket holders will be admitted free of charge and have access to priority seating as well as a special opportunity to meet Connecticut’s draft picks in attendance.  Fans who are not season-ticket holders will be admitted with the donation of a canned food item at the door, which will benefit the New London Community Meal Center.

The current order for WNBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm is as follows:

2016 ORDER OF SELECTION

First Round

  1. Seattle (10-24)
  2. San Antonio (8-26)
  3. Connecticut (15-9)
  4. Connecticut from Atlanta (15-19) ( Williams, 2/3/16)
  5. Los Angeles (14-20)
  6. Dallas (18-16)
  7. Washington (18-16)
  8. Phoenix (20-14)
  9. Indiana (20-14)
  10. Chicago (21-13)
  11. Atlanta from Minnesota (22-12) (S. Fowles, E. DeSouza, D. Dantas, R. Gray, 7/26/15)
  12. New York (23-11)

Second Round

  1. Atlanta from San Antonio (8-26) (S. Logic, 7/5/15)
  2. Minnesota from Seattle (10-24) (M. Wright, R. Montgomery, 7/20/15)
  3. Connecticut (15-19)
  4. Atlanta (15-19)
  5. Los Angeles (14-20)
  6. Dallas (18-16)
  7. Washington (18-16)
  8. Phoenix (20-14)
  9. Indiana (20-14)
  10. Minnesota from Chicago (21-13) (S. Fowles, E. DeSouza, D. Dantas, R. Gray, 7/26/15)
  11. Connecticut from Minnesota (22-12) (A. Jones, 5/13/15)
  12. New York (23-11)

Third Round

  1. San Antonio (8-26)
  2. Seattle (10-24)
  3. Connecticut (15-19)
  4. Atlanta (15-19)
  5. Los Angeles (14-20)
  6. Dallas (18-16)
  7. Washington (18-16)
  8. Phoenix (20-14)
  9. Indiana (20-14)
  10. Chicago (21-13)
  11. Minnesota (22-12)
  12. New York (23-11)

About State Farm®
The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto, home and individual life insurance in the United States. Its 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve more than 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2015 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com

About the WNBA
The WNBA, which features 12 teams, is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity.  The league, which counts Verizon as its leaguewide marquee partner, will begin its 20th season on May 14, 2016.

Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education.  For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.

Contacts:              Ron Howard, (212) 407-8641, rhoward@nba.com
                               Sam Tager, (212) 407-8358, stager@nba.com
ESPN Contact:    Tara Chozet (860) 766-2206, Tara.C.Chozet@espn.com