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Mystics Make Holdsclaw No.1 Pick

Chamique Holdsclaw, regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of women's college basketball, was drafted as the first overall pick in the WNBA draft on Tuesday by the Washington Mystics.

The 6-2 Holdsclaw, who led Tennessee to three consecutive national championships from 1996 to 1998, will be joining a Mystics team that won just three of 30 games last season.

The four-round draft was especially deep since it featured members of the defunct American Basketball League along with college seniors and international players.

After Holdsclaw, the next 10 picks were players from the ABL, which folded last season.

The Sacramento Monarchs used the second overall pick on forward-center Yolanda Griffith formerly of the Chicago Condors.

Holdsclaw is a four-time All-American and a two-time winner of the Naismith Award as national player of the year. She also won the Sullivan Award in February as the nation's best amateur athlete after averaging 20.9 points as a senior.

Acclaimed as the female version of Michael Jordan, Holdsclaw wore Jordan's No. 23 in high school and college and is expected to do the same in the WNBA.

The Mystics had planned to welcome Holdsclaw with a rally at Union Station Wednesday, but pushed it back to Friday when they learned Holdsclaw has final exams at Tennessee scheduled for Thursday.

The Utah Starzz and Los Angeles Sparks took Portland teammates Natalie Williams and DeLisha Milton with the third and fourth picks, respectively.

The Detroit Shock selected San Jose guard Jennifer Azzi fifth overall and the New York Liberty picked Colorado forward Crystal Robinson sixth.

The two expansion teams -- the Minnesota Lynx and the Orlando Miracle -- had the seventh and eighth picks. The Lynx took guard Tonya Edwards of Columbus and the Miracle selected forward Tari Phillips of Colorado.

The Charlotte Sting picked guard Dawn Staley of Philadelphia ninth overall, the Phoenix Mercury selected Colorado guard Edna Campbell 10th and the Cleveland Rockets took center Chastity Melvin of Philadelphia.

The two-time defending champion Houston Comets selected forward Natalia Zassoulskaia of Dynamo Moscow with the 12th and final pick of the round.

The 10-week WNBA season will begin on June 10.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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