TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Tulsa Shock acquired two former All-Americans from Stanford on Friday, picking up guard Candice Wiggins from the Minnesota Lynx and forward Nicole Powell from the New York Liberty.
The three-team deal also sent center Janel McCarville from New York to Minnesota in a sign-and-trade, and the Lynx received Tulsa’s second-round pick in 2014. The Liberty got Tulsa’s second- and third-round picks in next month’s draft, plus the rights to veteran Deanna Nolan, who hasn’t played in the WNBA since 2009 after refusing to continue playing for the Shock following the team’s move from Detroit.
McCarville didn’t play in the league the past two seasons, either, but she was excited about joining former college teammate Lindsay Whalen with the two-time defending Western Conference champion Lynx. McCarville and Whalen helped lead Minnesota to the Final Four in 2004, and McCarville was a fan favorite who remains the all-time leader in field-goal percentage and blocked shots in Gophers history.
“Starting position? Right now I could care less about it as long as I’m a part of this tradition that they have and the future that we can build on,” McCarville said at her introductory news conference in Minneapolis. “It doesn’t matter to me. I’m in it for the game, and I’m happy to be here.”
The Shock also received New York’s third-round pick in this year’s draft.
In Wiggins and Powell, Tulsa gets a pair of established WNBA players to add to a team that has languished near the bottom of the league after being stripped of the stars who won championships in Detroit.
“Both have been on WNBA championship teams and bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and skill to our young team,” Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “They are consummate professionals who are constantly working to improve their game. Their veteran leadership and competitive drive to win will help lead this Shock team toward our ultimate goal of winning a WNBA championship.”
Powell has averaged 10.5 points and 4.3 rebounds during her nine-year career, and she appeared in the 2009 All-Star game as a replacement for an injured Lisa Leslie. Her 7.0-point average last season was the lowest since her rookie season in 2004.
Wiggins averaged a career-best 15.7 points as a rookie in 2008 but has seen her numbers drop off as the Lynx made the WNBA Finals the past two seasons, winning the title in 2011 and losing to Indiana last year.
Tulsa holds the No. 3 pick in the April 15 draft, which appears loaded this year with Baylor’s Brittney Griner, Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins and Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne among the top prospects.
“Candice and Nicole are going to have a huge impact on and off the court with our team heading into the 2013 season,” Shock President Steve Swetoha said. “We are truly excited and thrilled to add two solid veterans and leaders to our organization. These are two strong pieces in building a championship team.
“We have a plan for our organization and we couldn’t be more excited for the direction we are going.”
Nolan was a four-time All-Star and won three championships with the Shock in Detroit, being named Finals MVP in 2006. In New York she will be reunited with former Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer — entering his first season with the Liberty — as well as former teammates Plenette Pierson and Katie Smith. Another ex-Detroit teammate, Kara Braxton, spent the last 1 ½ seasons in New York and is an unrestricted free agent.
McCarville started every game for New York from 2008 to 2010, averaging 8.8 points in her final season with the Liberty. The native of Stevens Point, Wis., will return to Minnesota, where she was a second-team All-American before being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft.
With McCarville, the Lynx now have three former No. 1 overall draft picks with Seimone Augustus (2006) and Maya Moore (2011).
“We want to maintain our high level of play and every year we have to try and make improvements to that, and we think that Janel can be a big part with keeping us at the level we have been at,” Lynx chief executive officer Roger Griffith said.
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