Shekinna Stricklen, Glory Johnson among first four players drafted today by WNBA

SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee players Shekinna Stricklen, from left, Glory Johnson, and Vicki Baugh walk back to their locker room smiling after a news conference at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA on March 25.

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2012

SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee players Shekinna Stricklen, from left, Glory Johnson, and Vicki Baugh walk back to their locker room smiling after a news conference at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA on March 25.

Shekinna Stricklen doesn’t know how much her workout with Seattle actually helped her WNBA draft stock.

Obviously, their session at Pratt Pavilion didn’t hurt. The Storm used their first-round pick, the second overall selection on Monday, to choose the Lady Vols forward.

Stricklen was one of three Lady Vols taken in the first round of the women’s basketball professional league’s annual talent grab, held at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

Glory Johnson was taken fourth by Tulsa. The big surprise involved former Lady Vol Kelley Cain. The 6-foot-6 center, who ended her UT career last spring because of lingering hip, back and knee problems, was taken seventh by the New York Liberty.

Vicki Baugh was the fourth Lady Vol chosen. She went to Tulsa as the first pick of the third round — No. 25 overall.

Stricklen’s versatility, rebounding and 3-point shooting capabilities were established assets. When Storm coach/general manager Brian Agler and his staff gathered with her on the Thursday before Easter, they wanted to learn more about her perceived weakness.

“Mostly it was conditioning,” she said of the workout, “to see if could push through or if I was going to quit.”

The 6-2 Stricklen realized that her temperament and consistency were big question marks. Stricklen scored just two points in the first half during Tennessee’s three-game run through the SEC tournament last month in Nashville.

“I think that’s been the main issue for people looking at me this year, especially throughout this season,” Stricklen said. “I had a lot of ups and downs.”

While Stricklen was selected by a team with a recent WNBA championship (2010), Johnson went to a team that won three games last season, the fewest in league history.

Johnson had an interesting take on Tulsa’s season.

“I know they weren’t as successful as they wanted to be,” she said. “Neither were we at Tennessee.”

With a rebuilding team, the 6-3 forward, a State Farm All-American and the SEC defensive player of the year this season, likely will have a greater opportunity.

“She’s one of those players, she reminds me of (former Lady Vol) Tamika Catchings coming out of college,” Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “She has a high-octane motor.”

Johnson intends to make an impact, and she already has ambitions for her new team.

“I guarantee there will be more than three wins this season,” she said.

After being chosen, both Stricklen and Johnson were so busy that they weren’t immediately aware of Cain’s selection.

“That’s crazy,” Johnson said. “I’m so happy for her. It took her leaving UT to realize she still wanted to play ball.”

After taking a break, Cain played professional overseas for a team in Turkey. She joined the team in January, leaving on the evening of Jan. 1, after watching the Lady Vols play at Auburn earlier that day.

“I know she had a good season,” Stricklen said. “She’s shooting 3s now.”

In a UT release, Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt said: “Kelley’s size can definitely make an impact and if she stays healthy she is a force. Our whole staff was excited to hear her name called.”

Baugh was one of the last draft invitees to be chosen, joining Johnson with the Shock.

The 6-foot-4 center wasn’t shocked by the wait. She referred to her collegiate career, which was interrupted by two major knee injuries.

“I know I have to surprise a lot of people and prove that I am healthy and ready to go and I plan to do that,” she said.

Dan Fleser may be reached at 865-342-6288. Follow him at http://twitter.com/FleserKNS and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/fleser.

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Comments » 28

eVOLved writes:

Thanks for the tweets!

Anyway, they're both talented ladies, GBO!

LadyVolsFan71 writes:

Saw that Kelley Cain was drafted. I thought her playing days were over?

nadio1987 writes:

Kelley Cain went overseas to Turkey and played and had a great season, I saw some of her games online.. she got a lot better..

VolBy3 writes:

in response to volman2010:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well said.

ps11824 writes:

RockyMountainVol writes:
in response to Griswold:

So we had 3 of the top 7 players taken and never made a Final Four with them? Time for Pat and her $2 million salary to step down.

With all due respect (meaning: none) time for you to shut up about Pat Summitt. ]]

Time for Griswold to go back to the kid's channel since women's sports is not within his/her area of expertise...

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to ps11824:

RockyMountainVol writes:
in response to Griswold:

So we had 3 of the top 7 players taken and never made a Final Four with them? Time for Pat and her $2 million salary to step down.

With all due respect (meaning: none) time for you to shut up about Pat Summitt. ]]

Time for Griswold to go back to the kid's channel since women's sports is not within his/her area of expertise...

98,

Griswold is simply another troll. Harmless troll at that.............

renards66 writes:

What a pleasure to watch these two young ladies play throughout their collegiate career. So very proud of both. And of Kelley Cain as well. Thanks ladies!!!

SummittsCourt writes:

What kind of season would the Lady Vols have had with Kelley Cain? Didn't know she was playing overseas and healthy apparently.

bigfan865 writes:

in response to Griswold:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

With your way of thinking Tara should be fired at Stanford cause she had the number 1 pick and never won a NC with her.
Oh, and Kim should have been fired when she didn't get to the final last year because she had Griner. I mean if you don't win every game with Griner you suck as a coach! NOT!!!
You, Griswold, are an idiot.

papavol writes:

in response to Griswold:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

wow, you are an idiot.

bigfan865 writes:

And here's another thought for Griswold:
Perhaps part of the reason these girls went so high was that the WNBA coaches appreciate how well they played during a very emotionally challenging year watching Pat face her illness and having the other coaches taking on new roles.

martic#220796 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

What kind of season would the Lady Vols have had with Kelley Cain? Didn't know she was playing overseas and healthy apparently.

All year long I thought "boy Kelly Cain sure could help us" I even had secret hopes that she would come back and play for us this year. Funny how there was no word what so ever about her playing over seas. Makes you wonder what is/was really going on in Knoxville?

martic#220796 writes:

Boy didn't Vikie look beautiful!!!!

vettefool writes:

in response to martic#220796:

All year long I thought "boy Kelly Cain sure could help us" I even had secret hopes that she would come back and play for us this year. Funny how there was no word what so ever about her playing over seas. Makes you wonder what is/was really going on in Knoxville?

I believe kellie cain did graduate last year with a degree in logistics. why she decided she wasn't healthy enough to play for lv and went to europe instead is a good question.if she had been healthy and in good condition (a big if), she would have been a real plus for the lady vols. if our so-called sports department at the kns were doing their job, we would have already known this.

GONAVY writes:

UT Women's basketball is nothing close to what it was.

clvolfan writes:

in response to nadio1987:

Kelley Cain went overseas to Turkey and played and had a great season, I saw some of her games online.. she got a lot better..

Just one of those LV players who was either asked to leave,or pushed out after they were through with her.Best Wishes Kelley.

Theo writes:

in response to clvolfan:

Just one of those LV players who was either asked to leave,or pushed out after they were through with her.Best Wishes Kelley.

Wow - what an idiot. I am refering to you of course - troll.
So what team do you have a rooting interest in. Obviously one that is jealous of the Lady Vols.
Anyway - congrats to all the Lady Vols drafted. They will undoubtedly continue to make us all proud.

g-man writes:

in response to Griswold:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

agree

g-man writes:

in response to orangesheep:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

ludicrous

g-man writes:

in response to martic#220796:

All year long I thought "boy Kelly Cain sure could help us" I even had secret hopes that she would come back and play for us this year. Funny how there was no word what so ever about her playing over seas. Makes you wonder what is/was really going on in Knoxville?

these girls should have been superstars with good coaching, only got worser under this staff

VAvolfanRON writes:

congrats ladies...thanks for giving it your all

ps11824 writes:

Dignity is a forgotten trait these days. To be crass and disrespectful seems to be cool with some. I'm certainly willing to have an adult conversation with whomever.

madrigal writes:

To all the people who constantly complained about Shekinna and Glory all season.......how do you like our girls now? Oh, and I hope the crow tastes good.

volsgirl writes:

in response to Griswold:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What ever,time for you to just go away

mtnbikrtn writes:

Glory will be a star at 200 S. Denver, Tulsa, OK in the Bank Of Oklahoma (BOK) Center. The giant roll of duct tape is a nice arena. I still think East TN could support a WNBA Team.

kazoo writes:

Kelly Cain quits UT with a year left, saying she is giving up basketball because of various injuries. Now we learn she's been playing pro ball and wants to play in the WNBA!? Needless to say, we might have beaten Baylor with her. A little disingenuous, I would say.

kazoo writes:

in response to g-man:

these girls should have been superstars with good coaching, only got worser under this staff

UT is not a well-coached team--and hasn't been for more than a few years. PS is great--but the game passed her by a long time ago, frankly. We have the best talent in the country most years and haven't been to the final four in four years. Had it not been for the /individual/ greatness of Parker, the deterioration in the program would have been noticeable long before the last couple of years. That's a fact.

ps11824 writes:

kazoo, so you're implying players like Bobbitt, Hornbuckle & Anosike were non-factors??? One player does not a team make. Just like the anomaly, Griner, a clutch player must be surrounded by able bodies, capable of making & running plays that put points on the board for them, while stopping their opponent.

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