Kamiko Williams, Taber Spani candidates for WNBA draft

Tennessee's Taber Spani (13) and Tennessee guard Kamiko Williams (4) crowd Florida's Sydney Moss (40) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. Tennessee took the win with a score of 78-75. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

Photo by Phil Sandlin

Tennessee's Taber Spani (13) and Tennessee guard Kamiko Williams (4) crowd Florida's Sydney Moss (40) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. Tennessee took the win with a score of 78-75. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

Tennessee’s Kamiko Williams played her best basketball as a senior this season.

The 5-foot-11 guard, who began the season as part-time player, was a starter by season’s end and arguably the Lady Vols most important player.

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick thinks that the WNBA noticed.

The women’s professional league holds its annual draft beginning at 8 p.m. Monday. The first round will be shown on ESPN2 and the final two rounds will unfold on ESPNU beginning at 9. The entire draft will take place in prime time for the first time in the league’s 17-year history.

Williams and fellow UT senior Taber Spani both are possible choices. Williams has become a more appealing choice based on her strong finish.

“I think Kamiko’s stock went up because of how she played this year,” Warlick said. “We saw that in her. It took us awhile to get it out of her.”

Despite playing primarily a reserve role, Williams played her way into a starting role by season’s end. She averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game and led Tennessee in steals with 57. She had twice as many assists (88) as turnovers (44) and shot 50.5 percent from the floor.

Her overall athletic ability was reflected by her defense and rebounding, along with her knack for getting into the foul lane for pull-up jumpers. She had one of her best games against a formidable opponent, scoring 15 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out six assists against Baylor on Dec. 18.

Spani’s appeal is based primarily on her shooting. Her per-game scoring average of 11.1 points this season was a career high. The 6-1 forward scored a career-high 33 points against Texas A&M in the SEC tournament, converting 11 of 13 field goal attempts. She was 5 for 6 on 3 pointers in that game.

Spani also endured a myriad of health issues during her career, including back problems this season.

“That concerns me because it’s our season and then she goes right into the WNBA season,” Warlick said.

Another draft candidate is former UT post player Alyssia Brewer, who finished her career this season at UCLA. The 6-3 Brewer, who left the UT program before the 2011-12 season, averaged 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in her one season with the Bruins.

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Comments » 7

yopatrick#231155 writes:

I love Taber, but she doesn't have WNBA quickness. Kamiko, on the other hand, will be a steal for whoever is smart enough to take her.

madrigal writes:

I expect Kamiko to go second or third round, and whoever gets her will be quite happy with her. She has the quickness and a little bit of flashiness that should make her a hit with fans wherever she goes. I can see Taber having a future in coaching if that's what she wants to do. Her leadership ability speaks to that.

RLL59 writes:

Most of us saw the same abilities in Kamiko prior to her senior year. Her lack of playing time and exposure may well have been a shared responsibility among her and the coaches, but for Coach Holly to take credit for her senior year results is a bit incredulous. By the way, I'm not opposed to Coach Holly; I think she did a good job in a transition year.

SummittsCourt writes:

Good luck to both! Though I expect both to end up on teams overseas after the summer anyway. That is where the real money is for women's basketball.

The WNBA seems to be losing it's luster...

martic#220796 writes:

Congrats to Kamiko!!! you surprised a few by being chosen that early. Too bad you couldn't have been there to accept it live!!!!

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

I have a feeling that Taber will achieve much more success in life than most players who are drafted in the WNBA.

lstbodeanvol writes:

CONGRATS AND BEST WISHES TO BOTH LADIES....TH WNBA WILL BE EVEN BRIGHTER NOW WITH THIS CLASS COMING IN....

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