Kachine Alexander drafted by WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx

BY MATT COZZI | APRIL 12, 2011 7:20 AM

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For Kachine Alexander, Monday afternoon signaled the beginning of the newest chapter in her basketball career.

At around 4 p.m., Alexander’s professional basketball dreams came true. The Minnesota Lynx selected the former Iowa guard in the third round with the 26th overall selection in the WNBA draft.

Shortly after seeing her name flash across the screen during ESPN’s draft coverage, Alexander was at a loss for words.

“I can’t even describe the feeling,” she said from her mother’s Iowa City home. “It’s a very exciting time.”

The 5-9 senior is the first Hawkeye player to be drafted since 2006, when Crystal Smith was selected 32nd overall.

Alexander spent most of Monday watching the draft on TV with friends and family. Her mother, Jennifer Davis, said she nearly cried when the announcement came.

“When I read her name on [the TV], I had knots in my stomach,” she said. “All of [Kachine’s] hard work and all of my sacrifices have come to this now. It puts it all into perspective.”

After solidifying herself as one of the best players in Iowa women’s basketball history, Alexander will now embark on a new journey. In her four-year career, the two-time AP All-American honoree recorded 1,239 points, 910 rebounds, and 339 assists.

Alexander is the fourth Hawkeye player to be selected in the WNBA draft in the Lisa Bluder era.

“We are very excited for Kachine,” Bluder said in a release. “Today shows that all of her hard work and dedication on the basket court paid off … we can’t wait to see her take her talents to the professional stage.”

ESPN.com’s WNBA draft emphasized Alexander’s defense following her selection. The all-Big Ten player became an elite rebounder while wearing the Black and Gold, crashing the boards with a vengeance. This past season, she led all Division-I guards in rebounds per game with 9.5.

“A stat-sheet stuffer, the 5-9 Alexander was probably the best pound-for-pound rebounder in the college game,” ESPN.com’s report said. “More grinder than superstar, Alexander is most talented as a defender.”

Alexander said she would continue to be aggressive on defense in the professional ranks, especially with no guarantee of making the Lynx’s squad. WNBA rosters typically hold up to 10 players.

Minnesota had four of the first 14 picks in yesterday’s draft, including the first overall selection. The Lynx took Connecticut’s Maya Moore with the top pick.

While some may view the short roster numbers as a challenge, it doesn’t appear Alexander will be giving in anytime soon. If anything, getting selected by Minnesota is an extra incentive to make the team, she said. Alexander is originally from Minneapolis.

“Going back home is really humbling,” she said. “It’s going to make me work harder so I’m able to stay there and play for the Lynx.”

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