Welle, Gahan find a home in WNBA

Jeremy Gustafson

Angie Welle and Tracy Gahan don’t have access to the Internet at their house. So they watched the first round of the WNBA draft on ESPN2, then went on to more important things – trying on clothes.

The two were picking outfits for the Veishea festivities Friday when Welle got a phone call.

“My sister had called and then, like 10 seconds later [ISU head coach Bill] Fennelly beeped in,” Welle said. “So I went over and talked to Coach Fennelly. Then my dad called. So I found out that way.”

Found out that she had been picked in the second round (31st overall) by the Cleveland Rockers. Gahan went in the third round (46th overall) to the New York Liberty.

“It’s just nice to know where I could be,” Welle said. “Up until this point I could have been in L.A., New York or anywhere in the middle. I hated that. Right now it seems like I could be in Cleveland or in Ames. I’ve narrowed it down to two.”

Welle and Gahan join Stacy Frese, Desire‚ Francis and Megan Taylor as the only Cyclones to be picked in the draft.

Frese and Francis went in 2000, while Taylor was picked in 2001.

Gahan will get a shot at every basketball player’s dream – shooting hoops in the mecca of sports entertainment – New York’s Madison Square Garden.

“That is cool,” Gahan said, still absorbing the moment.

Gahan was the only perimeter player the Liberty drafted, and her being picked in the third round surprised some.

“I think she played herself up after the draft camp,” Fennelly said.

While Cleveland is no New York, it will have its bonuses for Welle.

The Rockers had the best record in the Eastern Conference last year (22-10), and their coach, Dan Hughes, was an assistant men’s basketball coach at Toledo while Fennelly was the women’s basketball coach there.

“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Fennelly said. “I feel so good for Angie because he’s just that kind of person, let alone basketball coach.”

Plus Cyclone freshman Mary Fox and her family are from Cleveland.

“I can go visit the Fox’s if I make it that far,” Welle said laughing.

Welle, however, was more relieved about knowing she was picked.

“For acting like you don’t really care very much what happens, it’s such a relief to have it done,” Welle said.

Sue Bird of Connecticut was the first pick in the draft. She was chosen by Seattle. Detroit took her teammate, Swin Cash, with the second pick.

Big 12 player of the year Stacey Dales-Schuman of Oklahoma went third overall to Washington. She was the first of five first-round picks from the Big 12 Conference.

Baylor’s Sheila Lambert went seventh to Charlotte. Her teammate Danielle Crockrom went 11th to Utah.

Oklahoma’s LaNeishea Caufield and Rosalind Ross were also first-round picks. Caufield went 14th to Utah and Ross went 16th to Los Angeles.

But getting drafted is the easy part. Now they must make the teams.

“It’s going to be tough to make the team and they know that,” Fennelly said. “Like I told all the organizations when I talked to them – once they get them into camp and see how hard they work and see what kind of people they are, they’re going to be hard to cut.

“When you’ve watched those two and how hard they’ve worked, there’s just a great sense of pride. It’s kind of their last . Iowa State thing.”

Welle’s training camp starts on April 29th. She is going to be done with school on Friday and has four finals and five projects scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Gahan will leave for New York on Thursday. She has four finals to take care of before that.

Gahan said that while she is excited about getting drafted, she doesn’t want to stop there.

“It would be a little disappointing [if I didn’t make the team],” she said. “You hope to make the team but, you know, whatever, you just go do what you can.”

Regardless of what happens, at least they’ll get to try on new uniforms.