The last time the Seattle Storm had back-to-back No. 1 picks in the WNBA Draft, they chose Australian Lauren Jackson in 2001 and former UConn star Sue Bird in 2002. All they did was lead Seattle to a pair of WNBA championships.
Last April, the Storm selected Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd with the top pick and she was named the league's Rookie of the Year Thursday. Next April, Seattle will get to do it again with its choice expected to be another UConn star -- senior All-American and two-time national Player of the Year Breanna Stewart.
The Storm was awarded the first overall selection in the 2016 WNBA Draft Thursday night in a lottery held at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.
"Today is an exciting day for our franchise, fans and city," Storm president and general manager Alisha Valavanis said on the team's website. "Back-to-back number one draft picks propel our efforts to rebuild and return championship caliber basketball to Seattle."
The four 2015 WNBA non-playoff teams -- Seattle (12-22), the San Antonio Stars (8-26), the Connecticut Sun (15-19), and the Atlanta Dream (15-19) -- were the contenders for the top pick. While the Stars had the league's worst record this summer, the WNBA changed the lottery rules last month to give the team with the worst two-year cumulative record the best odds at the No. 1 pick. That would be Seattle. The Storm had a two-year mark of 22-46 followed by San Antonio (24-44), Connecticut (28-40), and Atlanta (34-34).
Seattle had a 44.2 percent chance to win the first pick, followed by the Stars (27.6), the Sun (17.8), and the Dream (10.4). The odds held. San Antonio will choose second, followed by Connecticut and Atlanta.
The Stars haven't had the No. 2 pick since 2007, and then they traded it to the New York Liberty for guard Becky Hammon.
"The last time we had a No. 2 pick, it ended up being pretty impactful in a lot of ways," Stars coach and general manager Dan Hughes said on the team's website. "I think that's what we'll look for again. We're going to have options, and we’re going to look for a face of the franchise.
"I don't think we’re going to say we need a guard or forward. We're going to look for someone who is going to make an impact."
Assuming Seattle selects Stewart, that could be UConn senior All-American point guard and Glenn Heights, Texas, native Moriah Jefferson.
Last April, the Sun had two lottery picks. They traded the No. 3 selection -- which turned out to be UConn's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis -- to Seattle as part of a trade that brought Camille Little and Shekinna Stricklen to Connecticut and chose Duke's Elizabeth Williams with the fourth pick.
"You would always like to think there is a chance that you can move up, but this is a very deep draft so it is difficult to be disappointed," Sun vice president and general manager Chris Sienko said on the team's website. "We are going to get an impact player that we can add to an already-talented young roster, and I am excited about what we will be bringing to the court next year."
The Dream will have two first-round picks, having added the No. 11 overall selection from the Minnesota Lynx in a three-way trade that also included the Chicago Sky.
"We obviously need some help in the rebounding area but we just need an athlete, someone that can come in and flat out ball and can put the ball in the basket," Cooper said on the team website. "Someone that plays well with what we have and compliments the other players we currently have on the roster."
If Seattle takes Stewart, she would be the fifth No. 1 pick from UConn joining Bird, Diana Taurasi (2004), Tina Charles (2010), and Maya Moore (2011).
Los Angeles will have the No. 5 selection in the first round followed by Tulsa (which is relocating to Dallas), Washington, Phoenix, Indiana, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York.