Sun hit lottery and earn WNBA's No. 1 pick

Rarely, if ever, have individuals, groups, franchises or any combination thereof found their salvation in that Eden known as Secaucus, N.J.

But there he was, Sun Chief Executive Officer Mitchell Etess, representing the Sun and nearly giddy Tuesday afternoon in Secaucus, home of NBA Entertainment, site of the WNBA Draft Lottery.

And the star crossed Connecticut Sun, always seemingly the victim of ill-timed injuries and bad bounces, finally won the big one.

The Sun won the lottery and all its trimmings, including the No. 1 pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft.

"It's a good feeling, no doubt about it," Sun vice president and general manager Chris Sienko said on a conference call. "We're excited. It's up to Anne (head coach Anne Donovan) to decide what's best for the organization, but just being in this spot is good."

Donovan said it is "not a foregone conclusion who the No. 1 pick is," although Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike is the consensus top choice among the women's basketball intelligentsia. Other candidates are most likely Maryland forward Alyssa Thomas, Baylor guard Odyssey Sims and Duke guard Chelsea Gray.

Ogwumike, sister of former No 1 pick Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks, is averaging 25.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per game for the Cardinal, whose only loss is at No. 1 UConn.

"The beautiful thing about this is we can go in a number of different directions," Donovan said. "We're in the driver's seat to get what we need."

And the Sun need a lot, at least based on the 10-24 record that gave them the best chance to win the draft lottery. It is unclear how many players will return from last season. Donovan said it would take "a blockbuster deal" for the Sun to consider trading center Tina Charles, but that the franchise would listen to all scenarios.

Not even Charles, the subject of rumors about her happiness, or lack thereof, with the franchise, is a definite to return. Sienko said he is "as confident as ever" that Charles will be back, however.

Guard Kara Lawson is doubtful to return and European star Sandrine Gruda doesn't want to play here, giving the Sun a pair of players to potentially trade. Alba Torres of Spain is also questionable to play here, although team sources say talks have been more positive.

Sienko said he didn't know when the 2014 schedule would be released.

The WNBA Draft will take place after the Final Four in April.

m.dimauro@theday.com

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