Secaucus, N.J.--As a young girl in Fairfield, Ala., Auburn senior DeWanna Bonner grew up dreaming about becoming a women's professional basketball star.
Bonner notes that when she played and practiced in her backyard as a child she would make-believe she was Lisa Leslie, Cynthia Cooper or some other WNBA star.
On Thursday the 6-4, 130-pound Bonner, a consensus All-American, heard her name called by the Phoenix Mercury as the fifth pick of the first round of the 2009 WNBA Draft.
Shortly after talking to officials with the Mercury, Bonner noted she can hardly contain her excitement over being an early first-round pick and going to a team that looks to be a good fit.
Bonner, who is excellent at playing an up-tempo, fastbreak offense, will be joining a team that uses that style of play.
"I like the way they run," says Bonner, who notes she didn't know for sure the Mercury was going to draft her even though her Auburn coaches had told her that Phoenix was very interested with the Auburn senior.
Whitney Boddie had a strong senior season for the Tigers.
Bonner wasn't the only Tiger drafted on Thursday. Fellow senior, point guard Whitney Boddie, was selected in the second round by the Sacramento Monarchs. Boddie, an All-SEC selection who led the nation in assists per game, was the 20th overall selection in the draft that goes three rounds to select 39 total players.
Boddie, who is from Florence, Ala., averaged 11.2 points and 7.9 assists per game as a senior. She also received honorable mention status on the AP and State Farm/Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-American teams.
"I had no idea that Sacramento was interested in me," says Boddie, who watched the draft in Auburn with members of the Auburn coaching staff and teammate Sherell Hobbs, who is expected to get a tryout as a free agent.
“I know they have a great point guard in Ticha Penicheiro, and she is probably getting
toward the end of her career, so it would be great if I could make the team, first, get developed under her and then make my mark in that
organization," Boddie says of playing for the Monarchs.
"They also have Kara Lawson, who played at Tennessee, she has been commentating our games all year. They also have Nicole Powell,
a great shooter who played at Stanford a few years ago. Other than that, and Courtney Paris, I don’t know a whole lot yet.”
There will be a familiar face in Sacremento, Bodie notes. Former Auburn star Ruthie Bolton lives in that city and she has been a frequent visitors to Auburn games in recent years.
Bonner, a consensus All-American, finished her Auburn career as the leading scorer in school history.
As a senior Bonner averaged 21.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game and was named the SEC Player of the Year.
Since the WNBA was formed in 1997, Bonner is the earliest draft pick from Auburn. She is the first draft pick from Auburn since 2006 when Marita Payne was selected in the third round.
Bonner scores as a senior vs. Tennessee in March.
A high school All-American at Fairfield High School, Bonner scored 2,162 points at Auburn, breaking a 25-year-old record set by Becky Jackson. Bonner added 1,047 rebounds for the Tigers.
Bonner, who is scheduled to graduate from Auburn in May, says she will train on campus and then move to Phoenix when she has finished her classes.
"I have just got to go in and prove myself and work very hard," Bonner says. "They have a great team and they have veterans. If I come off the bench I will come bring them something off the bench or if I start I will bring it for them. It really doesn't matter.
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