Friday night looks to be a big one for the South Carolina women’s basketball program as they look to send to more to the WNBA via this year’s draft.
Tyasha Harris and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan were both freshmen on the 2017 team that brought the first championship to Columbia and both ended their impressive collegiate careers with over 1000 points as well as records for blocks and assists.
The duo was instrumental in this year’s team claiming the top spot in AP rankings in January and remaining there for the rest of the season. As a result, the pair has seen their draft stock rise, with Harris projected to go in the first round as high as fourth, and Herbert Harrigan predicted to get selected late in the first round, early in the second round.
Here’s a final look at what analysts and coaches had to say on both players days before the draft.
Tyasha Harris, 5-10, G
• Holly Rowe, analyst: I think Tyasha is somebody who will be a high draft pick. Her savvy, her floor leadership, herincreased ability to shoot. I loved that her freshman year she wasn't known as a shooter and some teams would sag off of her and that bothered her, and she made it a point to become more efficient scorer from three, which she did this season. I think she took a huge step forward this year. She's being tutored by the best point guard in the world at times, Dawn Staley. So I think Ty Harris is somebody who could go in the first round.
• Rebecca Lobo, analyst: Yeah, everybody likes Ty Harris. Just when you bring her name up to people in the WNBA, nothing but respect for Ty Harris and her game. I think she could potentially go as high as 4 to Atlanta. They have a need for a point guard, and outside of Sabrina, she is probably the best point guard in this draft.
• Walt Hopkins, head coach New York Liberty: WALT HOPKINS: Yeah, you know, we had to look at everybody that was in consideration for that top pick, so we've looked extensively at Satou Sabally, Lauren Cox, Chennedy Carter, Ty Harris, I mean, we've really taken a little bit of time and delved into those players a little bit more. I think that's probably why we're unable to speak to some of the later round players quite as much as we might normally be able to. I think any one of those players can be a cornerstone type player, depending on how you use them, and I think that hopefully you have a system in place and players in place you're able to build around one of those players.
MIKIAH HERBERT HARRIGAN, 6-2, F
• Holly Rowe, analyst: And then Kiki Harrigan, I think she took a huge step forward this year, and a person who is able to dominate when she wants. She'll have more size to face in the WNBA, but she is an athletic, big post that I thought took a huge step forward from a confidence standpoint this year. She is an intriguing prospect because I don't think she has seen her best basketball yet.
• Rebecca Lobo, analyst: And then in terms of Herbert Harrigan, I love her. I love her game. I love her fire, the way she competes. I think she's a player who if we had had an NCAA Tournament, we talked about this a little bit earlier, I think she's a player who could have seen her stock rise because it seems like in big moments she elevates herself and she just has a competitiveness and a will to win that is elite. I would not be surprised at all to see her go mid-to-late first round, but I can't imagine her slipping much farther than a couple spots in the second round.
• Sandy Brondello, head coach Phoenix Mercury: Yeah, well, obviously she had a great season. I mean, South Carolina, she was part of the reason there. Just her athleticism, I think that always makes the transition a little bit easier, someone that obviously she can stroke it, she's got a smooth stroke there. Yeah, so I think she will be a handy player in the pros and continue to develop her outside shooting and her engine, but yeah, I think she has a lot of upside, as well.