- The Washington Times - Monday, April 16, 2012

Natalie Novosel was more nervous than excited. The eighth overall pick by the Washington Mystics in Monday’s WNBA draft, Novosel said she’s glad it’s behind her.

“It’s very intimidating sitting in that room,” Novosel said by phone Monday. “It was a big relief to get drafted. [Washington] was where I wanted to be picked. I couldn’t be happier.”

Novosel has ties to D.C.; her twin brother and a former coach both live in the area.

“I know [the Mystics] had a tough season last year,” she said. “I can’t wait to get there and contribute and fulfill whatever role they need me to fulfill.”

Novosel will add some much-needed depth to the Mystics’ backcourt. The 5-foot-11 guard from Notre Dame was a two-time All-Big East selection and had career averages of 10.7 points and 3.3 rebounds.

Novosel is known for her toughness, as evidenced by her nickname, “Nasty,” and has a versatile floor game. WNBA scouts praise her abilities as an outside shooter, passer and defender.

Joining her will be LaSondra Barrett, the 6-2 guard/forward from LSU, chosen with the 10th pick. The two rookies are friends and former AAU teammates.

“We developed a bond when we played together,” Barrett said. “She’s a great player and a great person.”

Barrett said it still hasn’t quite sunk in that she’s a professional basketball player.

“It’s overwhelming,” Barrett said. “Seeing that camera on me, my heart just dropped. I’m so happy that Washington picked me. I talked to the coach, and they’re excited about taking the team in a new direction, and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Barrett has been described by league scouts as a versatile, aggressive player who can play (or guard) all five positions, can post up, and is a 3-point threat.

A WNBA player for less than a day, Barrett already is looking forward to being a part of the community.

“I remember looking up to WNBA players when I was a kid,” she said. “They were my role models. They reached out to us, they got involved in the community, and that’s something I want to do. Now, I get to be a role model.”

Coach and general manager Trudi Lacey said the team is fortunate that both players were available.

“They both add depth at positions where we need it,” Lacey said. “They can both shoot the three, have versatility and they have that team-first mentality. I didn’t know they had played together before - that’s an added plus.”

The Mystics had no second-round pick but selected former Maryland guard Anjale Barrett (26th overall) and USC guard Briana Gilbreath (35th) in the third round. The team starts training camp April 29.

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