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“She’s a great player and has those intangibles,” Kloppenburg said. “I think she’s one of those that can impact our league right away and we know she’s an extremely hard worker and will put the time in to get better.”

Other players expected to be taken in the first round include guards Alex Bentley (Penn State), Kelly Faris (UConn), and Tayler Hill (Ohio State), forward Tianna Hawkins (Maryland) and center Kelsey Bone (Texas A&M).

“The talent is spread throughout the positions,” Diggins said. “There’s a lot of players that have the potential to come in and make an immediate impact and be franchise players for their teams. I’m happy to be a part of it.”

After the big three are taken, Washington will begin the uncertain portion of the draft with the fourth pick, and New York has two of the next three selections _ with Seattle in between at No. 6. San Antonio will pick eighth, followed by defending champion Indiana, Los Angeles, Connecticut and Minnesota to complete the first of three rounds.

“The joke around here is I have the first pick in the other draft,” Thibault said with a laugh before acknowledging a Mystics team that finished a league-worst 5-29 last season has plenty of holes. “We’ve narrowed it down to three or four players. We’re going back and forth as a staff and that’s the decision we have to make.”

Laimbeer said the Liberty will be looking for a post player with one of their first-round picks, most likely at No. 5, and then the best available to fill a need with the other selection.

Mike’s driving the bus right now,” he said. “It’s a matter of who’s there and we won’t know that until Mike picks and sets off a chain of events.”

Training camps open May 5, with the league’s 17th season set to being on May 24.

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Follow Vin Cherwoo on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/VinCherwooAP