Fever picks Howard, Achonwa in WNBA Draft

Indiana Fever
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The Indiana Fever has added two All-Americans in the first round of Monday's WNBA draft.

Indiana selected Florida State forward Natasha Howard with the fifth pick in the draft, then picked Notre Dame star Natalie Achonwa with the ninth overall pick.

Howard averaged 20.5 points and 9.3 rebounds in her senior season at Florida State. She was named an honorable mention All-American while leading the Seminoles to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

"We were looking for a young power forward with athleticism, with length, with speed and someone that we can develop at the four spot. We just did not see anybody better than Howard," said Fever head coach Lin Dunn.

The Toledo, Ohio native finished her college career as the all-time leader in rebounds and double-doubles at Florida State, while finishing second all-time in points and third in blocked shots.

Achonwa, a second team All-American, led Notre Dame to a 37-1 record and an appearance in the NCAA championship game against UConn. Achonwa tore her left ACL in Notre Dame's NCAA regional final game against Baylor and will miss the 2014 WNBA season.

Achonwa averaged 14.9 points and 7.7 rebounds before her injury.

"In our mind, she'll be a rookie for us in 2015 and I think if she would have waited until 2015 for that draft, she might be a top three pick," Dunn said.

The Fever wrapped up their draft with the 29th pick, selecting Haiden Palmer, a guard from Gonzaga. Palmer scored 15.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season and was named Most Outstanding Player of the West Coast Conference tournament.