Notre Dame All-America forward Jacqueline Batteast shows off the colors of her new team, the Minnesota Lynx, after she was picked with the 17th overall selection in the 2005 WNBA Draft. (photo by Chris Masters)

Jacqueline Batteast Selected By Minnesota Lynx In 2005 WNBA Draft

April 16, 2005

SECAUCUS, N.J. – Notre Dame All-America forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) will have the opportunity to showcase her talent at the next level, having been selected by the Minnesota Lynx in the second round of the 2005 WNBA Draft, which was held Saturday at the NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, N.J. Batteast was the 17th overall selection, making her the second-highest WNBA Draft pick in school history — Ruth Riley was taken fifth overall in the 2001 WNBA Draft by the now-defunct Miami Sol.

Batteast is the fifth Notre Dame player to be chosen in the WNBA Draft, joining four starters from the 2001 Irish national championship team — Riley, Niele Ivey (2nd round, 19th overall in 2001 by the Indiana Fever), Kelley Siemon (3rd round, 48th overall in 2001 by the Los Angeles Sparks) and Ericka Haney (3rd round, 47th overall in 2002 by the Detroit Shock).

Batteast was the second selection for the Minnesota Lynx in the 2005 Draft, following the first-round choice of UC Santa Barbara forward Kristen Mann. Ironically, Batteast and Mann squared off in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament as the Irish defeated the Gauchos, 61-51.

In an interview with NBA TV shortly after Batteast’s selection, Minnesota head coach Suzie McConnell Serio termed the Notre Dame standout “the steal of the draft.”

Batteast, a third-team Associated Press All-American and member of the prestigious Kodak/WBCA All-America Team this season, averaged a career-best 16.9 points per game along with 6.6 rebounds per game and six double-doubles while leading Notre Dame to a 27-6 record, the third-highest win total in school history, and its 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Batteast was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year and was a unanimous first-team all-conference selection, making her the first Irish player ever to be named all-BIG EAST in four consecutive seasons.

Batteast the second BIG EAST player chosen, going one pick after West Virginia’s Yolanda Paige was taken by the Indiana Fever.

A versatile and rugged player, Batteast started 119 of 123 games in her career, including a school-record 97 in a row to end her tenure under the Golden Dome. She ranks among the top five on 16 of Notre Dame’s career statistical lists, including points (4th – 1,874), scoring average (4th – 15.2 ppg.), rebounds (4th – 965), blocks (3rd – 167) and double-doubles (2nd – 38).

Batteast now will take part in WNBA rookie orientation sessions Thursday through Saturday in Chicago before heading to Minneapolis to begin training camp on Sunday, April 24. She is slated to make her professional debut Sunday, May 1 when the Lynx travel to Uncasville, Conn., for a 4 p.m. (EDT) preseason matchup with the defending Eastern Conference champion Connecticut Sun. Minnesota will open the 2005 regular season Sunday, May 22 with a 7:30 p.m. (CDT) contest at Houston.

— ND —

NOTE: Additional photos of Batteast’s trip to New Jersey for the 2005 WNBA Draft will be available at a later time.