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Sparks pick Ohio State's Jantel Lavender fifth overall in WNBA draft

April 11, 2011 | 12:47 pm

Lavender_275 The Sparks drafted 6-foot-4 center Jantel Lavender from Ohio State with the fifth overall pick during the WNBA draft on Monday in Bristol, Conn.

Lavender averaged 22.8 points and 10.9 rebounds last season and is Ohio State's all-time leading scorer (2,818 points) and the Big Ten's all-time leading rebounder (1,422).

She's known for her strong mid-range jumper and her physical style of play. Her presence down low will help take pressure off 2008 MVP and Rookie of the Year Candace Parker, who missed last season due to a shoulder surgery.

The Sparks finished the 2010 season with a record of 13-21 and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual WNBA champion Seattle Storm.

The team will play the Minnesota Lynx on June 3 in their season opener. The Lynx drafted Connecticut star Maya Moore with the No. 1 pick and Xavier's Amber Harris with the No. 4 selection.


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Photo: Jantel Lavender. Credit: Greg Bartram / US Presswire