The Phoenix Mercury selected Marie Gulich No. 12 as the final pick in the first round of the WNBA draft. The veteran team who return the likes of Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi, have big expectations for Gulich long term but do not necessarily need an immediate impact. Her size, IQ, scoring ability and work ethic fit the Mercury needs long term.
Phoenix had their eye on the Oregon State center for a majority of the season. She continued to elevate her play as the season went on and into the NCAA Tournament where her scoring spiked to over 21 points per game. It was uncertain where Gulich could go, early mock drafts had her in the second round, others had her going earlier to possibly the LA Sparks. For a player of her caliber, the Mercury feel fortunate to have her there at No. 12.
Averaging 17.5 points per game this year, the 6-foot-5 German native came into her own her senior season as a true force down low. She shot the ball over 65 percent from the field, not an easy feat for anyone, let alone someone facing double-doubles and a primary focal point of teams' defenses. Gulich was also the second leading rebounder in the Pac-12 at just over nine rebounds a game.
It may take some time for Gulich fully evolve into her full potential. Both her and the Mercury know there is a high ceiling, which is a major plus. She has a great work ethic on both ends of the floor, which were the key reasons she appealed to them. She will have the chance to play alongside and learn from Brittney Griner, arguably the most dominant center in the league which is invaluable to her development, Who knows, we could potentially see a Griner-Gulic frontcourt.
The Mercury had a need for rebounding and future development going into the draft. They certainly achieved that with with these picks. Here is a look at the other Mercury selections…
Tyler Scaife — Rutgers
No. 20 overall: 5-foot-9 guard who averaged 16.4 points per game — fifth highest in the Big Ten. Well-rounded player who brings a level of toughness.
Raisa Musina — Russia
No. 21 overall: 6-foot-4 forward who was teammates with Taurasi and Griner in Russia. She is a walking double-double in Russia at 16.7 points and 12.7 rebounds per game this past season. She gives them more to look forward to in the future.
Imani Wright — Florida State
No. 26 overall: 5-foot-9 guard who averaged 17 points per game shooting it at 40 percent beyond the three point line. Adds another shooter and defender.
The Mercury open their 2018 season at home taking on Dallas on Friday, May 18th.