The plan was for Laura Harper and Crystal Langhorne to lead Maryland into Tampa, Fla., this week for the Final Four and to lead the Terps to a second national title in three years before heading to the WNBA.
Stanford's win in the Spokane Regional last week interrupted part of that plan, but Harper and Langhorne still made it to central Florida, where the WNBA draft will take place today at 1 p.m. Neither of frontcourt player is expected to wait long to be taken. Langhorne, Maryland's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, and Harper, the Terps' leader in blocked shots, are widely considered to be first-round picks and were among 20 collegians invited to Tampa for the draft.
"They're going to be two solid players that are going to come in and be complementary players for a team," said Michael Cooper, coach of the Los Angeles Sparks, who are expected to take Tennessee forward Candace Parker with the first overall pick.
Langhorne, a 6-foot-2 forward from Willingboro, N.J., and a two-time Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-American, is a candidate to go in the draft lottery, or first six picks. She could go to the Washington Mystics, who select sixth.
Harper, a 6-4 center from Elkins Park, Pa., whose numbers aren't as stellar as Langhorne's, is thought by some observers to have more of a professional upside because she has shown a greater ability to score from the perimeter than Langhorne and can face the basket as well as play with her back to the hoop.
Their teammates, Ashleigh Newman, a 5-10 guard, and Jade Perry, a 6-1 center, are long shots to be drafted. Coppin State guards Rashida Suber and Shalamar Oakley, as well as Virginia Commonwealth forward Krystal Vaughn (Lake Clifton), were invited to the league's pre-draft camp this past weekend, but are more likely to be invited to a team's training camp rather than be taken in the three-round draft.