USC's Gemelos & Gilbreath Selected In 2012 WNBA Draft
April 16, 2012
For the first time since the WNBA's opening draft in 1997, the USC women's basketball team has two Trojans selected in the WNBA draft. In today's 2012 draft, Women of Troy Jacki Gemelos and Briana Gilbreath were both selected in the third round. Gemelos was the No. 31 pick of the day, heading to the Minnesota Lynx, and Gilbreath was No. 35 by the Washington Mystics. The Trojan duo are the ninth and 10th Trojans ever to be selected in a WNBA draft.
For 6-0 guard Gemelos, whose collegiate playing career has been plagued by injuries, her drafting is a long-awaited dream come true. After multiple knee injuries kept the nation's top recruit from taking the floor as a Trojan for three and a half seasons, Gemelos returned to the game on Feb. 4, 2010 and was a full-time force for USC in the 2010-11 season. She would suffer another knee injury in December 2011, which ended her Trojan playing career but which only strengthened her resolve to reach her dreams. The talented guard was named to the Naismith Award Early Season Watch List in her final season and was averaging 11.0 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game before the December injury. In her first year as a grad student, Gemelos started and starred on the court as she helped USC to the most wins tallied by the Trojans since 1994 on the way to a trip to the 2011 WNIT final. She garnered 2011 All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention, and would later suit up for Team USA during the summer and won gold as a member of the 2011 World University Games team. In her USC playing career, Gemelos appeared in 57 games, scoring 640 points (11.2 ppg) with 278 rebounds (4.9 rpg), 141 assists (2.5 apg), 72 steals (1.3 spg) and 37 blocks. She shot .399 from the floor and .384 from 3-point range, while standing as USC's No. 1 career free-throw shooter with an .833 effort from the line.
READ BAXTER HOLMES' LA TIMES 2012 PROFILE ON JACKI
A 6-1 guard, Gilbreath, too, has always dreamed of playing in the WNBA. She shined on both ends of the floor for the Trojans for four seasons, as she picked up four consecutive all-conference team award with this year's 2012 All-Pac-12 Team honors to go along with her third straight selection to the defensive honor roll in her spot on the 2012 Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. USC's steals and blocks leader in 2011-12, Gilbreath's defensive energy has put her on the conference's defensive radar for four years now. She earned Defensive Honorable Mention as a freshman to go along with her pick as the 2009 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and a spot on the All-Pac-10 Third Team. In 2010, she was the Pac-10's Co-Defensive Player of the Year to start her run of three defensive team awards. Gilbreath ranks in the top-10 in five statistical categories in the USC history books, ranked No. 4 in blocks (168), No. 6 in steals (241) and in free throws made (388), No. 8 in rebounds (813) and No. 9 in points (1,608). She and fellow senior Ashley Corral tie Cheryl Miller for the most games played in their careers, and Gilbreath also comes in at No. 11 all-time in career assists at USC with 337. Last year, she became USC's first player since 1997 to earn All-America honors from the Associated Press, and she started her senior season on the Naismith Award Early-Season Watch List. She made her mark on the Pac-12 record books as well, standing at No. 8 all-time in blocks and ranking No. 31 in career points and No. 36 in rebounds among the conference's best.
Gemelos and Gilbreath join a star-studded list of Trojans in the WNBA. The last player to be drafted was Camille LeNoir in the 2009 second round, preceded by 2007 second-rounder Shay Murphy as USC's other recent WNBA picks. In addition to 1997 Inaugural Elite Selections Cynthia Cooper and Lisa Leslie, USC now has had 10 players drafted in the WNBA. The first draft in 1997 also saw two Women of Troy taken -- Pam McGee and Tina Thompson.
USC's WNBA SELECTIONS
1997 Inaugural Elite Selection: