|Stephens taking career to professional level|
|From Staff Reports|
April 19, 2004 -- She's been All-State, All-American and MVP. Now, Winnsboro's Stacy Stephens will be a professional.
Stephens, a 6-1 All-American post at the University of Texas, was selected in the third round of the WNBA draft on Saturday by the Houston Comets, winners of four of the league's seven championships.
Stephens, a four-time All-State player and three-time All-American at UT, has been credited by coach Jody Conradt as the catalyst for the Longhorns' revival in women's basketball that saw them ranked No. 1 in the nation part of this last season.
Now, Stephens will stay in her home state to play professional basketball.
"Being drafted in the WNBA is a dream for me," Stephens said. "I watched the entire draft today, and I was getting nervous as the draft was coming to an end. In the third round, they stopped announcing the pick and where people were going, and you had to watch the screen to see when and where players were chosen. Once I saw my name on the board next to Houston, I got really, really excited.
"Like anyone else, I was hoping to have a chance to stay in my home state and play close to home or to my school, but obviously I was prepared to go wherever I needed to go."
Teams will open training camp on Sunday, April 25, while exhibition games begin on Tuesday, May 4. The season officially opens on Thursday, May 20.
Stephens, the 6-1 post who was UT's top rebounder all four seasons, was the second player selected by the Comets, and the 37th player chosen overall. A Second Team All-America choice by both the Associated Press and the US Basketball Writers Association this year, Stephens closed out her career by leading 30-5 Texas to its second consecutive Big 12 regular season championship, to the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Championship West Region, and to an NCAA Final 16 showing.
She was third in UT scoring (11.6 ppg) and led the squad in rebounding for the fourth consecutive season, pulling down 8.3 rpg. She ended her career No. 2 in all-time Texas rebounding (1,223) and No. 8 in scoring (1,708).
Stephens was expected to go higher in the draft by most analysts, including ESPN's Ann Meyers, but now she has the opportunity to continue her career.
"Finally, Houston," said Meyers, a Hall of Fame player. "They drafted Stacy Stephens late but she is player that reminds me of Wes Unseld or Charles Barkley and Adrian Dantley - players who just do things you don't expect. Look at what she can do and not what she can't."