When the Indiana Fever needed size, they chose the biggest player in the draft.
The Indiana Fever selected 6-7 center Teaira McCowan of Mississippi State with the third overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, and chose North Carolina point guard Paris Kea (25th) and Georgia forward Caliya Robinson (28th) to conclude the draft in the third round.
McCowan helped the Bulldogs to consecutive Final Fours in 2017 and 2018 alongside current Fever star Victoria Vivians who was selected with the eighth pick in the first round of last year’s draft.
She led Mississippi State in scoring and rebounding this past season, averaging 18.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game while shooting 66.2 percent from the field. Her percentage was an MSU record and ranked fourth in the nation. Her 31 double-doubles in 2018-19 broke her own MSU record. She led the Southeastern Conference in rebounds and blocks.
A first-team All-American and a first-team Senior CLASS All-American, McCowan was named the WBCA Defensive Player of the Year and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year each of the past two seasons.
“The accolades speak for themselves,” said Fever GM and coach Pokey Chatman about her first-round selection. “You think about her size, the mobility of that size, and someone who loves the defensive side of the basketball – but then she also can impact the offensive side of the basketball with her rebounding and deep positioning. She’s exactly what we needed.”
“Size is something we have struggled to have the last couple of years,” said VP of Basketball Operations Tamika Catchings. “I’m really excited about having Teaira McCowan as part of our franchise. She’ll be great here.”
Catchings added: “There is one thing you can’t teach and that’s 6-7.”
A native of Brenham, Texas, McCowan is the NCAA Tournament’s all-time leading rebounder, pulling down 240 career caroms over four seasons. She is the fourth Mississippi State player to be drafted by the Fever, joining Vivians, Tan White (2005, No. 2 overall) and Armelie Lumanu (2010, 23rd overall). She immediately becomes the tallest player on the current Indiana roster and the fourth 6-7 star ever to join the Fever.
Kea is a 5-9 combo guard who was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection and finished her career with the second-highest scoring average, 18.2 points per game, in Tar Heels history. Her 18.9 points per game as a senior trailed senior All-Americans Asia Durr and Arike Ogunbowale who were selected second and fifth overall in Wednesday’s draft.
The Fever added another post player with the selection of Robinson as their final pick. The 6-3 forward is a two-time All-SEC performer and a three-time member of the SEC All-Defensive Team alongside McCowan. Robinson led Georgia with 14.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game as a senior.
WNBA training camps begin Sunday, May 5.