After a disappointing 2011-2012 season, two Women of Troy are moving onto bigger things. For the first time since the inaugural WNBA draft in 1997, two members of the USC women’s basketball team were selected in the WNBA draft Monday, becoming the ninth and 10th USC players taken in the draft. Guards Jacki Gemelos and Briana Gilbreath were both chosen in the third round of the draft with picks number 31 and 35, respectively.
The day marked the culmination of trials and tribulations for Gemelos, who battled injuries throughout her USC career. A former top-ranked recruit coming out of St. Mary’s High School in Stockton, Calif., she suffered four separate knee injuries that caused her to miss nearly four complete seasons. In her only fully healthy season, Gemelos averaged 12.4 points per game in 2010-2011, while leading the Pac-10 in 3-point shooting at 42.4 percent. Her performance that year earned her an All-Pac-10 honorable mention nod and a spot on Team USA for the 2011 World University Games, as well as a finalist spot for the V Foundation Comeback Award.
Gemelos played in 57 games for USC, averaging 11.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. She ended her college career as the school’s leading free-throw shooter with at 83.3 percent. In being chosen by the Minnesota Lynx, she joins a very talented squad — one that won the WNBA championship last season.
Briana Gilbreath has been a star for USC ever since she set foot in the Galen Center. A four-time all-conference performer, she regularly filled up the stat sheet, ending her Trojan career ranked in the top 10 in five statistical categories: No. 4 in blocks (168), No. 6 in steals (241), No. 6 in made free throws (388), No. 8 in rebounds (813) and No. 9 in points (1,608). She also is tied for the all-time lead in games played in school history, along with fellow teammate guard Ashley Corral and Cheryl Miller.
Gilbreath was selected to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team as well as the AP All-America team this past season. She also finished her career ranked No. 8 all-time in the Pac-12 for blocks and No. 31 and No. 36 for scoring and rebounds, respectively.
Gilbreath was picked by the Washington Mystics, a team that struggled last season to a 6-28 record, good for last place in the Eastern Conference.
A native of Houston, Texas, Gilbreath projects to be a defensive stopper at the professional level, capable of guarding multiple positions with her athleticism and instincts.