Women’s basketball duo selected in first round of WNBA draft

By: Nikhil Jelaji

For the first time in 10 years, longtime teammates Amber Harris and Ta’Shia Phillips will be wearing different uniforms. Monday’s WNBA draft in Harford, Conn. was where not one, but two Xavier Musketeers were selected in the top 10.

Forward Harris was selected fourth overall by the Minnesota Lynx, and Phillips was chosen eighth, joining the Washington Mystics after being traded from the Atlanta Dream.

Harris and Phillips were teammates long before joining the Musketeers in 2010.

They met at an AAU open gym in Indianapolis 10 years ago. The two ended up joining a Nike travel squad known as “The Family.”

Head coach Kevin McGuff recruited Harris to join the Musketeers and during the 2006-07 season, she won the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year.

McGuff also convinced Phillips to come to Xavier, and she became an A-10 All-Conference second team her freshman season.

Harris and Phillips were teammates from then on, except for the 2008-09 season, when Harris was redshirted due to an injury.

Before Harris and Phillips came to Xavier, the Musketeers had been to five NCAA tournaments in program history.

Since their arrival, the team has made the tournament the past five seasons, including a trip to the Elite Eight last year.

Their impressive resume is written all over the record books. Harris was the 2010 and 2011 A-10 Player of the Year, and ended her Xavier career with 361 blocks and finished second in all-time points scored with 2,205 career points.

Phillips, on the other hand, was the 2010 and 2011 A-10 Defensive Player of the Year, the all-time leading rebounder, and ranks third all-time in scoring.

The two longtime teammates left Monday’s draft as professional basketball players. They were once teammates as 13 and 14-year-olds and will now be living their basketball dream.

Harris and Phillips will return to Xavier and collect their diplomas on the same podium in May.