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Baker taken 12th overall in WNBA draft

Start spreading the news - one of the best players in the history of Gwinnett County is heading to New York.

Former Greater Atlanta Christian star Sherill Baker was selected by the WNBA's New York Liberty with the 12th pick overall in Wednesday's three-round draft.

"This is a dream come true," Baker said. "Sometimes I have a hard time believing all this is happening. It's going to be quite an adjustment going from the South to New York, but I'm so excited about the opportunity. I'm just looking forward to trying to contribute in any way I can."

The University of Georgia standout becomes the second county product to be selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft - Meadowcreek grad Jocelyn Penn was chosen by Charlotte with the ninth pick in 2003.

Baker brings an impressive resume to the Liberty, having set the all-time SEC steals record for a career and finishing her senior season with averages of 18.7 points, 4.7 steals, 4.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for the Bulldogs, who suffered a heartbreaking Sweet 16 loss to UConn last week in the NCAA Tournament.

"I'm not necessarily looking to start," Baker said in a draft chat on the WNBA Web site on Wednesday. "I just want to help (the) team and get playing time. This is another level - more intensity and more physical.

"So I'm going to do my best."

Her best is usually plenty good enough.

Baker finished her college career with a staggering 423 steals. In four years, she averaged 12.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists for Andy Landers' team.

Now she'll get to compete against the best women players in the world, and she realizes she has a few things to work on if she's going to star at the next level as well.

"I know I need to improve my 3-point shot and probably my stamina," Baker said. "It's a longer season, so I have to get in better shape and take care of my body."

A scouting report by WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations Renee Brown and Senior Director of Player Personnel Angela Taylor had this to say about the former Miss Georgia Basketball before the draft: "Baker is a guard with unlimited potential and who could be one of the steals of the draft ... she is such a quick difference-maker on the defensive end that she can change the game. She just makes things look easy ... Sherill has become more aggressive offensively and is unstoppable in transition because of her quickness with the ball. She needs to extend her range a little bit and become more aggressive from the perimeter (and) not be afraid to shoot and work on adding to her slight build."

Seimone Augustus, LSU's go-to player the last four years, was selected first overall by Minnesota.

The WNBA season starts in late May, with the Liberty's first game scheduled for May 20 at Connecticut.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.