While sitting at Damon's watching the WNBA Draft on Thursday, Faith Grant said she was a nervous wreck.
After enduring nearly two hours of the draft and still waiting for the name of her daughter, Tyra Grant, to be called, Faith said she was trying not to let Tyra see her frustration.
Then, as Tyra's highlights flashed across the television screen and the analysts talked about her skills, both mother and daughter experienced a surreal moment, they said.
The younger Grant, the former Lady Lion, was selected 24th overall by the Phoenix Mercury during the second round of Thursday's WNBA Draft. The Mercury are the defending WNBA champions and Grant will enter the three-week training camp, which begins April 25, trying to earn a spot with a program that won two of the last three WNBA championships.
"Being around a group of veterans and national champions, who can ask for a better environment?" Grant said. "For them to provide me with that opportunity to be able to display my talents on a national championship team ... they showed today that they are giving me that opportunity so I can fulfill my dreams."
While Grant was the last pick of the second round, she was the Mercury's first player selected. The 5-foot-11 guard will be joined by Oklahoma guard Nyeshia Stevenson, who was selected with the Mercury's final pick in the three-round draft.
The Mercury, who were one of the WNBA's eight original teams when the league was established in 1997, play an uptempo style of offense, something Lady Lion coach Coquese Washington said will suit Grant.
"I think she couldn't have gotten drafted to a better team," Washington said. "For her talents, I mean, they're a fast-paced team, they like to go out and run. They're a very perimeter-oriented scoring team, they like all their perimeter players to put the ball in the hole and Tyra certainly fits that build."
Along with the Mercury's .619 winning percentage over the last three seasons, the team also has Diana Taurasi, the league's reigning MVP. The 2004 No. 1 draft pick and former Connecticut standout led the Mercury with 20.4 points per game last year.
Phoenix traded its second-leading scorer Cappie Pondexter and former Lady Lion Kelly Mazzante to New York last week, which Faith said could help Tyra impact the team.
Though Tyra enters Phoenix's camp trying to earn one of 11 roster spots, Faith and Washington both said having the chance to play alongside Taurasi will benefit the rookie guard.
"She's going to have other scorers around her," Washington said. "We saw what she was able to do as the first option here at Penn State, by putting up 20 points per night, and she'll be able to go to Phoenix and be the third or fourth option."
The opportunity to enter the Mercury's WNBA camp in 17 days and compete for a roster spot is something Grant said she's been waiting to do for a long time.
"I've dealt with a lot of adversity throughout my life and I just wanted this dream to come true," Grant said. "And now for me, I have to go out there and display my talents and do what I do best."