The WNBA Draft will take place as a “virtual draft” on April 17 without players, guests and media in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Liberty – Sabrina Ionescu, PG, 5-11, Oregon
Ionescu is without question the best player available. She finished her career with 26 triple-doubles — the NCAA record for men and women — and became the first player in NCAA history — men or women — to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. Ionescu is already a star and the perfect player to lead the Liberty into a new era as they move back into the New York City market at Barclays Center.
2. Dallas Wings – Lauren Cox, PF, 6-4, Baylor
Oregon’s Satou Sabally, an ultra-talented forward who can score from any spot on the court, would fit very nicely. Cox, however, is a better roster fit. The Wings recently acquired Katie Lou Samuelson and Marina Mabrey to add to an already deep group of guards and forwards. Cox, a Texas native, would give Dallas a defensive star in the frontcourt who can rebound and provide a physical presence.
3. Indiana Fever – Satou Sabally, F, 6-4, Oregon
Sabally, a draft-eligible junior who is leaving college early, can do it all. At 6-4, Sabally is a matchup nightmare. She averaged 16.2 points and 6.9 rebounds in her junior season. Sabally continues to improve as a three-point shooter, hitting 33.8 percent this past season. The Fever have been searching for a franchise star since Tamika Catchings retired, and Sabally would be an intriguing fit.
4. Atlanta Dream – Megan Walker, F/G, 6-1, Connecticut
Walker opted to leave early as a draft-eligible junior. Atlanta is clearly in a rebuild after letting longtime franchise star Angel McCoughtry leave in free agency and trading Brittney Sykes to Los Angeles. The Dream acquired guard Courtney Williams from Connecticut, but she’ll need help on offense. Walker averaged 19.7 points and 8.4 rebounds and shot an impressive 45 percent from the three-point line in her final college season.
5. Dallas Wings – Ruthy Hebard, PF, 6-4, Oregon
If the Wings take Cox at No. 2 to provide defense, Hebard would be a great complement as an offensive forward. Hebard was the perfect pick-and-roll partner with Ionescu at Oregon, where she averaged 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds in her final college season. She also shot 68.5 percent from the field. Pairing Hebard and Cox together at the forward spots would give Dallas a formidable frontcourt.
6. Minnesota Lynx – Chennedy Carter, G, 5-7, Texas A&M
Carter is leaving college early as a draft-eligible junior. The dynamic guard averaged 21.3 points in her junior season but shot just 25 percent from the three-point line. The Lynx are in a transition period with Seimone Augustus now in Los Angeles and Maya Moore still away from the game, but they can build around a young tandem of versatile two-way forward Napheesa Collier and Carter.
7. Dallas Wings – Tyasha Harris, PG, 5-10, South Carolina
Skyler Diggins-Smith is now in Phoenix, and Moriah Jefferson is back after missing last season with an injury. Point guard is a position of need. Harris was a steady and consistent floor leader for the Gamecocks, averaging 12 points and 5.7 assists in her senior season. The Wings could go with the best available player with this pick, but they still have another first-round pick.
8. Chicago Sky – Te’a Cooper, G, 5-8, Baylor
The Sky re-signed All-Star point guard Courtney Vandersloot and signed veteran point guard Sydney Colson in free agency. But there isn’t any depth behind them and it wouldn’t be bad to start planning for the point guard of the future. Cooper started out at Tennessee then moved on to South Carolina before playing her final season as a graduate student with Baylor. She averaged 13.6 points and 4.6 assists for Baylor.
9. Liberty – Bella Alarie, F/G, 6-4, Princeton
Alarie is an intriguing talent who is very skilled, can play multiple positions and score from anywhere on the court. She averaged 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.3 blocks during her senior season. Alarie also shot a career-high 35.6 percent from the three-point line, giving new coach Walt Hopkins another floor spacer. One of Hopkins’ strengths is developing talent and Alarie could flourish quickly in his system.
10. Phoenix Mercury – Beatrice Mompremier, F, 6-4, Miami
The Mercury lost DeWanna Bonner, an athletic and versatile 6-4 All-Star forward, in free agency to the Connecticut Sun. Mompremier also is an athletic and versatile 6-4 forward. She missed most of her senior season with a foot injury but still averaged 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds in 17 games. Mompremier isn’t the three-point shooter Bonner is, but when healthy, she is a double-double threat.
11. Seattle Storm – Kiah Gillespie, F, 6-2, Florida State
The Storm get back Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird from injuries this season and added Morgan Tuck and Epiphanny Prince. So, what does Seattle do with this pick? Gillespie is much like Tuck, but there’s nothing wrong with having two forwards who can do a bit of everything. Gillespie averaged 15.6 points and 8.7 rebounds this past season. She also hit 44 three-pointers, which could make her a versatile player for the Storm.
12. Liberty – Joyner Holmes, F, 6-3, Texas
Holmes was a top recruit coming out of high school but never seemed to live up to the high expectations at Texas. She averaged 13.1 points and 8.7 rebounds in her senior season. With Tina Charles traded to Washington, Holmes can give the Liberty an interior presence and good rebounder. New Liberty coach Walt Hopkins has a reputation for player development, and perhaps Holmes can reach her full potential as a pro.
Names to watch in the second round
The Liberty have two picks (Nos. 13 and 15 overall) in the second round:
Mikayla Pivec, G, 5-10, Oregon State
Kaila Charles, G/F, 6-1, Maryland
Crystal Dangerfield, PG, 5-5, Connecticut
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, F, 6-2, South Carolina
Kitija Laksa, G, 6-0, South Florida
Tynice Martin, G/F, 5-11, West Virginia
Kathleen Doyle, G, 5-9, Iowa
Haley Gorecki, G, 6-0, Duke
Brittany Brewer, C, 6-5, Texas Tech
Kylee Shook, F, 6-4, Louisville
Jocelyn Willoughby, G/F, 6-0, Virginia
Juicy Landrum, G, 5-8, Baylor