By Lauren Rosenberg
Despite it being almost February, the WNBA draft is quickly approaching. 64 teams are finishing out their non-conference schedules and are eyeing their bids to March Madness. But for top college juniors, seniors and international players, the thoughts and excitement of being drafted as one of the 36 draftees in one of the three rounds are lingering in the back of their heads.
*Alongside seniors, Draft-eligible juniors in this mock draft despite not knowing their status.
Note: All stats as of January 28th.
1st Pick: New York Liberty
Sabrina Ionescu, 5’10, Guard, Oregon
The Liberty are in desperate need of a ball handler to complement Kia Nurse and Asia Durr. Ionescu is the answer. Ionescu has the ability to play positions 1-3 and her presence on the court is terrifying for opponents. She is an explosive athlete who can shoot, drive and find an open teammate with ease. As of Jan. 28, she is averaging 17.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game and shooting 49.8% from the field, 33.3% from three and 94.2% from the free throw line. She has four triple-doubles and four double-doubles so far this season and counting.
2nd Pick: Dallas Wings
*Chennedy Carter, 5’7, Guard, Texas A&M
In a conference that consists of six Top 25 teams, Carter has stepped up to lead A&M to 15th in the nation. In the SEC, she is second in points per game with 21.9 on 45.6% shooting from the field. She is a drive-first guard whose strength and athleticism allows her to muscle her way through taller defenders and create space. She has a high-arching rainbow jumper and a flawless floater. Dallas is in need of nearly every position and picking a forward or center would make sense here as well. Bringing back hometown Carter with her skill set is too hard to pass up on.
3rd Pick: Indiana Fever
Lauren Cox, 6-4, Forward, Baylor
Despite only playing 10 games so far this season, Cox has still made her presence felt in the paint with her versatility and defensive prowess. She is averaging 12.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.7 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. The post position is extremely thin and adding Cox will help the Fever with interior scoring and defense.
4th Pick: Atlanta Dream
Beatrice Mompremier, 6-4, Forward/Center, Miami
Mompremier started her collegiate career at Baylor before transferring after her sophomore year back home to Miami. The Hurricanes aren’t known as a women’s basketball school but she put them on the map. During her two years at Baylor, she averaged 7.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game. Miami was where she truly blossomed. Her averages jumped exponentially. In 13 games this season, she is averaging a double-double with 16.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game while shooting 51.2% from the field. She can crash the boards, both offensively and defensively, and has the versatility to be able to improve on shooting.
5th Pick: Phoenix Mercury
Ruthy Hebard, 6-4, Forward, Oregon
The injury riddled Phoenix Mercury needed help down low. At one point in time, the only healthy/active post players were DeWanna Bonner, Camille Little and rookie Brianna Turner. With Bonner an unrestricted free agent, both Sancho Lyttle and Little retiring, a post player is desperately needed. Hebard is averaging a near double-double on the season with 16.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game on an outstanding 66.5% shooting from the floor. She has tremendous inside IQ and can crash the boards on both ends which is a desperate need for the Mercury. She’ll add length, explosiveness and depth to a very thin post squad that currently consists of Brittney Griner, Turner and second year Alanna Smith.
6th Pick: Minnesota Lynx
Mikayla Pivec, 5-10, Guard, Oregon State
Choosing who to put here for the Lynx is very tough because they are in need of practically everything. Maya Moore is sitting out for her second consecutive season, so the Lynx will not only be without their best player in Moore but potentially their second best player in Sims who was the leader of their thin guard core. Pivec can help fill the gap for both of their absences. Don’t be fooled by her height. Pivec is a monster on boards, defensively and an extremely reliable shooter. She is averaging a near double-double with 14.7 points, 4.9 assists and 9.5 rebounds per game on 53.8% shooting. She has the ability to play the 1-3 positions and is a proven ball handler currently holding a 2.18 assist-to-turnover ratio.
7th Pick: Seattle Storm
Crystal Dangerfield, 5-5, Guard, UConn
It’s hard to say this- but Sue Bird can’t play forever, so it’s time to start investing in the future and why not go for a fellow Huskie in Dangerfield. She may be short but she is a sharpshooter. She is averaging 15.2 points and 4 assists per game but what is even more impressive is that she is nose-to-nose with joining the 50-40-90 club. She is shooting 46.4% from the field, 40.8% from three and 88.5% from the stripe. She doesn’t get to the line too much as she’s more of a sharpshooter and prefers jumpers over drives but she is quick and is disruptive defensively, averaging 2.7 steals per game.
8th Pick: Chicago Sky
Bella Alarie, 6-4, Forward, Princeton
Don’t count Alarie out because she goes to an Ivy school. Alarie has made herself known throughout the NCAA, lifting Princeton to a borderline Top 25 team and a definite tournament team. She has been limited to 10 games this season due to injury which has caused a decrease in production from her previous seasons. Regardless, when she is on the floor, she’s a menace. She is averaging 17.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game on 50.4% shooting from the floor and 55% from beyond-the-arc. She has a smooth jumper that not a lot of players with her height have which allows her to be successful from three. She will add depth to a Sky team that made it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
9th Pick: Dallas Wings
*Satou Sabally, 6-4, Forward, Oregon
Sabally is a player that the Wings would have drafted second overall but selecting Carter was priority. Lucky for Dallas, Sabally is still on the board and ready to help out. Sabally is a player who likes to make her home where her strength is, in the paint. She is averaging 16.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game on 46.7% shooting. The Wings are in desperate need of a player who is an offensive oriented glass cleaner and can give extra opportunities for possessions.
10th Pick: Connecticut Sun
Joyner Holmes, 6-3, Forward, Texas
Holmes is a player who knows her place and her duty on the court and is extremely balanced. She is an offensive interior force who is also a defensive glass cleaner. She is averaging a near double-double of 13.9 points and 9 rebounds per game on 45.7% shooting. She knows her offensive strengths are on the inside so she rarely looks for exterior shots which has improved her overall productivity. The Sun were so close to winning the 2019 title and Holmes could help them achieve the goal in 2020 on the interior.
11th Pick: Connecticut Sun
*Aari McDonald, 5-6, Guard, Arizona
The benefit of having back-to-back picks is that you don’t have to worry about losing a player you wanted to the team behind you. McDonald is an interior guard who prefers to drive and shoot mid-range jumpers rather than threes and enjoys finding the open teammate. She is averaging 20.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game on 44.9% shooting. She knows three pointers aren’t her strength so having her to pass to Courtney Williams beyond the arc while also creating space in the paint could be the final piece of the puzzle between the Sun and the World Championship.
Pick 12: Washington Mystics
*Destiny Slocum, 5-7, Guard, Oregon State
Despite being the defending world champions, the Mystics still have holes to fill. They could go with either forward or guard for this pick as both Elena Delle-Donne and Emma Meesseman are unrestricted free agents but the odds of them walking away is very slim to none. With Kristi Toliver also a free agent, guard is a priority. Slocum is Pivec’s tag team partner and her role is the opposite of hers. She is a sharpshooter and has great range. She knows that her strength is shooting so she doesn’t drive causing her to barely see the charity stripe. She is shooting 47% from the field and 38.4% from three. She is averaging 15 points and 4.9 assists per game. She is a true guard who can find the player down low with ease which will help the post players produce even more.
Edited by Garrett Jones | email@example.com