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WNBA draft lottery: Four players who could top 2024 draft board

Iowa senior Caitlin Clark is a top prospect for the 2024 WNBA Draft. (G Fiume/Getty Images)

The WNBA draft lottery is set for Dec. 10, with four teams in the running for the No. 1 overall pick — the Indiana Fever, Phoenix Mercury, Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm.

While the Mercury finished the 2023 season with the worst record, the WNBA combines the two seasons prior to the draft to determine the odds for the No. 1 overall pick. So the Fever, who won the lottery for the first time in franchise history in 2023, have the best shot at the No. 1 pick again in 2024.

Who will each team select when the draft rolls around in April? Just Women’s Sports projects the four lottery picks, based on the team odds for the draft lottery.

1. Indiana Fever: Caitlin Clark, Iowa

Clark is arguably the biggest star in college basketball.

Last year’s consensus player of the year, the Hawkeyes senior proved herself an elite shooter, leading the NCAA in 3-pointers with 140 and finishing second in scoring with 27.8 points per game. She also has the ability to make the players around her better — she led Division I with 8.6 assists per game. And she is putting on a show again this season, with a 44-point game on her stat sheet.

Clark has another year of NCAA eligibility remaining the 2023-24 season, and she has suggested that she may use it. But if she chooses to go to the WNBA, she’s a clear front-runner for the No. 1 overall pick.

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Paige Bueckers has two years of eligibility remaining for UConn, but she also is a top WNBA prospect. (Lance King/Getty Images)

2. Phoenix Mercury: Paige Bueckers, UConn

Bueckers is another elite shooter and playmaker. She secured national player of the year honors as a freshman in 2021, and her shooting ability is nearly unmatched.

The Huskies guard, though, has significantly fewer college appearances under her belt than many of the other players qualified for the 2024 draft due to injuries — including a torn ACL that caused her to miss all of last season.

A redshirt junior, Bueckers has played just 46 games for UConn, and she is eligible to stay with the program through 2026. But after putting together a lackluster season in 2022 and finishing with the worst record overall in 2023, the Mercury may be willing to take a risk for a shot like Bueckers’.

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Stanford's Cameron Brink averaged 3.47 blocks per game last year. (Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)

3. Los Angeles Sparks: Cameron Brink, Stanford

Brink is a versatile big who brings good offense and great defense to the table.

While she is not as prolific a scorer as Clark or Bueckers — a tall order, indeed — her defense makes up for it. The 6-foot-4 senior averaged 3.47 blocks per game last year, placing her third in the league.

And she can score from the post and from the perimeter, making her a smart addition to any team. Brink posted 20 points and 17 rebounds as she showcased her scoring prowess against No. 9 Indiana on Nov. 12.

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Aaliyah Edwards is leading UConn in scoring so far this season. (G Fiume/Getty Images)

4. Seattle Storm: Aaliyah Edwards, UConn

The departure of Breanna Stewart has left the Storm in need of a strong post presence, and UConn’s leading scorer could provide just that.

Edwards led the Huskies on the scoresheet last season, dropping 16.6 points per game, and she leads the team again through four games this season, with 18.0 per game.

Her size is also an advantage — the 6-foot-3 power forward is a force on the court and a fearsome defender and rebounder. She collected an average of 9.0 rebounds per game last season and her one-on-one defense is top-notch.

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Kamilla Cardoso averaged 9.8 points and 8.5 rebounds for South Carolina last season. (Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Honorable mentions

These players also would be great choices in the first round, in no particular order:

  • Kamilla Cardoso, South Carolina
  • Angel Reese, LSU
  • Hailey Van Lith, LSU
  • Rickea Jackson, Tennessee
  • Georgia Amoore, Virginia Tech
  • Jacy Sheldon, Ohio State

Midge Purce-Backed Docuseries ‘The Offseason’ to Drop This Summer

cast of the offseason nwsl reality series
'The Offseason' follows a group of NWSL stars as they prepare for preseason play. (The Offseason)

The Offseason, a reality series created by Gotham and USWNT star Midge Purce, has officially confirmed its streaming debut, Purce announced in Cannes on Tuesday.

The six-episode, half-hour docuseries will stream this summer on X, though a specific premiere date hasn't yet been set.

The Offseason was filmed in Miami, two weeks before the NWSL preseason. It's a crucial time for athletes, a period where they prepare to join their respective teams and compete for both starting and roster spots. Production designed all the facilities, bringing in top-tier trainers, masseuses, chefs, and gym equipment to create a high-level training environment, ensuring the players were in peak condition, per the show's release. Throughout filming, athletes lived together in one house — a reality TV conceit rife for entertainment.

The series follows a number of NWSL stars, including Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Maria Sanchez (Houston Dash), Lo’eau LaBonta (Kansas City Current), Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash), Taylor Smith (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Nikki Stanton (OL Reign), Ally Watt (Orlando Pride), Taryn Torres (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Paige Nielsen (Angel City FC), and Ify Onumonu (Utah Royals).

"We wanted to create a series that truly captures the essence of what it means to be a professional athlete," said Purce. "This series has always been about more than just sports — it's about the human experience behind the athlete, as well."

The show promises a behind-the-scenes look at professional women's sports, teasing major life decisions, on-field tensions, and players taking stock of the environments they'll be entering once their preseason trip is over. The series delves into the real-life challenges faced by the athletes, including club trades, contract negotiations, burnout, and the relentless pressure from outsiders commenting on the players' personal lives.

The Offseason's official trailer, released on Tuesday, shows snippets of Hubly contemplating retirement, Sanchez joining the group after signing a high-profile contract, and a healthy amount of banter about on-field achievements.

The spirit of the series is reflected in its producers: Box To Box Films is known for their sports content (Drive to Survive, Break Point, Full Swing), whereas 32 Flavors is the creative force behind Vanderpump Rules and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The series was funded by Seven Seven Six, and executive produced by Purce.

Lilia Vu Wins Meijer LPGA Classic After Injury Return

lpga golfer Lilia Vu
Lilia Vu won in her first tournament in two months. (Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Lilia Vu won her fifth LPGA Tour event on Sunday, taking home the Meijer LPGA Classic title in her first tournament appearance since March. 

The World No. 2 had been sidelined with a back injury, but returned with a vengeance last weekend. She began the final day eight shots back of leader Grace Kim, before surviving a three-hole playoff against Kim and former champion Lexi Thompson to take the title. 

"I think this is the most meaningful win," Vu told reporters. "Because there was a time two months ago where I was just crying on the range not being sure if I would ever play a tournament again without pain."

This was Vu's first Meijer LPGA Classic win, and a birdie on the third playoff hole helped secure it. A two-time major champion, she's now two for three in LPGA Tour playoffs. 

She said on Sunday that being unable to defend her title at the Chevron Championship was the "breaking point" in her season.

"Not being able to compete there really killed me," she said. "I feel like I thought I was taking the steps in the right direction, but I’m glad that I was able to take a couple months off and reevaluate my body, let it recover, do what I needed to do to get back out here again.

"And we did the right thing and took two months off. I think it hurt me not to play competitive golf because I literally live for competitive golf, but we did the right thing and that’s why I’m here today."

Vu walked away with $450,000 in prize money from the $3 million overall purse.

Jabeur, Sabalenka Pull Out of Olympics Citing Health Concerns

tennis player Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka will not play in this year's Summer Olympics. (ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images)

Ons Jabeur and Aryna Sabalenka joined a growing list of tennis stars opting out of the Olympics on Monday.

Sabalenka, the reigning Australian Open champion and World No. 3, told reporters in Berlin that she was looking after her health while citing WTA tournament participation requirements. The Belarusian had struggled with a stomach bug during the French Open, where she lost in the semifinals of a major for the first time since 2022. 

Similarly, Jabeur referenced the health risks that come with a change in playing surfaces. The World No. 10 has been battling knee injuries this season, and lost in the French Open quarterfinals to Coco Gauff

"Especially with all the struggles I was having last month, I feel like I need to take care of my health… It’s too much with the scheduling," Sabalenka told reporters. "It’s just too much. I made the decision to take care of my health."

Players will spend the next few weeks playing on grass in the lead-up to Wimbledon, while the Olympics will be played on clay at Roland-Garros. 

"After consulting with my medical team regarding attending the Olympics in Paris, we have decided that the quick change of surface and the body’s adaptation required would put my knee at risk and jeopardize the rest of my season," Jabeur tweeted on Monday. "Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics. I have always loved representing my country in any competition, However, I must listen to my body and follow my medical team’s advice."

The two join Emma Raducanu in opting out of the Olympics. Raducanu — who has dealt with a number of injuries since her US Open win in 2021 — said the change in surface was "not worth the risk."

Jaedyn Shaw Breaks NWSL Record for Most Goals Scored as a Teenager

Jaedyn Shaw of the san diego wave
Jaedyn Shaw is now holds the record for most NWSL goals as a teenager. (Julia Kapros-USA TODAY Sports)

Jaedyn Shaw continues to make NWSL history, surpassing Trinity Rodman for the most NWSL goals by a teenager on Saturday. 

She did it in a game against Rodman's Washington Spirit in the 20th minute of the 1-1 draw. It brings her total to 13 league goals, after making her NWSL debut at 17 years old in July 2022. 

The goal is her third this season. Shaw currently leads Wave alongside Makenzy Doniak. 

Shaw has also been a member of the USWNT, alongside Rodman, netting seven goals over 14 national team appearances. If she gets called up to this summer’s Olympics under Emma Hayes, it will mark her first official tournament with the USWNT.

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