Fresh off an action-packed and historic NCAA Tournament, the WNBA will welcome its next class of rookies at the 2023 draft in New York City on Monday night.
Now that the WNBA has released the official list of players who have declared for the WNBA Draft, it’s time for our final mock draft. Barring any trades, here is my projection for every team’s first-round pick heading into the 2023 season.
Aliyah Boston, F, South Carolina
Boston has been our projected No. 1 pick since we started our 2023 mock draft in November, so it’s no surprise she remains at the top now. The Fever could use a dominant post presence to add to their repertoire of young, promising talent, and Boston is exactly that player.
The 6-foot-5 South Carolina center officially declared for the draft after the Gamecocks lost in the Final Four, putting to rest the rumors she might use an additional year of NCAA eligibility. Boston bore the brunt of double and triple teams the last two years, closing out her senior season averaging 13 points, 9.8 rebounds and two blocks on 54.8 percent shooting from the field. Boston makes an impact as much on the defensive end as she does on offense, winning the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season.
Diamond Miller, G, Maryland
Beyond specific positional needs, the Lynx are searching for sheer talent and a franchise player with this No. 2 pick.
Miller arguably has the most upside of any player on the draft board. The 6-3 guard has a pro-ready build, is a high-level competitor and was dominant all season long, leading Maryland in scoring with 19.7 points per game. She can do a little bit of everything, but the most impressive aspect of Miller’s game is her ability to grab a rebound, advance the ball and make decisions in the open floor. She is a major threat when going downhill. Miller’s production was consistent throughout her senior season, and she took her game to another level against top-ranked opponents and on the biggest stages.
Maddy Siegrist, F, Villanova
Siegrist steadily worked her way up our draft board this season as she showcased her length, efficiency and sheer dominance on the offensive end of the floor. The nation’s leading scorer at 29.2 points per game in 2023, Siegrist would fill a lot of scoring holes for the Wings. She is the most dominant and prolific scorer in this class and, at 6-2, is anything but one-dimensional. She can stretch the floor, as evidenced by her career 34.9 percent 3-point shooting, and she is highly efficient from the floor, averaging a 48.3 field-goal percentage for her career.
Stephanie Soares, F/C, Iowa State
The 6-6 center is officially draft eligible after she tore her ACL 13 games into the college season and was denied a waiver for an additional year of NCAA eligibility. Soares joined the Cyclones in 2022 after being named two-time NAIA Player of the Year. Even though her first season at the Power 5 level was cut short, her impact and potential were felt immediately.
Players with Soares’ skill set and size don’t come around very often. She can protect the rim with her length and athleticism, and she can also stretch the floor with a strong 3-point shot. In 13 games this season, Soares averaged 14.4 points and 9.9 rebounds while shooting 54.4 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from the perimeter. While she needs to get healthy and rehab her knee, which will force her to miss the upcoming WNBA season, Soares brings a unique package of size, length and skill that teams would be crazy not to consider. With the right development, her best basketball is ahead of her.
Jordan Horston, G, Tennessee
If Horston is available here, Dallas has the opportunity to lock up an elite wing with next-level potential. When Horston is at her best, she is one of the most elite players in the country. That potential was on full display in the postseason, with Horston averaging 19 points during Tennessee’s run to the SEC tournament championship game and 16 points in the NCAA Tournament.
At 6-2, Horston has length and athleticism that should translate well to the next level on both ends of the floor. She can score, rebound the ball and elevate over opponents, and her passing ability is underrated. The guard had her most efficient scoring season for Tennessee in 2022-23, shooting 43.8 percent from the field.
Haley Jones, G, Stanford
Atlanta will have the chance to add versatility, shot creation and defense with this pick. Jones has long been touted as a lottery selection, so if she were to drop to this point, the Dream could be getting a steal.
Jones is a cerebral player with a proven ability to make those around her better. The 6-1 guard is in a category of her own in this draft class. She can initiate offense as a point-forward, averaging a career-best four assists per game this season, and when she gets downhill in the open floor, her decision-making is elite. On defense, she can handle any matchup handed to her and would fit right into head coach Tanisha Wright’s defensive system.
Jones’ downside is her perimeter shooting: She made only three 3-pointers this past season under 10 percent from deep. She will need to continue to develop her range to stretch defenses at the next level.
Grace Berger, G, Indiana
The Fever could go in a number of different directions with this pick. In Berger, Indiana would not only be getting an in-state college product but also one of the most experienced and composed players in the draft class. The 6-0 guard has the “it” factor as a tough and disciplined competitor.
While Indiana’s roster looks guard-heavy at first glance, Berger would bring a unique skill set with her mid-range efficiency and her ability to play on or off the ball and rebound from the guard spot. Berger averaged a career-best 5.8 assists per game for Indiana this season, and while she’s not known for her 3-point shot, she averaged 40.7 percent from range this season. Her on-court leadership would be a welcome addition to the Fever’s young, rebuilding roster.
Dorka Juhász, F, UConn
Atlanta needs to address interior depth, and with many of the top post prospects returning to the NCAA, this class is slim at the position. Within that group, Juhász stands out as one of the most consistent forwards from her time playing professionally in Hungary and at top collegiate programs in Ohio State and UConn.
At 6-5, Juhász has an elite combination of skill and size, with the mobility and versatility to score and defend. What flies under the radar are her overall basketball IQ and playmaking ability. She averaged a double-double this season for UConn, with 14.5 points and 10 rebounds per game, while also averaging 3.2 assists. Juhász impacts nearly every statistical category and has done so at the highest levels.
Zia Cooke, G, South Carolina
More than any other team in the league, the Storm need depth in the backcourt. Cooke is coming off one her best and most consistent seasons at South Carolina, having averaged 15.4 points per game while shooting a career-best 40.5 percent from the field. In addition to her scoring, she improved in nearly every area of her game this past season, and her draft stock rose with it. With the ball in her hands more often, she registered the fewest turnovers of her career. If Cooke falls to No. 9, Seattle cannot miss out on the opportunity to select her.
Coming off of playing under Dawn Staley and in three straight Final Fours, Cooke will enter the WNBA with a pro-ready mentality. In South Carolina’s loss to Iowa in the national semifinal, the 5-9 guard stepped up with a team-high 24 points as other players faltered on offense. In Cooke, Seattle would be getting a dynamic scorer and a player capable of initiating the offense, something they desperately need.
Lou Lopez Sénéchal, G/F, UConn
The Sparks are in dire need of a scoring wing who can stretch the floor as a perimeter threat, and there are several promising prospects who fit that profile.
Lopez Sénéchal made the jump from Fairfield to UConn this past season and thrived in the high-pressure atmosphere as one of the best shotmakers in the country. She increased her efficiency while taking fewer shots per game, shooting a career-best 47.6 percent from the floor and 44 percent from the 3-point line. The 6-1 grad student was forced to step up as UConn dealt with injuries to several key players throughout the season, and she responded, helping the Huskies reach the Sweet 16. Lopez Sénéchal is just the type of wing who could be thrown into the fire her rookie season and produce right away.
Taylor Mikesell, G, Ohio State
Like the Sparks, the Wings need to add perimeter shooting and should be able to address it with their three first-round picks. Mikesell has a pro-ready frame, skill set and understanding of the game that should translate well to the next level. She is at her best when she can play alongside other aggressive, shot-creating guards. And when she can run off actions and get to her spots, she is one of the most efficient shooters in the country.
Mikesell has proven extremely durable over her career, especially this past season as she helped carry an injury-ridden Ohio State team that was without guard Jacy Sheldon for most of the year. Despite being the focal point of opposing scouting reports every night, the 5-11 guard shot 41.4 percent from deep and showed she can score in other ways. Mikesell has the tools to thrive as a pro when defenses aren’t honed in on her specifically.
Ashley Joens, G/F, Iowa State
Minnesota has a lot of holes to fill, but at this point in the draft, it comes down to the best player still remaining on the board. Joens fits the mold as a tough player with a unique skill set and five years of high-level experience. She has a nonstop motor and a strong work ethic, and when faced with adversity, she finds ways to impact games and manufacture points.
The 6-1 guard averaged 21.6 points per game and 35.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc for the Cyclones this season. She is a career 35.7-percent 3-point shooter with over 950 attempts from the perimeter during her last five seasons in Ames. She makes the right reads, exposes mismatches and creates offense when she needs to. She is also a strong rebounder from the guard spot and can play with her back to the basket. Joens is rarely rattled on the court, but she’ll need to be able to transition from being the go-to player to being efficient while taking way fewer shots in the WNBA.
Rachel Galligan is a basketball analyst at Just Women’s Sports. A former professional basketball player and collegiate coach, she also contributes to Winsidr. Follow Rachel on Twitter @RachGall.