The first day of the 2023 WNBA season has arrived. Yet of the 36 college stars drafted in April, just 15 appear on opening day rosters.
From No. 1 pick Aliyah Boston to No. 29 pick Kadi Sissoko, here are the draftees who will be suiting up for their teams.
The Stanford product has long been praised for her versatility, as she can play nearly every position on the court. That made Jones an attractive draft pick for the Dream as they build a roster around last year’s No. 1 pick, Rhyne Howard. Jones also brings a high basketball IQ, another important quality for a team looking to establish itself.
Former South Carolina sixth woman Amihere may take a bit longer to develop than some rookies, but her physical skills and high ceiling are worth the wait. Versatility was clearly a priority for the Dream in this draft, as Amihere is another player that does a bit of everything on the court. At 6-4, her length is a major strength that can help the Dream on both ends of the floor.
Seeing Boston on an opening day roster is no surprise. The No. 1 overall pick is a player to build around, and someone we will likely see in the WNBA for years to come. Boston was pro ready a season ago when South Carolina won the NCAA title, and she will continue to develop as a WNBA player. The 6-5 post has the physical skills – strength and height – as well as impeccable footwork that makes her a tough guard inside.
As the Fever continue to build their identity, the former Hoosier is another player who can contribute right away. Berger is an efficient scorer who excels in the midrange, an offensive style that compliments the rest of the Fever roster. When it comes to guards, Berger is also on the stronger side, so she will likely adjust quickly to the WNBA level.
The last Gamecock to be drafted, Saxton will need some time to develop, but again, the Fever are a young team, playing the long game. At 6-2, Saxton is an undersized forward particularly on the defensive end, where she made her mark in college, but she impressed Fever coach Christie Sides in the preseason. Sides cited Saxton’s hustle and attention to detail as two qualities that stood out.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said during the preseason that Miller might be the most athletic player she’s ever coached. That, plus her length and versatility, made Miller an obvious choice for the No. 2 pick. Miller can score in the half court, on the fast break, and from both inside and outside. She’s an all-around player that will likely be on a WNBA roster for years to come.
The former UConn player can make an immediate impact for the Lynx as they continue to rebuild. After the retirement of Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota needs help defending in the paint, and at 6-5, Juhasz offers the kind of length they need. She served as a rim protector at UConn, and recorded 1.4 blocks per game as a senior. Juhasz uses polished footwork to score around defenders, and can impact the Lynx offense as well.
back-to-back Diamond buckets to start the half. 💎💎💎 pic.twitter.com/xUItT6hS2b— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) May 13, 2023
back-to-back Diamond buckets to start the half. 💎💎💎 pic.twitter.com/xUItT6hS2b
One of two third round draftees to make opening day rosters, Sissoko may end up being a steal for the Mercury. The 6-2 Sissoko is listed as a forward, but she has guard skills that will transfer well to the WNBA. She can run the floor and create shots off the bounce. Being on the court with players like Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner will leave openings that Sissoko can capitalize on.
The former South Carolina guard is in a great position for success with the Sparks. She can learn from two established guards in Jasmine Thomas and Jordin Canada while polishing her game for the WNBA level. At 5-9, Cooke will have to work to score, but body control and angles are her strong suit, something that will help the guard create around bigger defenders.
The former South Florida player is one of three bigs on the Storm roster. Standing at 6-3, Fankam Mendjiadeu gives the Storm a needed post presence on both ends of the floor. Fankam Mendjiadeu finishes well in the paint and is deft at finding seems without the ball. She averaged a double-double during her senior season with 16.5 points and 12.3 rebounds.
After losing Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, the Storm are in a rebuild. Horston likely will play big minutes for Seattle this season, and the 6-2 guard is ready for the challenge. A strong finisher who can elevate around the rim, Horston does a little bit of everything, and she is capable of setting up teammates and crashing the boards for rebounds.
A 6'2" forward from @LadyVol_Hoops... ⛈ JORDAN HORSTON ⛈#TakeCover pic.twitter.com/G7qf65pkH3— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) May 18, 2023
A 6'2" forward from @LadyVol_Hoops... ⛈ JORDAN HORSTON ⛈#TakeCover pic.twitter.com/G7qf65pkH3
The Michigan product was drafted by the Dream before being traded to the Sun just days before final rosters were announced. Brown brings toughness, defensive ability and a versatile offensive skill set to the Sun. The 6-1 guard can lead a fast break and create for herself or others. Brown averaged 17.5 points, 5.8 assists and 5.1 rebounds during her senior season.
The Wings needed to get more scoring in the 2023 draft, and they certainly secured that in Siegrist, who led the NCAA with 29.2 points per game as a senior. The 6-2 Siegrist is listed as a forward but plays more like a guard. The Villanova star can use her strength and ability to shoot from any angle to score in the WNBA.
Former UConn standout Lopez Sénéchal will start the season on the injured list, as she is set to undergo knee surgery that will cause her to miss six to eight weeks. When healthy, Lopez Sénéchal provides outside shooting that the Wings will need now that Marina Mabrey is playing for the Sky. She shot 44% from beyond the arc in her final collegiate season.
Joens played five years at Iowa State and was the focal point of the Cyclone offense every season. Joens is a strong guard who can score over defenders in the paint or shoot from outside. Another player who can bring needed scoring to the Wings, Joes averaged 21.6 points per game as a fifth-year senior.
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