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.

Atlanta Dream

Haley Jones, No. 6 pick

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.

Laeticia Amihere, No. 8 pick

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.

Indiana Fever

Aliyah Boston, No. 1 pick

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.

Grace Berger, No. 7 pick

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.

Victaria Saxton, No. 25 pick

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.

Minnesota Lynx

Diamond Miller, No. 2 pick

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.

Dorka Juhász, No. 16 pick

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.

Phoenix Mercury

Kadi Sissoko, No. 29 pick

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.

Los Angeles Sparks

Zia Cooke, No. 10 pick

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.

Seattle Storm

Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, No. 21 pick

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.

Jordan Horston, No. 9 pick

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.

Connecticut Sun

Leigha Brown, No. 15 pick

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.

Dallas Wings

Maddy Siegrist, No. 3 pick

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.

Lou Lopez Sénéchal, No. 5 pick

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.

Ashley Joens, No. 19 pick

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.

Just 15 of the 36 selections from the 2023 WNBA Draft appear on opening day rosters, a sign of the league’s roster squeeze.

Stars from each of this year’s Final Four teams — including LSU’s Alexis Morris and LaDazhia Williams, Iowa’s Monika Czinano, South Carolina’s Brea Beal, and Virginia Tech’s Kayana Traylor — were among the cuts.

Not all the players left off the opening day rosters were waived by their teams. No. 4 overall pick Stephanie Soares, for example, is out for the season for the Dallas Wings as she recovers from an ACL tear, while No. 12 overall pick Maia Hirsch out of France is a draft-and-stash pick by the Minnesota Lynx.

Still, the lack of available spots has become a pressing issue as both rookie and veteran players alike find themselves on the wrong side of the cuts, with just 15 players from the 2022 draft and just eight from the 2021 draft on rosters for the 2023 WNBA opening weekend.

Which 2023 WNBA Draft picks appear on opening day rosters?

  • First round
    • 1. Aliyah Boston, Indiana Fever
    • 2. Diamond Miller, Minnesota Lynx
    • 3. Maddy Siegrist, Dallas Wings
    • 5. Lou Lopez Sénéchal, Dallas Wings
    • 6. Haley Jones, Atlanta Dream
    • 7. Grace Berger, Indiana Fever
    • 8. Laeticia Amihere, Atlanta Dream
    • 9. Jordan Horston, Seattle Storm
    • 10. Zia Cooke, Los Angeles Sparks
  • Second round
    • 15. Leigha Brown, Atlanta Dream
    • 16. Dorka Juhász, Minnesota Lynx
    • 19. Ashley Joens, Dallas Wings
    • 21. Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, Seattle Storm
  • Third round 
    • 25. Victaria Saxton, Indiana Fever
    • 29. Kadi Sissoko, Phoenix Mercury
  • Total: 15 players

Which 2022 WNBA Draft picks appear on opening day rosters?

  • First round
    • 1. Rhyne Howard, Atlanta Dream
    • 2. NaLyssa Smith, Indiana Fever
    • 3. Shakira Austin, Washington Mystics
    • 6. Lexie Hull, Indiana Fever Round 1, Pick No. 6 
    • 7. Veronica Burton, Dallas Wings
    • 10. Queen Egbo, Indiana Fever
    • 11. Kierstan Bell, Las Vegas Aces
    • 12. Nia Clouden, Los Angeles Sparks
  • Second round
    • 15. Naz Hillmon, Atlanta Dream
    • 18. Lorela Cubaj, Atlanta Dream
    • 19. Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Connecticut Sun
    • 21. Evina Westbrook, Phoenix Mercury
  • Third round 
    • 29. Sika Koné, Chicago Sky
    • 30. Jasmine Dickey, Dallas Wings
    • 33. Jade Melbourne, Seattle Storm
  • Total: 15 players

Which 2021 WNBA Draft picks appear on opening day rosters?

  • First round
    • 2. Awak Kuier, Dallas Wings
    • 3. Aari McDonald, Atlanta Dream
    • 6. Michaela Onyenwere, Phoenix Mercury
    • *12. Iliana Rupert, Atlanta Dream
      • *Contract suspended to start season due to overseas commitment.
  • Second round
    • 13. Dana Evans, Chicago Sky
    • 20. DiJonai Carrington, Connecticut Sun
    • 22. Arella Guirantes, Seattle Storm
  • Third round 
    • 33. Maya Caldwell, Indiana Fever
  • Total: 8 players

Arike Ogunbowale didn’t watch the 2023 WNBA Draft. She was doing what she does every Monday night — playing pick-up basketball. But her cell phone was close by, and she kept checking it for updates.

Ogunbowale liked what she saw. Dallas not only grabbed NCAA leading scorer Maddy Siegrist at No. 3 overall, but continued to accumulate top-tier shooters as the rest of the draft unfolded, making four selections in the first round and and six overall.

“I thought we did really good,” she says. “It’s pretty much what I envisioned them to be drafting. I was happy with it.”

Since she entered the WNBA as the Dallas Wings’ fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Ogunbowale has become the backbone of the franchise, and Dallas has been intent on building the team around her. But while Ogunbowale has racked up many individual accolades over the past four seasons, including WNBA scoring champion in 2020 and All-Star MVP in 2021, the Wings have struggled to achieve consistent roster balance and find success in the postseason. They were bounced from the playoffs in a single-elimination first-round game in 2021 and, after finishing the regular season with a .500 record, lost 2-1 in a first-round series against the Connecticut Sun last season.

At this point in her four-year career, Ogunbowale wants more for her team and for the city of Dallas, which has not had a winning season since 2015 or a playoff series win since 2009. Ogunbowale wants to experience a full postseason run.

“My first year (in the playoffs), that’s when it was still the one and done. Last year’s was two out of three. Sadly, I wasn’t able to play in that because I was injured,” says Ogunbowale, 26. “I’m just excited to actually play a playoff series at that and get a chance to go. But the goal for sure is more than the first round this year.”

Ogunbowale is a two-time WNBA All-Star in her four seasons with Dallas. (Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images)

It’s not as if Wings president and CEO Greg Bibb hasn’t tried to round out the roster with additional talent and find the best combination of players, particularly through the draft, to try to achieve that same goal.

In 2020, Dallas plucked Satou Sabally (Oregon) with the second overall pick, Bella Alaire (Princeton) with the fifth, Tyasha Harris (South Carolina) with the seventh and Luisa Geiselsöder (Germany) in Round 2. In 2021, the Wings used their first and second picks to grab bigs Charli Collier (Texas) and Awak Kuier (Finland), then added Chelsea Dungee (Arkansas) and Dana Evans (Louisville). The 2022 draft yielded Veronica Burton (Northwestern) and Jazz Bond (North Florida).

Still, out of all of the players drafted in the past four years, only five remain in Dallas — Burton, Collier, Kuier, Sabally and Ogunbowale.

“We’ve been on a multi-year journey in terms of building our roster,” Bibb says. “And I believe we were at a spot by the end of last season where we were very much on the way to where we want to be, but there were several roster-related shortcomings or deficiencies that we wanted to address — first in free agency and then in the draft.”

During the WNBA’s frenetic February free agency period, Dallas picked up Diamond DeShields, Natasha Howard and Crystal Dangerfield through trades. And this year’s draft produced another haul of riches. The Wings cast a wide net, selecting Siegrist (Villanova), Lou Lopez Sénéchal (UConn) and Abby Meyers (Princeton) in the first round, then added Ashley Joens (Iowa State) and Paige Robinson (Illinois State) with their subsequent picks. Dallas also traded future draft picks for the rights to Stephanie Soares (Iowa State), who was originally selected fourth overall by the Washington Mystics.

With six draftees and no trades to garner any future picks for themselves, the Wings appeared to be scooping up as much talent as they could to throw out on the court in training camp this week and see what sticks. It’s seemingly the same script they followed for the past few seasons under former head coaches Brian Agler (2019-20) and Vickie Johnson (2021-22).

Bibb insists that isn’t the case.

“A lot of people ask us about our draft class. It’s kind of become this thing, this narrative that Dallas always drafts a ton of players and always has too many players and not enough spots,” he said in the Wings’ introductory team press conference in April. “I’m not sure where the narrative that Dallas does this over-drafting or draft-and-stash [comes from]. It’s just not what we do.”

Ogunbowale and new signing Natasha Howard participate in the first day of training camp Sunday. (Dallas Wings)

After losing their second- and third-leading scorers Marina Mabrey and Allisha Gray in offseason trades, Bibb says he targeted what Dallas needed the most through the draft — shooters. But he also added size for position, focusing on players who have the ability to excel in multiple positions and use their individual skills in a variety of ways on the court.

Siegrist fits that mold perfectly. As the all-time leading scorer in the Big East and the leading scorer in the nation this past season at 29.2 points per game, she has the ability to get buckets at all three levels. More importantly, depending on how many minutes new coach Latricia Trammell grants her, Siegrist can go in and compete right away.

“I love a scorer. You know I’m a scorer, so I love that (Maddy) can score in a lot of different ways and do it easily,” says Ogunbowale. “I think adding her is really good. She has good size, so she’ll help us with that department. But I think she’ll stretch the floor for sure, she can knock it down. I’m really excited about her.”

Soares is still recovering from a torn ACL she suffered in January and is being billed as a future investment, with the hope that she’ll be ready to go next season. Lopez Sénéchal played with a lingering knee injury for the second half of UConn’s season, and it remains to be seen how it will affect her play. But she, along with Meyers, Joens and Robinson, will be front and center of what is expected to be a highly competitive Wings training camp.

Dallas traded for Iowa State center and No. 4 pick Stephanie Soares on draft night. (Evan Yu/Just Women's Sports)

Seeing all of the picks taken before and after her, Meyers knows there’s no time to revel in the dream of getting drafted. The reality of the situation is clear to the former Ivy League Player of the Year — every draftee is competing for a spot alongside established young talent and valuable veterans.

“I think for me, I gotta do really well at the intangibles. I have to do really well at the small things,” Meyers says. “So I have to shoot well, I have to move off the ball well, I have to communicate well. I gotta do everything that makes a great all-around player.”

Since arriving in Dallas, Meyers has been hitting the gym and training with the other rookies, having fun and soaking up as much knowledge as she can. She’s also spoken with some of the vets, including DeShields, who told her to drop the rookie mindset and remember that, at the end of the day, they’re all pros.

“I know what I need to show and work on,” Meyers says. “But yeah, it’s gonna come down to the little things I think. It’s gonna come down to consistency, come down to meeting expectations of not only myself as a player, but also the expectations of what the coaches are looking for in a player for the team.”

Dallas currently has 18 players on its roster and only 12 open slots. As has become the norm, getting drafted in the second and third rounds is often more of an open invitation than a guarantee. But Trammell has said she’s going to treat every player that steps on the court as if they’re going to be with the team all season.

“It’s probably the most competitive that it’s been, honestly even since before I was here,” Ogunbowale says. “There’s so many good players — the players we have now and the players added, we got a lot of players in free agency. I think it’s gonna be super, super competitive. I’m excited to watch people compete, I’m excited to obviously compete against them. Hopefully my spot is locked down.”

As camp begins and the WNBA season fast approaches, the Wings’ new coaching staff has their work cut out for them. With the roster cutdown deadline set for May 18 and their season opener against the Atlanta Dream on May 20, the Wings have just over two weeks to finalize the roster and figure out rotations, player combinations and positions with the hope of contending in a newly top-heavy league.

The question remains: Will this be the year it all comes together?

Ogunbowale is optimistic.

“I think this is gonna be our best year yet. I feel like with the new coaching staff, they’re excited and seem super knowledgeable in the sport and just want to see us be great. They seem like they’re putting everything together to give us the tools to be great,” she says.

“I think we have players now that are super skilled, that have won championships. Just adding those other pieces and the pieces that we have, I think it’s gonna be a really good season for us.”

Lyndsey D’Arcangelo is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports, covering the WNBA. She also contributes to The Athletic and is the co-author of Hail Mary: The Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League. Follow Lyndsey on Twitter @darcangel21.

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.

1. Indiana Fever

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.

2. Minnesota Lynx

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.

(Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

3. Dallas Wings

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.

4. Washington Mystics

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.

5. Dallas Wings

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.

(Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

6. Atlanta Dream

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.

7. Indiana Fever

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.

8. Atlanta Dream

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.

(C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

9. Seattle Storm

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.

10. Los Angeles Sparks

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.

11. Dallas Wings

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.

(Rebecca Gratz/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

12. Minnesota Lynx

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.

Iowa State’s Ashley Joens isn’t ready to say if she will remain with the program for another year.

After four seasons with the Cyclones, Joens is eligible for another campaign but also has the option to enter the WNBA draft.

“I haven’t thought about that yet,” said Joens following her team’s loss to Creighton on Friday. “I’ll decide soon.”

A second-team All-American and a three-time All-Big 12 Conference first-team selection, Joens has been a critical piece of the Iowa State squad.

Joens averaged 20.3 points and 9.5 rebounds behind 40.9 percent shooting in her 2021-2022 season.