No one understands what Caitlin Clark and the 2024 WNBA draft class has ahead of them better than Atlanta Dream guard Haley Jones.

Jones is a product of her own vaunted draft class, selected sixth overall in 2023 upon finishing a college career at Stanford that produced a 2021 national championship. Since joining the WNBA, Jones had steady output as a rookie, playing in all 40 of the team's games in her first season.

The transition wasn't always easy. Jones had to balance finishing her Stanford degree with the early months of her first professional season, competing against seasoned veterans while closing a chapter of her life as a student.

"In college, it's a job-ish. But now it's really your life, right? And not only are you competing for yourself, but the women that you're going against, this is their lives. They have kids to provide for, families, so it's a different mindset when you come in," she told Just Women's Sports at the 2024 Final Four in Cleveland. "They're so smart, they're so efficient. And so you'd be doing the same things, but they get there quicker."

Only one year removed from her own college career, watching the upcoming 2024 draft class maneuver the same schedule has been somewhat surreal for Jones. She says she remains close with many of the players at Stanford, including incoming WNBA rookie Cameron Brink, and with the NCAA tournament now behind them she knows just how quickly their lives are going to change.

"The whirlwind that it is when your season ends, you get like three days if you're going to declare for the draft or not," she says. "Then you figure it out, boom, the draft is next Monday. So no time, it's quick. And then they're gonna [have the] draft on the 15th, training camp starts the 26th or 27th, so you have 11 days to move your life to wherever you're going, figure out the new city, get your car there, do all these different little things that come along with it."

Once players arrive in training camp, their spots in the league are anything but guaranteed. With expansion still on future horizons, this year's draft class will be competing with established veterans (including, now, Jones) for limited roster spots. It's not unheard of for even WNBA lottery picks to struggle in establishing a foothold in one of the most competitive leagues in the world.

"A lot of us get to the point of being in the W, you get there because you're hypercritical," Jones says. "That's why you've been able to be so good, your work ethic is insane. So you're watching everything that you do, you're correcting yourself, you're watching film, you're doing all these things."

"I think my biggest advice is really just like the present and understand that you're there for a reason. I think that there's impostor syndrome sometimes when you get to the league. But you have to understand that there's something about you that makes you special, to be where you are."

The rookie wall is real, Jones says, and her own hypercritical nature got the best of her at times during her first year in the WNBA. But she also feels that once a player can find a sense of rhythm, there's a simplicity to the life of a professional athlete that allows them to further expand their horizons.

Misconceptions about NIL opportunities continuing beyond women's college basketball careers have abounded in recent months, with current WNBA players having to correct the record. Jones is a product of the NIL era, and has only seen her professional opportunities expand since leaving Stanford.

"Most of the deals I had in NIL I'm still with now," she says. "Because those contracts [extended] or they just renewed now that you're in the W."

"Then you take what you were making [in college] and then you add in your W salary, so — thank you. Now I have my 401k system. I have health care, all these different things — so you kind of honestly add on when you get to the W, on top of better competition, all these different things."

Removing schoolwork from her daily schedule has also given Jones more time to pursue other projects, like her podcast "Sometimes I Hoop", in partnership with The Players' Tribune. As the WNBA continues to build its own ability to market and promote its players, Jones has relished the opportunity to not only meet players she admires through the podcast, but add to an increasingly vibrant media landscape following women's sports.

"There's a lot of men's basketball podcasts out there, a lot of player-led ones," she says. "There's not a lot of women's basketball. There's some women's basketball focused pods, but not a lot of player-led ones."

"I think it's great for me to be able to give back to women’s basketball in my own way."

Jones's experience with the podcast has also given her a unique perspective on what possibly comes next for the WNBA, as the league looks to capitalize on a wave of popular young talent while still serving the players already on team rosters.

"Everybody in the league, they were All-Americans at one point in time. They were national champions, like we all have that resume," she says. "I think it's just the W expanding on their storytelling. I think doing a better job with that will do a lot, also like buying into what the players are doing."

She notes the impressive personal brands that players like Clark, Brink, and Angel Reese have built on their own.

"The W has a fan base, but then each individual player has a fan base," she continues. "So by locking into those and making them not only Angel Reese fans, Caitlin Clark fans, Cam Brink fans, making them W fans as well will be big."

As Jones grows into her second year as a professional, her perspective of her own college career has also shifted with time. Winning a national championship is difficult, and Stanford's ability to come out on top in 2021 is an achievement she's appreciated even more in the years since winning the title.

"You don't really realize it until later on," she says. "As I look at it now, I realize how big of an accomplishment that that was."

"Talking to my parents, they're like hey, how many people can actually say they won one?" she continues. "How many people become college athletes? DI athletes? Win a natty? One team a year."

The ambitions for Jones in 2024 are even bigger, with the Dream looking to improve upon their fifth-place finish last season. But she also believes the key to growing the game of basketball can be found in connecting with the community, following in the footsteps of college titans like Dawn Staley at South Carolina.

"People buying into these programs because you see them in the community is huge. I feel like for the W to be continuing to do that, continue with community initiatives, all these different things that we're doing. I think that you'll get a lot bigger fan bases."

A lot has changed for Haley Jones since she graduated from Stanford and was selected by the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA Draft.

She left California after “basically growing up on the beach,” as she describes it, and started a new life on the other side of the country. She swapped a regimented student-athlete lifestyle for a professional one with more responsibilities and more free time. And she’s learning to play a new role on a new team.

But one thing has stayed the same. On and off the court, Jones is still marked by versatility. She’s never liked being put in a box, and she still doesn’t.

“I still grind, I get in the gym, I do my thing,” she said. “But having that holistic view is just a piece that makes up who I am.”

That mindset has helped Jones approach basketball with joy and a relaxed attitude throughout her career, something she admits got lost during her first couple of months in the WNBA. The process of becoming a professional requires a big learning curve, and while Jones quickly adapted to her life off the court — getting into pilates and exploring Atlanta in her free time — the basketball aspect became a challenge.

Jones says she came into training camp tense, and it took a while to shake that feeling.

“I’m lighthearted, I’m always this upbeat type of person and I like to play loose and free. That’s when I play my best,” she said. “But I think when I got to the league, I just started putting a lot of pressure on myself.”

Jones also faced outside pressure entering the draft, having to answer to critics who questioned some of the limitations of her game, including her 3-point shot. Jones averaged 21.9 percent from deep during her college career, going 3-for-32 during her senior season. So far in the WNBA, she’s gone 5-for-22 from the 3-point line.

“A lot of people did talk about what I can’t do, downsides of my game, whatever it may be,” Jones said on draft night. “I think people are going to pick and choose what to focus on, but I know what I bring to the table, and I’m excited to get to Atlanta and show them why they picked me.”

Once the season started, the sixth overall draft pick was playing with and against icons of the game, and she started to wonder where she fit in and even if she could match up at all. The entire team noticed. Rhyne Howard, who played in the USA Basketball system with Jones, and coach Tanisha Wright, who previously played in the WNBA and knew Jones had the talent to compete, rallied around the rookie. They gave her the space she needed to make mistakes and grow.

Jones remembers one game against Connecticut early in the season, when she had a bad first quarter that included turnovers on back-to-back possessions.

“I was about to have a breakdown,” she said.

Wright subbed her out, and Jones was ready to get an earful.

She didn’t get one. Instead, Wright told her to take a breath and get ready to go back in. That was it.

Jones responded by recording a team-high nine assists to help the Dream close out a road win.

Jones, the 2023 sixth overall draft pick, has gradually acclimated to WNBA life as a rookie. (Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)

That moment helped, but it wasn’t the start of a complete turnaround for Jones. The season has been a learning process, especially as injuries have cycled Jones in and out of the starting lineup. But now, the 22-year-old guard says she’s starting to feel comfortable on a WNBA court.

“More recently, I’ve really started to feel more confident in my play, getting looser out there,” she said. “I’m figuring out what my role is.”

The Dream have played Jones exclusively at the point guard spot, a change from a college career that saw her playing all over the court. But according to the guard, the flow of offense isn’t much different.

“It’s different when I’m being picked up by like a 5-7 point guard the entire game,” she said. “But once we get into the halfcourt, I feel that same free flow that I felt in the past because of the way that our offense runs. I think anybody can really be in any spot.”

Jones is averaging 15.7 minutes, 3.9 points, 2.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game for the Dream, who are in fifth place in the WNBA standings at 15-14.

And while she continues to find her footing on the court, Jones has settled seamlessly into life in Atlanta. Like Jones herself, Atlanta has a lot going on. Every time she leaves her apartment, she stumbles upon something to do, like a farmers market and or a music festival.

“It’s really cool,” she said. “It’s just a different atmosphere. There’s an energy like, it’s just a city full of people who are hustling. It’s fast-paced. There’s something going on every day.”

Jones has also continued her podcast with The Players’ Tribune, “Sometimes I Hoop,” which debuted during her senior year at Stanford. After a brief hiatus, the podcast returned with a two-part video documentary giving a behind-the-scenes look at Jones’ draft experience.

She’s also back interviewing fellow basketball players, hosting LSU’s Annesah Morrow as a guest on the show this week.

Jones resumed her podcast "Sometimes I Hoop" last month. (Courtesy of The Players' Tribune)

Jones has always been a person who wears many different hats, and every time she turns on the mic to record an episode, she tells herself, “Time to turn on my podcast persona.” It’s an easy switch, as Jones is a natural interviewer.

“Sometimes I Hoop” is technically a basketball podcast, but it wouldn’t be a Haley Jones project if it was limited to just one thing. Now that she’s a professional athlete, basketball has to be an even bigger focus than it was in college, so Jones uses the podcast as a tool of self-expression, while also giving insight into her peers.

“Now that I’m out of school, it gives me a creative outlet and creative space to still be in the basketball world, but to talk about different things,” she said.

She may be a professional now, but basketball still isn’t the only thing in Jones’ life, and she wants to keep it that way.

“The people in my inner circle have never put me inside a box,” she said. “Obviously I think I’m pretty good at basketball, and I hope other people do as well, but the people in my life have really empowered me to try different things.”

Life may be changing for Haley Jones, but she’s always going to stay the same.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

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

Rhyne Howard and Haley Jones are not strangers to one another, which could spell trouble for teams facing the Atlanta Dream in the upcoming WNBA season.

In an interview with reporter Mark Schindler, Jones revealed that the pair were texting on her draft night. The Dream selected the 6-foot-1 guard with the No. 6 overall pick, and they picked Howard with the No. 1 overall pick in 2022.

Howard and Jones played together on the U.S. youth national team, and their moms are friends, which has led to even more excitement as Jones makes her way to Atlanta.

“Me and Rhyne have talked a bit since I’ve been drafted. She texted me while I was at the draft,” Jones said. “We were chatting on draft night about our excitement to play together again. I think that the way that we play works very well.”

According to Jones, Howard already has their handshake picked out. She has a different one for every player on the team, and she’s excited to welcome Jones with her own special greeting.

“Fun fact: I have one ready for almost everybody,” Howard wrote on Twitter.

For her part, Jones is ready to hit the ground running with her new team.

“I think that we play very well together. We’re great friends off the court, Rhyne is an even better person which is hard to imagine with how great of a player she is,” Jones said. “I’m just excited to get there, play with Rhyne and play with everybody on this team.”

Not even an hour after she was drafted, Haley Jones received a taste of her busy WNBA life.

After the Atlanta Dream selected her with the No. 6 overall pick, the Stanford star was speaking at her post-draft press conference when a reporter brought to her attention a social media post from Dream head coach Tanisha Wright.

“Hey Girl!! Just trying to reach ya to congratulate ya on coming to the A! #PickUpYourPhone @haleyjoness19,” Wright wrote on Twitter.

Jones laughed at the tweet, noting that she forgot to grab her phone when she went up to the stage after her selection.

“Oh my god. Hopefully she’s listening or going to see this interview. I’m so sorry,” she said. “I literally got called. Didn’t even think to grab my phone. I hugged my mom and dad, my brother. So when I get to my phone I will call her back immediately. 

“That is like the worst first impression to have is missing a call from your new boss. The second I get to my phone, no matter how many missed calls I have, missed texts, calling her immediately. But I hope she knows how excited I am to get to the A, make an impact, get to training camp, just get ready to work. I will tell her profusely all of that as soon as we get on the phone.”

The exchange was all in good fun. Wright later tweeted that the team will “make an exception today” for Jones. After all, it was a big night for Jones and the rest of the draftees. 

Like any draft, the 2023 WNBA Draft on Monday night had both sure things and surprises.

South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston going first overall to the Indiana Fever came as a surprise to no one, while Maryland’s Abby Meyers creeping into the first round caught most people off guard. Some WNBA teams had excellent draft nights, while others left question marks and more to be desired.

We grade the first round of the draft based on the good, the bad and the in between.

No. 1: Indiana Fever

Aliyah Boston, F, South Carolina

Since the moment the 2022 draft wrapped and the 2023 draft came into focus, Boston has been the consensus choice for the No. 1 pick. Indiana didn’t have to think too much about this one, drafting the 2022 National Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, a likely cornerstone for the team for years to come.

Grade: A+

No. 2: Minnesota Lynx

Diamond Miller, G, Maryland

Making another obvious pick, the Lynx got it right with Miller. The Maryland star is WNBA-ready, with an athletic 6-foot-3 frame and the skills to go along with it. Minnesota is in a rebuilding phase after recording a losing season in 2022 and missing the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, and Miller is the perfect foundation. She is versatile, so they have options when it comes to building a roster. Ten years from now, Miller might be considered one of the best players in this draft.

Grade: A+

No. 3: Dallas Wings

Maddy Siegrist, F, Villanova

I don’t love everything the Wings did in this draft, but picking Siegrist at No. 3 was the right move. She’s a dynamic scorer who can complement the pieces Dallas already has. The Wings need point production, and the NCAA’s leading scorer certainly brings that in spades. Siegrist had the ball in her hands a lot at Villanova, a role that will change on a Wings team led by Arike Ogunbowale, but she shouldn’t have an issue adjusting.

Grade: A

The Mystics traded No. 4 pick Stephanie Soares to the Wings for future draft picks. (Evan Yu/Just Women's Sports)

No. 4: Washington Mystics

Stephanie Soares, F/C, Iowa State
(Traded to Dallas for 2024 second-round pick and 2025 first-round pick)

Soares is a player with loads of potential. She’s 6-6 and can shoot from outside, which is an attractive quality in a league that is moving away from traditional bigs. But she’s also had two ACL injuries, so the pick is a gamble. For a team that has the luxury of developing Soares, this is an excellent pick. Dallas is not that team. At this point, the Wings have too many players with promising potential but no sure future, especially on the inside with Kalani Brown, Charli Collier and Awak Kuier.

Meanwhile, the Mystics made a great choice here, because the 2024 and 2025 draft classes are going to be stacked with NCAA talent.

Wings grade: C-

Mystics grade: A

No. 5: Dallas Wings

Lou Lopez Sénéchal, G/F, UConn

Lopez Sénéchal wasn’t at No. 5 on anyone’s draft board, but I understand the pick for the Wings. Already armed with shot creators like Ogunbowale and Diamond DeShields, the Wings need shooters. They especially need 3-point shooters, and the UConn product is one of the best long-range weapons in the draft, averaging 44 percent from deep this past season.

Grade: B

Haley Jones speaks to the media after going to the Atlanta Dream as the sixth pick. (Evan Yu/Just Women's Sports)

No. 6: Atlanta Dream

Haley Jones, G, Stanford

A lot has been made of Jones’ lack of a 3-point shot. And while I understand the criticism, she’s still a pro-ready player who impacts the game positively in every other way and has a high basketball IQ. Getting her at No. 6 is still a steal for Atlanta, and don’t be surprised as she develops her 3-point in the next couple seasons, as she alluded to Monday night.

“I’m just excited to get to the next level and show what I’ve been working on. I think at Stanford it wasn’t really my role to 3-point shoot. It was to playmake, rebound and run, facilitate, run the offense, play out of the high post,” Jones said. “I’m excited to get to the A, bring it there, and just kind of prove people wrong in a way.”

Grade: A

No. 7: Indiana Fever

Grace Berger, G, Indiana

The Indiana product managed to stay underrated for most of her college career, but Berger has WNBA-level skills. Her midrange game is particularly strong, and she is strong enough to hold her own with other guards in the league. The Fever are a young team, but they have great pieces to build around coming off last year’s and this year’s drafts, and Berger only adds to that foundation.

Grade: B

No. 8: Atlanta Dream

Laeticia Amihere, F, South Carolina

Amihere never started for the Gamecocks, but that is more a testament to their depth than a knock on her skills. At 6-4, she gives the Dream much-needed height and athleticism. We never saw her full potential at South Carolina, but the ceiling is high for the forward. Atlanta is able to take a risk on a player like Amihere because they are confident in their other top selections — 2022 No. 1 pick and WNBA Rookie of the Year Rhyne Howard and 2023 No. 6 pick Haley Jones.

Grade: A

No. 9: Seattle Storm

Jordan Horston, G, Tennessee

The Storm organization is in the midst of a transition period after Sue Bird retired and Brenna Stewart left in free agency. Jewell Loyd is now the centerpiece of the team, and Horston is a complementary guard with top-five draft potential who could wind up being a steal. She has size at 6-2 and does a little bit of everything, from passing to rebounding. Together, Loyd and Horston make a backcourt Seattle can build around.

Grade: A

South Carolina guard Zia Cooke heads to Los Angeles as the No. 10 draft pick. (Evan Yu/Just Women's Sports)

No. 10: Los Angeles Sparks

Zia Cooke, G, South Carolina

The Sparks have managed a solid offseason under new head coach Curt Miller, re-signing Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, signing Azurá Stevens and trading for Dearica Hamby. They also signed veteran guard Jasmine Thomas, but they needed another. Cooke can score at all three levels and, despite being 5-9, knows how to use her body and find angles to get the ball to the rim. She’s a perfect fit for the Sparks.

Grade: A

No. 11: Dallas Wings

Abby Meyers, G, Maryland

Dallas already selected a shooter in Lopez Sénéchal and went for a player with great potential in Soares. With the 11th pick, they selected a player who falls into both categories. I think Meyers could be a good WNBA player, but drafting her in the first round seems like a reach for the Wings.

Grade: D

No. 12: Minnesota Lynx

Maia Hirsch, C, France

The French prospect is 6-5 with guard skills. In the limited game highlights available, it’s clear Hirsch can play both ends of the floor, making her an attractive prospect. Plus, she’s only 19 years old and her ceiling is high. She might not pan out in the WNBA, but it’s a risk worth taking.

Grade: B

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

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.

When Haley Jones was being recruited in high school, several coaches tried to dissuade her from picking Stanford.

“You’ll get a Stanford degree, but you’ll never win a national championship,” they told her.

What they didn’t realize is you don’t tell Haley Jones she can’t do something. Their attempts to bring her to their programs only solidified her decision.

“I think I can do both,” Haley told them.

So, Haley committed to Stanford. And with poise and determination, she got the title. She’s about to get her degree, and before going out, she wants one more championship with the Cardinal.

She never feared failure. Not then, not now. Not even when she was a little girl.

Her parents, Monique and Patrick, were both high school basketball coaches. Haley’s introduction to basketball came on the sidelines, where she would goof around with her older brother, Cameron.

Eventually, she graduated to participating in drills and watching intently as her parents drew up plays.

Then, one summer, Monique had her team playing in a tournament. They were short on players, so she asked the opposing coach if Haley could fill in.

He looked at the little girl and asked her: “Are you sure?”

By the end of the game, Monique’s high school players were chanting, “HA-LEY, HA-LEY, HA-LEY,” as she dominated the competition.

Haley showed a natural inclination for the sport at a young age. (Courtesy of Monique Jones)

When the final whistle blew, the opposing coach approached Monique with a bewildered look on his face.

“How old did you say she was?” he asked.

Haley was 10.

It was then that Monique knew. Her little girl could handle anything.

Every day since then, Haley has approached her life, on and off the court, like she did that game: Like a 10-year-old giving buckets to a 17-year-old.

Without fear.


Haley’s childhood was centered on movement.

She had a never-ending supply of energy, so Monique and Patrick were always searching for ways to tire her out.

Monique remembers her husband researching trampolines when Haley was little. He knew it would be a good way for Haley to expend some energy, but he also wanted the safest option.

They settled on one that was enclosed, with high nets, so Haley couldn’t hurt herself. Patrick stuck it in the backyard where they could see it from the kitchen window. Then, in the evenings, they’d flip on the light and watch as Haley jumped for hours.

They also enrolled Haley in gymnastics, unaware that she would grow to be 6-foot-1, and the sport became Haley’s first passion.

But by the time she was 9, Haley already had size eight feet that barely fit on the balance beam. She knew she would have to give it up, but Haley didn’t simply quit. She went out a winner.

Haley always excelled at her tricks, but little mistakes kept her from taking first in her meets. Monique laughs when she recalls how Haley would run off the mat, forgetting to cap her routine with a salute, only to be reprimanded by her coach. She’d run back smiling, salute and run off once more.

So when it came time for her final meet, Monique expected more of the same. She and Patrick had to take Cameron to one of his many activities, so they asked Haley’s grandmother to accompany Haley to her last meet.

When it was over, Monique got a phone call from her mother-in-law. Haley had won the whole meet, then apologetically told her coaches that she would no longer be pursuing gymnastics.

“I went out as a state champion,” Haley says with a laugh.

And when her time in a leotard came to an end, Haley didn’t mourn its loss. Instead, she turned to other sports and activities: water polo, soccer, junior lifeguarding, swimming, golf, volleyball and, of course, basketball.

Patrick and Monique are high school sweethearts who met when Monique moved to California from Georgia. They both played basketball, and as their relationship progressed, so did their involvement in the sport. They worked together as high school coaches until Haley started ninth grade.

Through her parents, Haley became interested in the game on a level that transcended simply burning energy. By the time the 10-year-old was filling in during summer scrimmages, she was also a student of the game.

In the evenings, Monique and Patrick would sit at the dinner table drawing up plays, and Haley and Cameron would join. They used a specific teaching style: “Say it, see it, do it,” that allowed their kids to fully grasp whatever concept the two were working on. They taught them things like Read and React and the Princeton offense.

Then, when Haley got to basketball practice, she wanted to polish her new skills. But her parents never dumbed anything down for their kids.

“You think we are going to lower the hoop? No ma’am. There is no lower the hoop,” Monique says. “You’re strong enough, you’re going to work on this.”

Haley, pictured with her mom Monique, was full of energy as a child. (Courtesy of Monique Jones)

They practiced right-handed layups, left-handed layups, free throws, 3-pointers, dribble moves. Anything and everything that Haley could learn, she did with ferocity. And when Monique was short on players, it was always Haley she called on to fill in.

She remembers watching Haley run her team’s offense when she was in elementary school. Haley dribbled across halfcourt and proudly called out the set, her little-kid voice echoing throughout the gym.

Haley spent a lot of her time training with the high-school girls even though she couldn’t actually compete with them. At 10, she was already better than girls who were years older than her, and by middle school, Haley was well on her way to competing with USA Basketball and becoming the country’s top high school recruit.

The discrepancy between Haley’s talent and her teammates’ was obvious, but she never cared.

In middle school, Haley attended a small, Catholic school. Her eighth-grade class had 16 students — eight boys and eight girls — and in order to field a basketball team, all eight girls had to play. Some of them had never touched a basketball before.

One girl had a habit of tying her shoes while her team was in the middle of a fast break. Haley would call out to her, never in anger but with encouragement: “Come on,” she’d say, “You can do this!”

In those games, it was Haley’s mission to get every player a basket. Sometimes she’d have to grab six offensive rebounds on one possession, but to her, that was no trouble.

“She would literally be spoon-feeding her teammates under the basket,” Monique says with a laugh.

Despite appearances, Haley was already a fierce competitor. But she knew there was a time and a place for it.

Going at someone who wasn’t on her level, or screaming at teammates who’d never played basketball before didn’t make sense. Haley knew how to turn it on and off.

Unless someone tried to take advantage of one of her teammates. Then it was game on.

“If someone is trying to get their shine by taking on the complete underdog, then Haley is going to completely go after you,” Monique says.


By the time Haley was 16, every college in the country wanted her on their team. Today, positionless basketball is more commonplace in the women’s game, but back then, Haley was being heralded as one of the first truly positionless players.

At 16, she was already changing the game.

“She’s like a unicorn in women’s basketball,” says roommate and former Stanford player Jordan Hamilton. “She can play one through five, and she’s a great basketball player because she doesn’t put herself in a box.”

Nowadays, if you watch Stanford, every time a player subs in, Haley looks to the bench to find out what role she will be taking on in the current lineup. With one substitution, Haley can go from running the point to posting up inside.

If there was one word to describe Haley Jones, “versatile” might be it. And not just because of what she does on the basketball court.

Since she was little, Haley was never concerned with specializing. And even when the world was looking at her as the best basketball player in the country, Haley didn’t see herself as a basketball player.

The idea that there is more to her life than what she does on the court is freeing to Haley.

“I never get caught up in one thing,” she says. “If I play a bad game, I’m never like, ‘I need to lay in my bed for two days because I’ve got nothing.’ It’s like, OK, the ball didn’t go in. But you have practice tomorrow and you can get it together tomorrow.”

Haley says she “hates losing more than she loves winning,” but she doesn’t let losses define her. Still, there are some that have stuck with her.

There is still minor annoyance in her voice when she brings up the fact that she never won a state championship as a high school basketball player (apparently the third-grade gymnastics title wasn’t quite good enough).

And Stanford’s loss to UConn in last year’s Final Four hurts her. The Cardinal missed out on a chance to compete for another title after one of their worst shooting performances of the season resulted in a 63-58 loss. They made just 34.8% of their attempts while shooting 17.4% from the 3-point line and 61.5% from the free-throw line.

Haley uses Stanford's loss to UConn in the 2022 Final Four as motivation. (Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

Haley still remembers her interview with Holly Rowe at halftime of that game.

Addressing her as “Miss Holly,” Haley didn’t hold back.

“We just played our worst half of basketball all season and we are only down one,” she said.

Haley went into the locker room and relayed the same point to her teammates.

“I’m like, ‘Ladies, that sucked, and we are down one point. If we play 1% better, I bet we can pull it off,’” she recalls. “But they rose to the occasion and we didn’t. And that made it tough to swallow.”

There’s so much to learn from losses, Haley says.

After losing her final game in high school, she used it as motivation heading into her freshman year at Stanford. Last year’s tournament loss taught her to never let the buzzer sound on regrets.

“Personally, I felt like I had more to give, whether that had been defensive aggressiveness, diving on the ground for loose balls, playing through contact,” she says. “I felt like I had more in the tank. This season, I’m leaving it all out there.”

It’s already been a challenging season, with seven Pac-12 teams earning bids to the NCAA Tournament, setting a new record and showcasing the depth of the conference. Last year, Stanford went into March Madness after going undefeated in conference play and winning the Pac-12 tournament. This time around, Stanford dropped three games in conference (to USC, Washington and Utah) and exited the Pac-12 tournament early, with a semifinal loss to UCLA.

Coach Tara VanDerveer and Haley have similar approaches when it comes to the challenges of losing. There is more to be gained than lost in a defeat.

“I feel like we are really ready for the tournament because of the great competition in the Pac-12,” Vanderveer said during a SiriusXM radio interview on Tuesday.

The difficult conference slate created more opportunities for growth, and that’s something Haley will never shy away from.

In high school, she commuted nearly an hour from their home in Santa Cruz to Archbishop Mitty in San Jose. It was the best opportunity for her to learn and grow as a student and a player, so she took it.

When she got to Stanford, Haley latched onto the older, more experienced players. She learned everything she could from people like Anna Wilson and Nadia Fingall, both of whom she still seeks out for advice today.

Wilson taught her about hard work, perseverance and playing with passions. Fingall was the motherly figure on the team, always making sure the younger players had rides when they needed them and someone to talk to if they were homesick.

Now, Haley talks about Wilson and Fingall in the same way Haley’s teammates talk about her. And in her four years, Haley’s natural leadership skills have grown even stronger.

“She always knows what a person needs,” Hamilton says. “So if she has a teammate that needs extra study sessions, she’s going to go with her. If there is a teammate who needs to see her lead by example, you’ll see her coming out of practice with bruises from diving on the floor.”

Jones and Stanford teammate Hannah Jump (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Haley gets a lot of that from her parents, who are educators by nature and by trade. And part of teaching is learning how to approach each person. Haley uses different leadership styles depending on which teammate she’s interacting with. Some like it when she gets in their face, others need a more gentle approach. Haley is open to anything. Whatever is best for them and for the team works for her.

She is also big on feedback. If she and a teammate don’t connect on a pass during practice, there is no moving on to the next play and forgetting about it. Haley wants to know why it happened.

“Did I throw it too high? Too far? Too hard? How can we make it work next time?”

It’s never, “You messed up;” it’s, “How can we fix this together?”


A perfect day for Haley must have three things: a new food, a new activity and stimulating conversation.

Like exploring a new dumpling spot in San Francisco, and then falling on her butt while roller-skating. She’ll end the day talking to her favorite people. No small talk, though — Haley wants to know about existential crises and how people choose to exist in the world.

Her life is all about learning.

“All my hobbies revolve around me trying new things,” she says.

Lately, Haley has gotten into baking. She makes chai banana muffins and has perfected a cinnamon roll recipe so good that she says her mom stole it.

She journals at night, and her favorite part of the day is her skincare routine. In school, Haley’s favorite class is Arabic — though her mom jokes it’s just because she can say whatever she wants without her parents catching on.

Recently, Haley has started to expand the business side of her life as well.

She hosts a podcast with The Players Tribune, called “Sometimes I Hoop,” where she has guests from her friend and South Carolina player Aliyah Boston, to Monique and other basketball moms. Haley is studying communication, with the hope of going into broadcasting someday.

And like most things in her life, Haley has a talent for it.

There aren’t many things she’s bad at. Bowling comes to mind, though that’s only partly true because, according to Hamilton, Haley can get on a roll where she scores only strikes and spares.

The senior finds joy in music and associates different songs with different moments in her life. Gospel music means cleaning. That’s what played growing up when her mom knocked on Haley’s bedroom door, vacuum in hand. When she hears Stevie Wonder, Haley thinks of her dad — his music of choice during car rides to games or events.

Curating playlists for friends is one of her love languages, but singing is something she’s actually bad at.

“I’m tone deaf,” Haley says with a laugh.

But she only knows that because she’s tried it. That’s another thing about Haley. She lives without fear of failure. And that has led her to discover so many passions, and so many talents.

That’s a big reason why Haley picked Stanford.

“I’m not going to play basketball for 50 freaking years, and who would want to?” she says with a laugh. “There are so many things I’d love to do and love to try. I don’t want to get caught up in just one thing.”

Through all her new experiences, there is one thing Haley refuses to do, and that’s be disingenuous. From her “winning hair,” as she calls it— Haley wore the long, bouncy tendrils when Stanford won the title in 2021, so now she keeps it all season — to her social media accounts, Haley is proud to be authentically herself.

Haley with her NCAA championship ring
Haley and brother Cameron (Courtesy of Monique Jones)

She won’t take an NIL deal or a partnership if “the vibes are bad,” or if she gets the sense that a company just wants to use her name but doesn’t want to hear her input. And her social media strategy is the same as it was when she first created accounts in her early teens.

“I don’t curate my content,” Haley says. “For me, when I think about when I first got social media when I was in seventh or eighth grade, it was a place for me to connect with my friends and show them what I was doing. And as social media grew, I think that kind of left for a lot of people, but I’ve tried to keep it as the main reason I use it.”

She also knows that part of being a basketball player today is having a platform and using it. For Haley, that means representing young Black and biracial kids, particularly young girls. It’s a big responsibility, but one she takes great pride in.

It’s a part of her life she’s long been aware of. Patrick is white and Monique is Black, so as soon as their kids were old enough to understand, they started having conversations about race and society.

“Haley loves her dad and takes pride in her dad,” Monique says. “She embraces that she is a biracial, mixed female, but, when society looks at her, they see a Black female. And that means she has to work twice as hard.”

Haley with her family: father Patrick, mother Monique and brother Cameron (Courtesy of Monique Jones)

It also means less room for mistakes, something Haley feels every time she posts on social media.

“I understand that the way I am taken is going to impact how these young Black kids behind me are taken,” she says. “That is a big weight on my shoulders, but it’s one that I invite and embrace.”


Haley’s older brother, Cameron, has always been her fiercest supporter. When they were growing up, kids would try to make fun of him by pointing out that Haley was the athlete of the family.

He didn’t care.

“Yeah she is,” Haley remembers him saying. “And you’re jealous.”

Then, when they got to high school, none of Cameron’s friends watched girls’ basketball. He changed that quickly by bringing them to all of Haley’s games. Now, as an assistant coach at Colorado College, he hosts Stanford watch parties for his players, so they too can see the wonder that is Haley Jones on a basketball court.

Haley has always known that no matter what was going on in her life, Cameron would have her back. She may be fearless, but he’s also her safety net.

On Feb. 20, Haley celebrated Senior Night at Stanford with a signature performance, scoring 18 points, grabbing six rebounds, recording three steals and blocking a shot.

Cameron flew in from Colorado Springs for the occasion.

Haley had no idea he was coming. When she laid eyes on her brother, she started to cry.

And he wasn’t the only one who showed up for her.

Her best friend flew in from UCLA. Cameron’s friends from high school, who all grew to love Haley like their own little sister, were there, too. Even her kindergarten teacher showed up.

In total, 150 people were in the stands, just for her.

“She’s touched so many people,” Monique says.

Haley had 150 people come out to support her on Stanford's Senior Night this year. (Courtesy of Monique Jones)

In four years at Stanford, Haley has won a national title, and in the next month, she hopes to win another. She’s been a starter and a key contributor in all four seasons, doing a little bit of everything for the Cardinal.

She’s helped bring positionless basketball to the forefront of the women’s game, and in April she’s projected to be a top-five draft pick in the WNBA.

Her already long list of accomplishments is just the beginning.

There’s nothing she won’t try, and nothing she can’t do.

That’s the power of Haley Jones.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

The NCAA Tournament not only provides basketball fans with chills and thrills. March Madness also provides a sneak peek at the stars soon to join the WNBA ranks.

Just Women’s Sports analyst Rachel Galligan projected every first-round pick for the 2023 WNBA Draft in April. Based on her mock draft, here are the four potential lottery picks to watch as the NCAA Tournament gets underway.

Aliyah Boston, F, South Carolina

The consensus No. 1 pick leads the No. 1 overall seed into the tournament with her sights set on a repeat title. Boston and the Gamecocks won the national championship against UConn last year, and the undefeated Gamecocks look even stronger this time around.

While Boston’s stats have not been as strong this season, her 13.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game are nonetheless impressive — especially when considering the heavy defensive pressure the 6-foot-5 post receives from opponents.

JWS Bracket Challenge: Sign up for a chance to win $150,000!

Diamond Miller, G, Maryland

The second-seeded Terrapins lost four of their starters in the offseason, two to the transfer portal and two to graduation. But you wouldn’t know it to look at them, in large part thanks to the skill and composure of Miller, their lone holdover in the starting lineup.

The 6-3 guard is averaging 19.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.1 steals per game for Maryland, the best numbers of her career. After an injury-plagued junior season, she has looked stronger than ever in her senior season.

Rickea Jackson, F, Tennessee

The high-profile transfer had a rocky start to her Tennessee tenure, as she was benched for two games in early December due to a coach’s decision.

Since her return, though, Jackson has flourished for the fourth-seeded Volunteers. The 6-2 forward leads the team with 19.6 points per game, and she is peaking at the right time, with a 26-point double-double to lead Tennessee over LSU in the SEC tournament semifinals.

Haley Jones, G, Stanford

Jones’ value comes in her versatility. The 6-1 guard can score, she can create plays, and she can defend with the best of them. For Stanford this season, she is averaging 13.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.

The No. 1 seed in the second Seattle region, Cardinal have lost two of their last three games — to Utah in their regular-season finale and to UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals. But with Jones’ steady presence, they still have what it takes to reach the Final Four for a third consecutive season.

Stanford’s “Funky Four” seniors are gearing up for one last postseason run. They kept their momentum going Monday with a 71-66 win against Pac-12 rival UCLA.

The senior quartet has won a national championship and made two Final Four appearances in their first three seasons with the Cardinal. Their only year without a deep tournament run came in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the postseason.

They’ve won 116 games with the Cardinal, including Monday’s regular-season home finale against No. 17 UCLA. Their latest win earned them a standing ovation from the Stanford faithful in attendance at Maples Pavilion.

“They call themselves the Funky Four, I call them the Final Four or the Fabulous Four,” Tara VanDerveer said after the win. “Let’s keep it rolling.”m

Haley Jones led the senior class for No. 3 Stanford (26-3) with 18 points. Hannah Jump, Francesca Belibi and Ashten Prechtel round out the group.

“We’re trying to win a Pac-12 championship and this game was necessary to do that,” Jones said. “We had to be the aggressor.”

Junior forward Cameron Brink did her part, leading the team with 25 points. She went 15-for-15 from the free throw line, the most free throws without a miss by a Stanford player since at least 1999, according to ESPN.

Stanford has two games remaining in the regular season, against No. 21 Colorado on Thursday and against No. 8 Utah on Saturday, before moving into the postseason.