NaLyssa Smith delivered a record-breaking performance in the Athletes Unlimited (AU) season finale on Saturday to be crowned 2023 champion. Smith, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft, dropped 50 points (a new AU single-game record) to secure her place at the top of the leaderboard.

Competing in the second ever Athletes Unlimited basketball season, the Indiana Fever forward also set records for most rebounds in a season (184), most double-doubles in a season (12), and most leaderboard points in a single game (863, achieved during Saturday’s season finale).

“Every team I was on, they were so supportive of me. They helped me achieve every goal I wanted this year … I’ve been in second in everything… just winning this it means everything,” Smith said in an AU release.

2023 Athletes Unlimited Basketball — Top 10 Athletes

  1. NaLyssa Smith
  2. Naz Hillmon
  3. Odyssey Sims
  4. Allisha Gray
  5. Jordin Canada
  6. Isabelle Harrison
  7. Crystal Bradford
  8. Lexie Hull
  9. Kelsey Mitchell
  10. Kierstan Bell

Stanford women’s basketball star Cameron Brink is eligible for the 2023 WNBA Draft, but she plans to return for her senior season with the Cardinal, she said Tuesday.

The WNBA requires U.S. players to turn 22 years old in the calendar year of the draft. Brink, who was born on Dec. 31, 2001, makes the cut for the 2023 draft by a single day.

But as she enters her junior season, she is in no rush to leave her college years behind her, she told reporter Alex Simon of the Mercury News.

“It’s fun, college is fun,” she said. “Why not stay?”

The 6-foot-4 forward from Beaverton, Ore., helped Stanford win the NCAA championship as a freshman.

The Cardinal made a repeat run to the Final Four in her sophomore season but fell to UConn. Brink, though, stepped up her game, leading the team with 13.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game as a sophomore.

The 2022 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year excelled on that end of the floor, including six blocks in the team’s Elite Eight win over Texas. She ranked sixth in the NCAA with 91 blocks for the season.

The Cardinal will look to her as an anchor again this season — and likely for the next one, too, as she continues to savor her experience at Stanford.

“I think I want to stay just because I want to just continue to be a kid,” she said. “Finish my degree in four years, not rush myself.”

Brink boasts more than 208,000 Instagram followers, a valuable commodity in the new NIL era of college sports. She has posted ads for Netflix, Urban Outfitters and other brands on her account, and the sponsorship opportunities could contribute to her decision to stay put.

Remaining at Stanford for the 2023-24 season would set Brink up to join the already crowded 2024 WNBA draft class, which looks set to include UConn’s Paige Bueckers (who also stated her intent to return for her senior season), Caitlin Clark, Hailey Van Lith, Angel Reese and Diamond Johnson.

NaLyssa Smith is teaming up with Puma. The brand announced the signing of the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA draft Friday.

Since she was selected by the Indiana Fever, Smith has had a great start to her rookie campaign. Through five games, the forward is averaging 13.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Puma Hoops family and to rock Puma both on and off the court,” Smith said in a statement. “Puma’s dedication to being a champion for women athletes along with being disruptive in the basketball sneaker space mixing sport innovation with style made this a perfect fit for me.

“I couldn’t be more excited to start my rookie season being part of such an iconic brand and joining an incredible roster of Puma Hoops athletes.”

A graduate of Baylor, Smith won an NCAA championship with the Bears in 2019.

Her signing signals a continued commitment by PUMA to push women’s sports forward. In December 2021, the brand launched a basketball-inspired lifestyle collection called Puma High Court.

Smith joins a Puma roster that includes WNBA stars Breanna Stewart, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Katie Lou Samuelson. In March, the brand announced an expanded “She Moves Us” campaign that includes Diggins-Smith and Stewart.

The Indiana Fever defeated the New York Liberty 92-86 in an overtime thriller Friday night, with four Fever starters finishing in the double figures.

Kelsey Mitchell led Indiana in points with 24, while Victoria Vivians notched 20 points behind 45.5 percent shooting from the field.

NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo crashed the boards for the Fever, with the rookies combining for 31 rebounds. Their combined effort marked the first time in league history where two rookies on the same team each had over 14 boards.

As a team, the Fever outrebounded the Liberty 57 to 33, helping to counter Sabrina Ionescu’s dominant performance.

The Liberty guard recorded a game-high 31 points behind 55 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Ionescu’s red-hot night, however, wasn’t enough to hold off Indiana down the stretch.

Following Friday’s victory, the Fever improved to 2-2 on the season, while the Liberty fell to 1-2.

With the second pick in the 2022 WNBA draft, the Indiana Fever selected NaLyssa Smith out of Baylor.

Smith is the first of four first-round picks that the Fever hold. She was also the consensus selection for the second pick of the draft by multiple draft boards.

The forward won the Katrina McClain Award as the country’s best power forward and was named Big 12 player of the year after averaging 22.1 points and 11.5 rebounds per game this season.

“I’m coming in hungry. I can’t wait to come to this program and make a difference,” she said on ESPN.

Twelve prospects have been invited to the 2022 WNBA draft, which will take place on Monday, April 11 in New York City.

The list is headlined by Ole Miss’ Shakira Austin, Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith. For the first time since 2019, the event will be held in person with the iconic WNBA “Orange Carpet.”

Ahead of the draft, ESPN2 will air – for the first time ever – the “WNBA Draft Preview Show,” hosted by LaChina Robinson and featuring analyst Rebecca Lobo, on April 9. The two will break down the top prospects in the draft, discuss what each team needs and who is trending upward following the NCAA tournament.

By way of a trade with the Washington Mystics, the Atlanta Dream now own the top pick in the draft. Elsewhere the Indiana Fever have picks No. 2, 4, 6, and 10 overall and could become the first team in WNBA history to take four players in the first round.

Other players invited who will be in attendance are Kierstan Bell (FGCU), Rae Burrell (Tennessee), Veronica Burton (Northwestern), Nia Clouden (Michigan State), Elissa Cunane (NC State), Emily Engstler (Louisville), Destanni Henderson (South Carolina), Naz Hillmon (Michigan) and Nyara Sabally (Oregon).

The fifth-ranked Baylor Bears took down No. 8 Iowa State on Monday 87-62, clinching at least a share of their 12th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title.

It’s the first for head coach Nicki Collen, who replaced former coach Kim Mulkey this season after Mulkey left for LSU following 21 seasons with the Bears. Collen is 24-5 in her first season with Baylor.

A win over Texas Tech on Sunday, or an Iowa State loss on Saturday, would clinch the title outright for the Bears.

Baylor shot 51.5 percent to the Cyclones’ 35.7 percent during Monday’s matchup. They were also more efficient from 3-point range, shooting 8-for-21 while Iowa State was 4-for-22 from beyond the arc. The 25-point win was the largest margin of victory in a top-10 matchup this season.

Projected No. 1-overall pick in the upcoming WNBA Draft, NaLyssa Smith led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting and a career-high 20 rebounds. She is just the second DI women’s player in the past 20 seasons to have at least 25 points and 20 rebounds in a top-10 matchup, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Former No. 1 pick and Stanford standout Chiney Ogwumike scored 32 points and added 20 rebounds in a 2013 matchup between Stanford and Tennessee.

Four other Bears scored in double-digits, with Jordan Lewis contributing 23 points and six assists while Caitlin Bickle added 13 points. Ja’Mee Asberry and Queen Egbo each had 10 points.

Ashley Joens had 19 points and five rebounds for the Cyclones through 33 minutes before fouling out. Emily Ryan was the only other Iowa State player in double-digits with 10 points.

Iowa State next plays West Virginia on Saturday while Baylor will face Texas Tech on Sunday to close out the regular season.