Cameron Brink already has her rookie of the year pick for the upcoming WNBA season, and it’s Indiana-bound star Caitlin Clark

In the latest edition of Kelley on the Street, host Kelley O'Hara caught up with Brink in New York hours before the Stanford phenom went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2024 WNBA Draft. When O’Hara asked who would win the WNBA's rookie of the year, she answered without pause.

"Caitlin Clark," she said, while a fan commented that she thought Brink would take home the award. Brink later added that the extra foul granted to WNBA players will be "good for me."

"I hope it’s me," Charisma Osborne, who was later drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, said when asked her ROY prediction. "But, I don’t know — we’ll see."

Watch more of Kelley on the Street:

Caitlin Clark is officially a member of the Indiana Fever, with the Iowa superstar going No. 1 overall in the WNBA draft on Monday night. 

Clark has been the consensus top pick since declaring for the draft on February 29, a few weeks before the onset of Women's March Madness. But for her, the call up was still full of emotions. 

"When you're just sitting at a table waiting for your name to be called, that really allows the emotions to feed you," Clark said. "You're with your family — obviously, playing a basketball game, I'm not out there with my family — so sharing that moment with them and enjoying it, and people that have really had my back and believed in me more than anyone, is super special."

Clark wasn't the only one pausing to take in the moment. As fans and commentators noted during the broadcast, it took a little more time than usual for Indiana to announce their pick — Fever GM Lin Dunn later told the media that she spent 15 to 20 seconds ensuring Clark's card adhered perfectly to league regulations before handing it over. She didn't want anything to get in between her team and a player she calls a "perfect fit."

"She's from the Big Ten, the Midwest — is there any place better for her than Indianapolis, Indiana?" Dunn said. "I think this is the beginning of us getting back on track to win another championship."

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Clark echoed the sentiment.

"That's definitely our goal, is to get back to championship habits," Clark said. "For myself, I can't imagine a more perfect fit, a better place for me to start my professional career, an organization that really just believes in women's basketball and wants to do everything the right way. So I couldn't be more excited to get there."

She’s also particularly excited about linking up with former collegiate rival Aliyah Boston.

"Going to an organization that has, in my eyes, one of the best post players in the entire world, my point guard eyes just light up at that," Clark said of the former South Carolina star. "She's going to make my life easy."

Clark's four-year contract with the Indiana Fever has been reported at $338,000. Kicking off at the league's guaranteed first-year base salary of $76,535, it jumps to $97,582 by 2027.

In the hour following Indiana's official pick, sporting goods brand Fanatics sold out of the superstar player's No. 22 Fever jersey in nearly every available size. Each jersey retails for $99.99.

The Phoenix Mercury’s playoff streak has come to an end, and now it’s time for the franchise to look to the future. The team’s run of 10 consecutive postseason appearances officially ended with a loss to the Dallas Wings on Sunday, though the outcome was expected for much of the season.

Phoenix lost 10 of 12 games to start the season before parting ways with head coach Vanessa Nygaard in late June. They battled injuries, and All-Star Brittney Griner missed several games on mental health leave stemming from her 10-month detainment in Russia last year. Meanwhile, veteran guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who had a career-best season in 2022-23, has been out on maternity leave.

The cards were stacked against the Mercury from the start, and they couldn’t overcome the bevy of challenges.

Interim head coach Nikki Blue said Sunday that her team would focus on winning their remaining games, despite being out of the playoffs but in the running for the top pick in the draft lottery. She also admitted that the team did not live up to the standard previously set in Phoenix.

After falling to the Atlanta Dream 94-76 on Tuesday, the Mercury have games against Connecticut, Minnesota and Washington before closing their season with two contests against first-place Las Vegas.

“It was a season that was not ideal,” said Blue, who served as an assistant coach before assuming the interim role.

Phoenix has also struggled with off-court issues this season surrounding Diggins-Smith. The six-time WNBA All-Star averaged 19.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game for the Mercury last season after helping them reach the Finals in 2021. But in 2022, Nygaard attempted to downplay rising tensions between her and Diggins-Smith over comments she made around the All-Star Game. And during a game, Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi had to be separated during a heated exchange on the bench.

This year, in early August, Diggins-Smith expressed concerns with how the Mercury have managed her maternity leave. Her comments on social media came in response to a fan who questioned why the Mercury did not wish Diggins-Smith a happy birthday on their social media accounts.

“They’re not gonna acknowledge me this year and it’s OK guys,” Diggins-Smith wrote. “We’re not affiliated unless it’s the checks….per management. I can’t even use the practice facility or any resources.”

Diggins-Smith, who gave birth to her second child earlier this year, later clarified that “resources” includes “massage therapists, chiropractor, chefs, strength and conditioning, and nutritionists.”

The Notre Dame product will be a free agent in 2024, and the recent events make it hard to envision her re-signing with Phoenix.

Meanwhile, future Hall of Famer Diana Taurasi became the first player in WNBA history to reach 10,000 career points this season. She is nearing the end of her career, though she has a year left on her contract with Phoenix and remains tight-lipped about a potential retirement.

Taurasi has been the center of Phoenix’s offense since she was drafted by the franchise in 2004. The 41-year-old is being paid $234,936 this season and next, before becoming a free agent in 2025.

The Mercury need to start looking toward the future, especially if they want to capitalize on Griner’s resurgence. She helped Phoenix to a WNBA title in 2014, and the 32-year-old can serve as a centerpiece for several more seasons if the Mercury surround her with talent.

Phoenix will be one of four teams in the lottery with a chance at earning the rights to the top draft pick in 2024, where they could select Caitlin Clark, Paige Bueckers, Cameron Brink, Angel Reese or another top college prospect. Despite being at the top of mock draft boards, all four players could come back for a fifth season due to an eligibility rule stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, which canceled their freshman seasons.

But before Phoenix turns to the draft, the organization needs to decide if Blue is the coach for the job. The former UCLA player was an assistant coach for four college programs between 2008 and 2022 before joining the Mercury staff last season.

“I hope that they’ve seen the transition that our team has made in the time that I’ve been head coach,” Blue told reporters on Sunday. “Once we get a full roster, I would like to see what we can do with that.”

Phoenix has gone 7-16 since Blue took over.

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

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.

The 2023 WNBA Draft is here, with a stacked draft class. Among the top prospects is South Carolina star Aliyah Boston, who went to the Indiana Fever with the No. 1 overall pick. 

Could Boston be what the Indiana Fever need to get back into playoff contention?

“She is exactly what the Fever needs,” Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said recently. “Whatever challenges that the Fever have had in the past, there are things with Aliyah they will never have to worry about. Like coming in with an incredible example of what a professional should look like, even as a rookie. She will elevate even their most veteran player.”

The 6-5 forward has the ability to both lead an offense and to excel on defense.

The two-time reigning Naismith Defender of the Year, Boston also was the consensus national player of the year and the Final Four’s most outstanding player in 2022. She helped lead South Carolina to its second national title in program history and, alongside the rest of her class, cemented South Carolina amongst the elites. 

If there’s an award to win, odds are Boston has won it. 

While her share of the Gamecocks’ offense dropped to just 21% this season, better spacing in the WNBA means that she should be better offensively. According to ESPN, Boston was double-teamed on 23% of her post-up opportunities in her senior season. Normally, players face a hard double-team just 17% of the time.

And of course, more often than not, teams are triple-teaming Boston. But that should not hold true in the WNBA, where each team has more offensive firepower at its disposal.

Defensively, Boston could help get Indiana back among the league’s elite. She’s led the nation in defensive rating in the last two seasons, and she has finished among the top three in all four of her seasons at South Carolina.

“I think we lost a little bit of our identity when ‘Catch’ retired because we were always a great defensive team,” Fever general manager Lin Dunn told Sports Illustrated, referring to Tamika Catchings. “We always valued defense. We were always one of the top three or four [teams] in the league in defensive statistics. That went away. That is a piece of our identity that must come back, that must be reinforced.”

If that’s the case, then the decision to pick Boston at No. 1 overall must have been a no-brainer.

The 2023 WNBA Draft, held Monday night in New York City, brought one sure bet in No. 1 overall pick Aliyah Boston. But the three rounds featured plenty of steals and surprises as well.

Just Women’s Sports tracked every pick from every team, and the JWS Twitter account provided live coverage from the draft floor.

First round

1. Indiana Fever: Aliyah Boston, F, South Carolina

The projected No. 1 pick in all three of our mock drafts since last November, her selection did not come as a shock. She helped lead the Gamecocks to a national championship as a junior, and she averaged 13.0 points and 9.8 rebounds as a senior.

2. Minnesota Lynx: Diamond Miller, G, Maryland

Another player who solidified her spot well before draft night, the 6-3 guard scored 19.7 points per game as the lone returning starter for the Terps this season. She finished her college career as a three-time All-Big Ten selection.

3. Dallas Wings: Maddy Siegrist, F, Villanova

The leading scorer in the country with 29.2 points per game, Siegrist offers a dynamic presence on offense — and a career shooting percentage of 34.9% from beyond the arc.

4. Dallas Wings (via trade): Stephanie Soares, F/C, Iowa State

The Washington Mystics traded the draft rights for Soares to the Wings in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick and a 2025 first-round pick.

While she only played 13 games at the NCAA level before tearing her ACL, the two-time NAIA Player of the Year brings a complete game, averaging a near-double-double in her short career with the Cyclones. And while her injury will keep her out for the 2023 season, the Wings are willing to wait for her.

5. Dallas Wings: Lou Lopez Sénéchal, G/F, UConn

In her one season with the Huskies after transferring from Fairfield, she averaged 15.5 points per game and shooting 44% from 3-point range.

“I’m ready for this next dream,” Lopez Sénéchal said ahead of the draft. “I always say there’s never a perfect path, a perfect way. There’s your way.”

6. Atlanta Dream: Haley Jones, G, Stanford

Former Stanford basketball player Jordan Hamilton declared Jones a “unicorn” for her positionless skill set. She averaged a career-best four assists this season for the Cardinal, and she is a talented defender as well.

7. Indiana Fever: Grace Berger, G, Indiana

The 6-0 guard became the first-ever Hoosiers player selected in the first round, and she heads back to Indiana to pursue her WNBA dreams. She averaged 5.8 assists per game and shot 40.7 percent from 3-point range this season.

8. Atlanta Dream: Laeticia Amihere, F, South Carolina

A 6-4 forward with a 6-10 wingspan, Amihere underlines the theme of the draft: versatility. She only started four games in her entire college career, and she averaged 7.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game this season as part of a deep Gamecocks roster, but her selfless play and defensive prowess proved enticing for the Dream.

9. Seattle Storm: Jordan Horston, G, Tennessee

As a senior, Horston contributed 15.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for the Lady Vols. For her career, she averaged 12.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

10. Los Angeles Sparks: Zia Cooke, G, South Carolina

The 5-9 guard shot a career-best 40.5% from the field as a senior, averaging 15.4 points per game. She brings a steady hand at point guard to the Sparks.

11. Dallas Wings: Abby Meyers, G, Maryland

After transferring from Princeton, the 6-0 guard averaged 12.5 points and 4.3 rebounds for Maryland in her one season in College Park. She also hit 38.8% of her 3-pointers. Still, her selection in the first round is a bit of a surprise.

12. Minnesota Lynx: Maia Hirsch, F, France

While the 19-year-old is not expected to play in the WNBA this season, she represents an investment in Minnesota’s future.

Second round

13. Indiana Fever: Taylor Mikesell, G, Ohio State
14. Los Angeles Sparks: Shaneice Swain, G, Australia
15. Atlanta Dream: Leigha Brown, G, Michigan
16. Minnesota Lynx: Dorka Juhász, F, UConn
17. Indiana Fever: LaDazhia Williams, F, LSU
18. Seattle Storm: Madi Williams, F, Oklahoma
19. Dallas Wings: Ashley Joens, F, Iowa State
20. Washington Mystics: Elena Tsineke, G, South Florida
21. Seattle Storm: Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, F, South Florida
22. Connecticut Sun: Alexis Morris, G, LSU
23. Chicago Sky: Kayana Traylor, G, Virginia Tech
24. Minnesota Lynx: Brea Beal, G, South Carolina

Third round

25. Indiana Fever: Victaria Saxton, F, South Carolina
26. Los Angeles Sparks: Monika Czinano, F, Iowa
27. Phoenix Mercury: Destiny Harden, F, Miami
28. Minnesota Lynx: Taylor Soule, F, Virginia Tech
29. Phoenix Mercury: Kadi Sissoko, F, USC
30. New York Liberty: Okako Adika, G, USC
31. Dallas Wings: Paige Robinson, G, Illinois State
32. Washington Mystics: Txell Alarcon, G, Spain
33. Seattle Storm: Jade Loville, G, Arizona
34. Connecticut Sun: Ashten Prechtel, F, Stanford
35. Chicago Sky: Kseniya Malashka, F, Middle Tennessee State
36. Las Vegas Aces: Brittany Davis, G, Alabama

Read more:

Some days, Lou Lopez Sénéchal can’t believe the journey she’s taken to get to this point in her career. She started as an overlooked prospect from overseas, wound up at a mid-major, then became one of the players that the UConn Huskies relied on the most.

And now, she’s got a shot at the WNBA. 

“It’s going to hit me later,” Lopez Sénéchal told ESPN. “There’s so many things [that have happened] this year it’s almost like you don’t have time to sit back and think about what actually happened here.

“[This was] one of the best years of my life here, and all the people that I’ve met and all the memories that I’ve created and all the experiences I’ve had … I think that really takes over all the little negative things.”

During that year, Lopez Sénéchal turned herself into a projected first-round draft pick (Just Women’s Sports currently places her at No. 10 overall, going to the Los Angeles Sparks), averaging 15.5 points per game and shooting 44% from beyond the arc. If you ask UConn coach Geno Auriemma, Lopez Sénéchal is “going to make a great pro for somebody.”

“I always think the later you go in the draft, the better team you get to play on,” he told ESPN. “People all want to be the No. 1 pick or No. 2 pick or No. 3 pick. Good. You’re going to a team that can’t win and you’re expected to do all the things to help them win. For some people, that’s great. I like to think that for players like Lou, if she gets on a really good team, she’s going to make a difference, 100 percent.”

Other basketball analysts, including LaChina Robinson, have seen the skills Lopez Sénéchal possesses and thinks they can translate to the next level. 

“I’m really high on Lou Lopez Sénéchal,” Robinson said. “Big wing, can really shoot this three, can drive, has a lot of toughness, you know, can come off screens and make decisions, got mid range pull up off the bounce. And size matters, at 6-foot-1 to be able to play that wing position, so I think a lot of teams are very interested in her. I can see her going anywhere from late first round to early second.”

For her part, while Lopez Sénéchal “can’t believe” how far she’s come, she’s ready for whatever comes next.

“I’m ready for this next dream,” Lopez Sénéchal says. “I always say there’s never a perfect path, a perfect way. There’s your way.”

LSU cut down the nets at the end of March Madness, but the games also gave us smaller, individual victories as players improved their WNBA draft stock throughout the NCAA Tournament.

As WNBA teams prepare to make their selections Monday night in New York City, here are four players who could move up the draft board thanks to their tournament performances.

Alexis Morris, PG, LSU

The biggest knock on Morris’ game is that she is undersized at 5-foot-6. But in March, the point guard led her team to a national championship and proved she can match up with bigger guards along the way.

“She played well throughout the tournament, and at times she carried LSU,” Atlanta Dream coach Tanisha Wright said on a pre-draft media call Thursday. Wright’s Dream have two picks in the first round Monday night, including the No. 6 selection.

“She is somebody who got significantly better throughout the season.”

Morris stepped up when LSU needed her most, finishing with 15 points, seven assists and four rebounds to help the Tigers escape Utah in the Sweet 16. She then scored 27 points against Virginia Tech in the Final Four, and finished with 21 points and nine assists as LSU topped Iowa in the championship game.

Another stat that WNBA coaches and executives will love: Morris had a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio throughout the tournament. She’s a reliable decision-maker who excels in the midrange after she beats defenders off the dribble.

Zia Cooke, G, South Carolina

Playing for a team as stacked as South Carolina was this season, it can be hard to excel, but Cooke managed the feat throughout her career and particularly during the Gamecocks’ March Madness run this year. She finished with 18 points and eight rebounds to help the Gamecocks advance past Maryland in the Elite Eight.

In a disappointing loss to Iowa in the Final Four, Cooke kept her team in the game, finishing with 24 points and eight rebounds. Iowa packed the paint and made it difficult for the South Carolina guards to attack, but Cooke was able to navigate the defense, a feat that didn’t go unnoticed by WNBA coaches and executives.

“In the last month and a half, she really showed up for them and progressed through the tournament as well,” Wright said.

Jordan Horston, G, Tennessee

Horston was already an attractive prospect to WNBA teams because of her build. At 6-2, the guard is long and athletic, making her an asset on both ends of the floor. Tennessee clearly felt her absence due to injury during last year’s NCAA Tournament, and this time around, her importance to the Vols was on full display.

She led Tennessee to a Sweet 16 with three complete performances. In the first round, Horston had 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. She followed that up with 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals against Toledo, in a game where she only logged 18 minutes. Horston was solid once more during Tennessee’s Sweet 16 loss to Virginia Tech, registering 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.

(Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

While she’ll need to clean up her turnovers, after averaging 4.5 per game this season and committing seven in the Sweet 16, Horston’s ability to impact the game in multiple ways is a good sign for her future in a league that values versatility.

“She demonstrated that she will be a really great fit for whatever team drafts her,” said Dallas Wings president Greg Bibb.

Monika Czinano, F, Iowa

Iowa’s fifth-year post player doesn’t necessarily fit today’s mold of a WNBA player. There is less room for traditional, back-to-the-basket post players as the WNBA moves toward positionless basketball, but Czinano has the potential to make an impact because her specialized skills are elite. She doesn’t do a little bit of everything, but she excels at her strengths.

“I’m a big Monika fan,” said Indiana Fever GM Lin Dunn. “She has no fear, she’s physical, strong, and high energy. The only thing for Monika is she needs to get selected by the right team.”

Czinano was one of the most efficient players in college basketball this season, shooting 67.4 percent from the field. She maintained that efficiency against top competition, including when matched up against 6-5 Aliyah Boston and 6-7 Kamilla Cardoso from South Carolina. Czinano had 18 points in their Final Four matchup, going 6-for-8 from the field and 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

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

The 2023 WNBA Draft is almost here, with some of the nation’s top college stars available.

Just Women’s Sports breaks down everything you need to know ahead of the big event.

When is it?

The 2023 WNBA Draft is set for 7 p.m. ET Monday, April 10, in New York City.

Where can I watch the draft?

All three rounds of the draft will air on ESPN and ESPN+.

Who are the names to know?

Aliyah Boston, South Carolina

  • Boston is one of four Gamecocks players who you should keep your eyes on heading into the draft. The presumptive No. 1 pick, the 6-5 forward swept the national player of the year awards in 2022 and finished as the runner-up for those awards in 2023.

Stephanie Soares, Iowa State

  • WNBA GMs reportedly like what they see in Soares, who was one of Iowa State’s best players before tearing her ACL in early January. After making the jump from the NAIA, Soares averaged 14.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game through 13 games. Just Women’s Sports’ Rachel Galligan even dubbed Soares as a potential “unicorn” based on her abilities to have a long WNBA career.

Maddy Siegrist, Villanova

  • Siegrist played her way into a first-round pick this season, having a career-best year while leading the nation in scoring with 29.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. She became the Big East’s all-time leading scorer and she broke a record held by Kelsey Plum, scoring at least 20 points in every single game this season.

Diamond Miller, Maryland

  • The 6-3 guard has a ton of upside, having dominated all season long with a team-leading 19.7 points per game. She also has range on the perimeter, and she is an outstanding rebounder that could help lift any team to new heights.

What is the draft order?

First round

  • 1. Indiana Fever
  • 2. Minnesota Lynx
  • 3. Dallas Wings
  • 4. Washington Mystics
  • 5. Dallas Wings
  • 6. Atlanta Dream
  • 7. Indiana Fever
  • 8. Atlanta Dream
  • 9. Seattle Storm
  • 10. Los Angeles Sparks
  • 11. Dallas Wing
  • 12. Minnesota Lynx

Second round

  • 13. Indiana Fever
  • 14. Los Angeles Sparks
  • 15. Atlanta Dream
  • 16. Minnesota Lynx
  • 17. Indiana Fever
  • 18. Seattle Storm
  • 19. Dallas Wings
  • 20. Washington Mystics
  • 21. Seattle Storm
  • 22. Connecticut Sun
  • 23. Chicago Sky
  • 24. Minnesota Lynx

Third round

  • 25. Indiana Fever
  • 26. Los Angeles Sparks
  • 27. Phoenix Mercury
  • 28. Minnesota Lynx
  • 29. Phoenix Mercury
  • 30. New York Liberty
  • 31. Dallas Wings
  • 32. Washington Mystics
  • 33. Seattle Storm
  • 34. Connecticut Sun
  • 35. Chicago Sky
  • 36. Las Vegas Aces

UCLA senior guard Charisma Osborne is forgoing the 2023 WNBA Draft, electing instead to use her extra year of NCAA eligibility.

As a WNBA coach told Osborne and UCLA coach Cori Close, the decision could be a smart move.

To provide her players with the best possible advice about their futures, Close frequently touches base with WNBA coaches. One coach offered Close and Osborne a stark assessment about life in the professional league, the New York Times reported Sunday.

“Does Charisma want to make more money and stay in college and get massages, fly charter, have everything paid for, have a nutritionist and have her own trainers that are paid for?” Close said, quoting the coach. “Or does she want to have none of those things and fly Southwest with us?”

The latter scenario would hold true only if Osborne made the cut for a WNBA roster. The 12-team league is facing a roster crunch, with just 36 draft picks and 144 roster spots but more than 80 players on the draft entry list.

“We have all these people growing and mastering their craft, with no place to go in the United States,” Close said. “It’s just really sad that those are the conversations we’re having to have with our league and our college game being so healthy and vibrant and growing.”

Osborne had declared for the draft after UCLA’s Sweet 16 exit from the NCAA Tournament, but the 5-9 point guard has withdrawn her name. The WNBA Draft will be held at 7 p.m. ET on Monday in New York, and if draft entrants choose to withdraw, they must do so at least five days before (so, by Thursday).

Los Angeles Sparks guard Lexie Brown pushed back against some of the criticism of the WNBA, tweeting Tuesday: “Y’all really think we don’t have massage therapists, trainers, and nutritionists?”

Still, future top draft picks are weighing their options, including Iowa junior Caitlin Clark and UConn junior Paige Bueckers. Most of this season’s juniors and seniors have the option to use the extra year of eligibility granted to college athletes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tennessee senior Tamari Key laid out reasons players might choose to stay after she and her teammate Rickea Jackson opted to return for another season with the Lady Vols. Among them was the name, image and likeness policy, which opens up NIL deals to students.

Key also mentioned chartered flights, which have been a sticking point for WNBA players over the last few seasons.

“I’m not speaking for everyone when I say this, but I’m sure if you asked collegiate women’s basketball players that are staying an extra year, you would probably get an answer similar to any of these,” she wrote.