The draft is a great way for teams to pick up young tremendous talent to fill in holes for the upcoming season. This year, we have seen great players and historic performances throughout the landscape of women’s basketball. With the WNBA draft coming up on April 17 at 7pm, here are six players we think that will be selected early in the draft and six players who will be drafted late but can make an impact in the league.
Sab stays winning.
After winning the Wooden Award today, @sabrina_i20 has officially swept every national player of the year award. #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/AYLfylChOs
— GoDucks (@GoDucks) April 6, 2020
Sabrina Ionescu – Oregon – Guard
Ionescu is easily the best player in the year’s WNBA draft. She obtained back-to-back Wooden Awards while becoming the only player in all of college basketball history both men or women to end their career with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 1,000 Assists. Ionescu was predicted to be the top overall pick in last year’s draft before she decided to come back for her final season with the Ducks.
With the New York Liberty having the first pick in the draft, Ionescu also has the chance to bring life back into a franchise that has been struggling the past two years. Not only as a young star but someone who can put numbers up in any category, given from her NCAA record 26 career triple-doubles.
Megan Walker – UCONN – Forward
Walker is forgoing her final year of eligibility and declared for the 2020 WNBA Draft. There aren’t many players who are leaving school early who are projected to go high in the draft, but Walker is a different case. She is coming off an amazing year at UCONN, leading the Huskies to a 29-3 record. She led the charge scoring on the team, averaging 19.7 points per game and 8.4 rebounds. She was also efficient shooting the ball, making 48 percent of her attempts on the floor.
Her performance last year was recognized as she was a first-team All-American by the Associated Press as well as the USBWA. Seton Hall fans should also know her well as she had her season-high against the Pirates early in the 2019-20 season. As a 6’1 forward, she could be able to make an impact on the team that drafts her.
Lauren Cox – Baylor – Center
Lauren Cox was the headpiece for a Baylor team that was looking to repeat as national champions. The Big 12 Player of the Year and consensus All-American was a powerhouse for one of the top teams in the country. Despite missing seven weeks with a foot injury, Cox has remained consistent with career averages of 12 points, 7.5 rebounds and over 2 blocks a game.
Cox has a unique opportunity to come back, or in her case never leave, home. After playing high school hoops in Flower Mound Texas and illustrious career at Baylor, The Dallas Wings, who hold the second overall pick will have the chance to draft the star Center, a position that desperately needs an upgrade. While the wings also hold pick number five, there’s guarantee a player of Cox’s caliber will stay available that long.
Crystal Dangerfield from deep to cut Baylor's lead to three going into the 4Q.
Don't miss the 4th quarter live on ESPN! pic.twitter.com/3QQMcPK7M3
— espnW (@espnW) January 10, 2020
Crystal Dangerfield – UCONN – Guard
Two players from UCONN projected to be top prospects in a draft should not come as a surprise. UCONN had a great forward in Walker, and they had a great guard in Dangerfield. Dangerfield is a great scorer, averaging 15 points per game while shooting 42 percent from behind the arc. Although she can put up numbers, she is also very athletic and a great facilitator. As a junior at UCONN, she was able to get the second-most assists in a single season in the history of the Huskies program, and she finished fifth in career assists.
Her biggest concern is her size. Dangerfield stands a 5’5, so when a team picks her up in the draft, they might be sacrificing size in the backcourt. Dangerfield will compensate for her lack of size with her energy and basketball IQ.
Ruthy Hebard – Oregon – Forward
Ionescu might have stolen the show at Oregon with her tremendous abilities and skills, but WNBA teams can’t forget about her co-star, Hebard. Hebard is the Pac-12 all-time leader in career field-goal percentage, the NCAA record-holder for consecutive field goals made, Oregon’s all-time leader in career field goals made, second in points, third in rebounds, and fifth in double-doubles. The stats speak for themselves, but if you needed more, she has the accolades to back her up. A consensus First-Team All-American and the winner of the Katrina McClain Award, given to the nation’s top power forward.
Hebard has shown throughout her career starting as a freshman that she is meant for the WNBA stage. Any team that needs a power forward would be lucky to have Hebard on their team.
No doubt Tyasha Harris ( @TyHarris_52 ) sooner or later she will be a @GamecockWBB coach@SECWBB pic.twitter.com/Czqwq2Z2lr
— Antonio Garcia Tuñas (@IRUKLugo) March 8, 2020
Tyasha Harris – South Carolina – Guard
One of the highest IQ’s in the game, Harris’ true point guard styles is good enough to catch anyone’s eye. The history books speak to why Harris is a top prospect in this year’s draft. Harris is fourth in the NCAA and first in the SEC in all-time career assists, along with the most career assists in NCAA tourney games with 52, and in SEC tournament games with 37. Harris is also consistent in her game as she stands eighth all-time in consecutive starts with 49.
While she is not as heavily viewed as some of her fellow draftees, Harris’ style of play can easily be translated into the professional level. Harris’ floor general duties also helped South Carolina become one of the best teams in women’s college hoops.
Brittany Brewer – Texas Tech – Forward
Brewer was a player that blossomed in her senior year. She wrapped up last season averaging 16.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She shot above 50 percent on the season, but only 24.3 percent from behind the arc. What is impressive about Brewer’s game is her defensive presence. Brewer averaged 4.4 blocks, which was second in the NCAA behind Sara Hamson from BYU who averaged 4.7.
Brewer has the intangibles that a team could mold to become a great player. With her 6’5 frame and her instincts for the game, it may take some work, but Brewer could become a dominant player in the professional league.
Stella Johnson – Rider – Guard
While Rider University isn’t known to produce WNBA talent, Stella Johnson has been a force to be reckoned with. After averaging nearly 25 points a game, which includes her career-high 41 points, the 5-10 guard seemingly did it all for the Broncos while also averaging 6 rebounds a game and 3.5 assists in her career.
While the MAAC conference which Rider is in does not have nationally known teams like the SEC or the Big 12, Johnson has still taken full advantage of anything in her way and was prepared to take on the NCAA tournament with a full head of steam. Something that will translate in the WNBA is her efficiency, as Johnson averaged a field goal percentage of 47%.
Juicy Landrum dropped 14 threes in @BaylorWBB's win today 💦
A Baylor WBB record, Big 12 record and NCAA D-I women's record. pic.twitter.com/QMcJHKFVuT
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 19, 2019
Juicy Landrum – Baylor – Guard
If a team needs someone to stretch the floor, then Landrum is the player for that squad. Landrum made national headlines last year as she broke an NCAA record, draining 14 three-pointers in a game against Arkansas State. In that game, she shot 14-for-24, with only one shot coming from two-point range. Overall, in her career, almost half of her shot attempts have been from behind the arc, with her making 40 percent of those three-point attempts.
Landrum could get picked up late in the WNBA, but she would be an offensive spark plug for the team that drafts her.
Kaila Charles – Maryland – Guard
Kaila Charles is an all-around offensive presence. While playing for the Terrapins, she’s been able to help her team in the rebounding category, serving as one of the country’s best offensive rebounders.
While pre-season mock drafts had Charles going early in the first round, Charles slipped down into the later rounds after her scoring dropped during her senior year. That doesn’t take away that the 6-1 guard has size over other players at her same position and is capable of scoring from anywhere. Defensively, Charles was close to tallying a career-high in steals before the haulted season left her just two shy from hitting the mark.
Haley Gorecki capped off her Duke career with another monster year, earning First Team All-ACC and All-ACC Defensive team honors! 😈🔥
Full Highlights: https://t.co/xiG5WesQrI#ACCWBB pic.twitter.com/TQULx7MD4O
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) April 7, 2020
Haley Gorecki – Duke – Guard
Gorecki is a graduate student for Duke that burst on the scene late in her career. Her freshman and sophomore year, she dealt with injuries that made her see limited action but in her senior and graduate year, she began to show that she could be a pro player. As a graduate student, she was named to the USBWA Third Team All-America list and was an honorable mention to the AP All-America list. Gorecki is also an all-around player, being the first player in Duke’s history to average 17.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in back-to-back seasons, and was also named to the All-ACC Defensive team.
A minor concern for Gorecki could be her health, as she did miss major time in the 2015-16 season and 2017-18 season with hip injuries and couldn’t attend the 2019 U.S. Pan American Games because of an injury. If she’s able to stay healthy and continue to grow her game like she did in college, then she will be a great player in the WNBA.
Chante Stonewall – DePaul – Forward
When referring to the reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year, you could say the way she defends is similar to a brick wall. Stonewall averaged a total of 2.2 steals and 5.6 rebounds for one of the best teams in the country. Playing in her home state of Illinois she was able to lead the DePaul Blue Demons to three straight Big East Tournament Championship titles.
Aside from her defense, Stonewall played a huge role in an offense that saw 10 out of 14 players who appeared in games shoot over 40% from the field. Stonewall averaged a team-high 17.4 points for the nation’s second-highest scoring team last year while shooting 44.6 percent from the floor. If there’s anything true to Stonewall’s game, it’s that she is capable of being a star on either side of the ball.
Regardless of what round these players might get drafted, the start of their season will be pushed back. In a statement released by the WNBA, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced the start of the season would be postponed due to the on-going battle against COVID-19. The WNBA draft will still take place on its scheduled date, but done virtually. Regardless, after an intense college basketball season, every team will have the chance a potential star to their roster. The WNBA draft is scheduled for April 17th at 7 p.m ET.
WNBA Statement Regarding Start of 2020 Regular Season pic.twitter.com/5LZe5tpTai
— WNBA (@WNBA) April 3, 2020
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