By insidr Staff
This year’s draft is one for the history books. Our staff put on the GM cap as we ran through our mock draft.
#1. Las Vegas Aces-Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State Center, 6’7 (Pat Ralph )
To call McCowan a consolation prize in the wake of Sabrina Ionescu’s decision is the gravest of disservices. McCown ends her career as one of the most dominant players in SEC history, her senior game logs clogged with double figures. She missed out on a double-double in only four games this season. In postseason play (SEC and NCAA tournaments), she averaged 23 points and 14 rebounds per game.
#2. New York Liberty-Asia Durr, Louisville Guard, 5’10 (Geoff Magliocchetti)
Earlier this offseason, Liberty head coach Katie Smith expressed a desire to add a playmaking guard, a title she made a Hall-of-Fame career of. To call Durr a playmaker could be the understatement of the draft. A two-time ACC Player of the Year, the Cardinals won 123 games during her tenure, a program record. Her 2,485 points rank only behind Angel McCoughtry.
#3. Indiana Fever-Kalani Brown, Baylor Center, 6’7 (Aryeh Schwartz)
Coming off the worst record in franchise history, the Fever are in desperate need of an interior post game. Their rebound percentage was tied for last in the league, and their 33 rebounds per game ranked ninth. Newly minted national champion Brown can fill that need immediately. Her magnum opus came in the championship finale, earning a game-high 13 rebounds, which came up crucial when interior teammate Lauren Cox was lost to an injury.
#4. Chicago Sky-Napheesa Collier, Connecticut Forward, 6’2 (Edwin Garcia )
If Chicago is looking for a best player available type of pick, Collier is an intriguing way to go. Over her time in Storrs, Collier transformed herself into a vital two-way player. Her offensive exploits were well known, but her prescience on defense helped spark a Final Four run for the Huskies. The Sky were by far the most porous team in the league last season, letting up over 90 points a game
#5. Dallas Wings-Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame Guard, 5’8 (Dorothy J. Gentry)
Dallas is expected to be miss Skylar Diggins-Smith for the a full season due to maternity leave. The absence of one South Bend guard could be filled by another. Best known for her clutch performance in the 2018 National Champion, Ogunbowale departs as the all-time leading scorer in Notre Dame history. Adding to her impressive resume is an appearance in the 26th season of Dancing with the Stars, in which she placed seventh.
#6. Minnesota Lynx-Jackie Young, Notre Dame Guard, 6’0 (Justin Carter)
An underclassman making the WNBA plunge, Young proved she was more than ready for the challenge during the postseason. She averaged a double-double during the ACC Tournament, en route to MVP honors. It’s hard to believe Young is one of the younger members of this draft, as her shot selection led to a 54 percent mark from the field, and her basketball IQ has been another strong topic of discussion.
#7. Los Angeles Sparks-Katie Lou Samuelson, Connecticut Guard, 6’3 (John W. Davis)
The Sparks’ 78.9 scoring average was the worst among 2018 playoff teams. Samuelson, she of 18.5 points per game, provides that instant spark. A two-time AAC Player of the Year, Samuelson made history in January, as she became the 10th player in UConn history to reach the 2,000-point plateau
#8. Phoenix Mercury-Kristine Anigwe, California Forward/Center, 6’4 (Grant Afseth)
Anigwe’s prowess hit historic proportions in her final Berkeley season. A four-time All-American, she became the first Division I player in over three decades to average 22 points and 16 rebounds, and departed with a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award in tow.
#9. Connecticut Sun-Alanna Smith, Stanford Forward, 6’4 (Olivier Jean-Charles)
Not to be outdone by her Pac-12 competition, the Australian transplant Smith earned a career-high 19.4 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Cardinal. Smith also has the advantage of playing with and against her future WNBA sisters in the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Tenerife, averaging 6.3 points for an Australian squad that earned the runner-up spot.
#10. Washington Mystics-Megan Gustafson, Iowa Center/Forward, 6’3 (Rachel Galligan)
Arguably, no one improved her draft stock better than Gustafson, who helped turn Big Ten power over to the Hawkeyes. With the Naismith and Associated Press Player of the Year Awards on her resume, accolades that warranted an invite to New York, Gustafson can become the next big post prescience alongside one of the best teachers of all: Elena Delle Donne.
#11. Atlanta Dream-Sophie Cunningham, Missouri Guard, 6’1 (B. Terrell)
Cunningham’s name isn’t as flashy as some of her fellow SEC alumnae, but the three-time All-SEC first teamer was the only player in the country to average 17 points, and earn 80 triples, 150 free throws, and 200 rebounds this season. The Tigers reached the tournament in each of her four seasons, stringing together such a streak for the first time in three decades.
#12. Seattle Storm-Jessica Shepard, Notre Dame Forward, 6’4 (Lucas Smith)
What do you get the team that has everything, including the title of defending WNBA champions? They can certainly do far worse than one of the most clever and efficient players from South Bend. Shepard doesn’t necessarily light up the box score, averaging just 11 shots a game, but she makes the most of her opportunities, taking the right shots to earn 16.0 ponts per game