The 2021 WNBA Draft is less than a month away. Canceled seasons, postponed games, and playing away from your own campus for extended periods, this has been an interesting college season to say the least. A wild free agency period has caused some of the picks to shift, with the potential for even more moves.
With some of the performances we’ve seen throughout the season, some of your favorite players have risen on our board, while others have seen their names fall.
With March Madness upon us, let’s see who will shine bright when the lights are on and showcase their skills on the big stage.
As stated before, the NCAA has granted an additional year of eligibility to athletes of winter sports due to the impact of COVID-19. The list of names below could look a lot different if some opted to return to their programs for an additional year in order to raise their stock. In previous versions, I included the names of eligible juniors. For this particular volume, I’ve decided to list names of juniors ONLY if they’ve officially declared.
Let’s take a look!
1. Dallas – Charli Collier – Texas, 6’5″ C
Collier has officially declared for the draft which means she’ll forfeit her remaining eligibility. Good for a double-double with averaging 20.1 ppg and 11.7 rpg for the Longhorns, there have been some questions surrounding her ability to play against tough teams. Will the spacing in the WNBA allow her game to grow? Either way, with the Wings finishing 10th in rebounding last season, Collier will certainly provide help in that area and they could look to keep her in the state of Texas.
2. Dallas – Awak Kuier– Finland, 6’4″ C
The Wings could use an additional post. Why not one with the ability to stretch the floor and score at multiple levels? She’s an intriguing talent that could provide size and mobility for the Wings. In international competition, she’s averaging 9.1 ppg and 7 rpg for a Virtus Eirene Ragusa team that features current Dallas Wing Isabelle Harrison. Kuier was also recently named Best Young Player in the Italian Cup. She’s one of the youngest players in this draft with a high ceiling.
3. Atlanta – Rennia Davis– Tennessee, 6’2″ G/F
Davis presents guard skills in a forward’s body. She started off her season by averaging 14.8 ppg and 7.8 rpg, but turned it up a bit and finished with 17.2 ppg and 8.8 rpg. Coach Nicki Collen has mentioned looking for a combo guard at this spot, and Davis fits that mold. She’s a physical player that could be a solid rotation piece for the Dream.
4. Indiana – Dana Evans – Louisville, 5’6″ G
Evans is the player that makes Louisville go. The 2x ACC Player of the Year is averaging 20.0 ppg and 4.2 apg and looks to close out her senior season with a bang as her team competes for a national championship. With international commitments possibly changing the outlook of the season, the Fever have added some guards during free agency. However, Dana is a player that can’t be passed up. What need will Indiana look to address in this draft? Will they look to add another guard to their rotation and bring Evans home?
5. Dallas – Arella Guirantes – Rutgers, 5’11” G
Guirantes is a do-it-all type of player. Currently averaging an impressive stat line of 20.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 5.4 apg, 2.0 bpg and 2.1 spg for the Scarlet Knights, she can impact both ends of the ball and stuff the stat sheet. Her offensive production along with the ability to rebound well are two areas of her game that could provide quite a spark off the bench for new Head Coach, Vickie Johnson.
6. New York – Aari McDonald – Arizona, 5’6″ G
McDonald was named both the 2021 PAC-12 Player and Defensive Player of the Year. There’s no secret that she’s an exciting player to watch. She provides a complete game on both ends of the court, and heads into the NCAA Tournament averaging 19.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, and 4.5 apg, 2.7 spg for the Wildcats. The Liberty could be a hot shooting team, and McDonald would provide impact at both ends of the court.
7. Dallas – Chelsea Dungee – Arkansas, 5’11” G
Dungee can score at a high volume as proven by multiple 30-point games this season. Currently averaging 22.2 ppg and 3.9 rpg, she’s the leader for the Razorbacks team looking to make some noise in the tournament. She’s fearless in her drives to the basket and finishes through contact and is connecting at just under 80% front the stripe. Will turnovers be an area of concern for her at the next level? Another question is will this be a pick that could be on the move from a crowded Dallas roster?
8. Chicago – Michaela Onyenwere – UCLA, 6’0″ F
Onyenwere is TOUGH, and relentless on the glass for her size. She’s not afraid to do the dirty work, and has shown a propensity for tracking the loose balls. This season has showcased her having the ball in her hands more during the closing seconds of big games. She’s not the biggest threat from beyond the arc as a guard, but Onyenwere is a physical player with the ability to defend multiple positions. She’s currently averaging 17.4 ppg and 8.1 rpg. While I expect Coach Wade to address the need for a backup point guard, it won’t be a shock if he decided to go for the best available. Is this another pick that could be on the move?
9. Minnesota – N’dea Jones – Texas A&M, 6’2″ F
Drafting Jones for post depth could be beneficial for a retooled team that many see as a favorite to be crowned WNBA Champs. Currently averaging 12.3 ppg and 10.3 rpg for the Aggies, Jones is converting over 52 percent of her shots. She maybe considered undersized, but her hustle for the loose ball is what sets her apart from others. Her immediate impact may not be realized just yet on a team that already features Fowles, Collier, Dantas, and Achonwa, but she’s in the right position to learn and grow.
10. Los Angeles – Natasha Mack – Oklahoma State, 6’4″ F/C
Please use caution when entering the paint. Named the 2021 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Mack is currently averaging 19.8 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 2.0 spg and leading the nation at 4.1 bpg. Free agency created a lot of questions surrounding the Sparks and rightfully so. A JuCo product, she’ll have the opportunity to showcase her skills in the big dance as she’s been the leader for Oklahoma State as they’re back in the NCAA Tournament. Mack could provide additional size down low for Coach Fisher’s squad, and she’d be learning from the 2016 MVP in Nneka Ogwumike.
11. Seattle – Kysre Gondrezick – West Virginia, 5’9″ G
The defending WNBA Champs will look a little different in 2021. After losing some key pieces during free agency, the Storm will look to replace some of their defense and scoring. Gondrezick is averaging 19.9 ppg and 4.5 apg for the Mountaineers and is their pulse heading into the tournament. She can swipe, get out on the fast break, and also does a good job at positioning her teammates to score. Averaging over 37 minutes per game, she’s a durable player.
12. Las Vegas – Jasmine Walker – Alabama, 6’3″ F
Size, rebounding, and scoring. Walker is currently averaging nearly a double-double at 19.2 ppg and 9.6 rpg. Her leadership and play are big reasons why the Crimson Tide are back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 22 years. She can score in the post, off the dribble, and at an impressive 40% clip from deep. She’d provide reliable scoring for the Wings off the bench. The Aces could lean on Walker to provide depth off the bench to relieve Wilson and Cambage and pair her with their sixth starter in Hamby.
Other notable potential picks: CeCe Hooks (Ohio), Vivian Gray (Texas Tech), Kiana Williams (Stanford), Erin Boley (Oregon), Tiana Mangakahia (Syracuse), DiJonai Carrington (Baylor), Lindsey Pulliam (Northwestern), Destiny Slocum (Arkansas), DiDi Richards (Baylor), Unique Thompson (Auburn), Jenna Staiti (Georgia), Ameshya Williams (Jackson State), LeLe Grissett (South Carolina), Janelle Bailey (North Carolina), Ali Patbergh (Indiana), Khayla Pointer (LSU), and Lorela Cubaj (Georgia Tech).