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While sports events have been cancelled all over the world, the WNBA Draft 2020 presented by State Farm will still take place on Apr. 17th, albeit virtually.

The lack of competition allows a greater platform for the draft, which will hopefully draw in more fans for the upcoming season. 

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce the draft picks live on ESPN.

“The WNBA Draft is a time to celebrate the exceptional athletes whose hard work and dreams are realized with their selections in the draft,” Engelbert said. “Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees, and everyone connected to our game as well as the general public is paramount. With that in mind, we will work diligently with our broadcast partner, ESPN, to create a memorable but virtual event that appropriately honours these accomplished athletes.”

The original announcement on Mar. 26th indicated the draft would be broadcast on ESPN2. This was met with disapproval across WNBA fans, and later in the day was switched to ESPN. One of the outspoken voices was top prospect Sabrina Ionescu who has spoken out about ESPN’s lack of coverage for women’s basketball before.

The draft will also be available to stream through the ESPN app.

DRAFT ORDER

  1. NY Liberty (first time with the first pick)
  2. Dallas Wings
  3. Indiana Fever 
  4. Atlanta Dream
  5. Dallas Wings
  6. Minnesota Lynx
  7. Dallas Wings
  8. Chicago Sky
  9. Dallas Wings
  10. Phoenix Mercury
  11. Seattle Storm
  12. Washington Mystics

TOP PICK

Going first overall to the New York Liberty will be Sabrina Ionescu – GOAT of the NCAA.

The 5’11” PG for Oregon led the Ducks to be 2020 PAC-12 champions before their season was cut short due to Coronavirus. Breaking NCAA records for both men and women, she is the first collegiate athlete to both record 26 triple doubles, and reach 2,000 points, 1000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. Over her four years she averaged 18 points, 7.7 assists, and 7.3 rebounds per game.

NOTABLE ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

Aside from Ionescu, there are many other quality players entering the draft. Let’s take a look at some of the top prospects:

Lauren Cox, PF, 6’4”, Baylor

Defensive star for Baylor, Cox has won many NCAA awards, including:

  • WBCA All-American
  • Big 12 Player of the Year
  • 2x big 12 defensive player of the year (2018, 2019)
  • NCAA final four all-tournament team (2018-2019)
  • NCAA Elite 90 Co-Winner (2018-19)
  • All-Big 12 First Team (2018-19)

During the 2019-20 season she averaged 12.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game.

Ruthy Hebard, FF, 6’4’’, Oregon

Pick ‘n roll partner to Ionescu, Hebard has had quite a college career of her own, with numerous awards including:

  • WBCA All-American
  • 4x All-Pac-12
  • 2x USA Basketbal 3×3 National Title winner
  • Katrina McClain Award winner for national power forward of the year (2017-18)

Hebard is also a two-time USA Basketball 3×3 national title winner. During the last season she averaged 17.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game, with a 68.5 per cent shot from the field.

Crystal Dangerfield, G, 5’5’’, UConn

Averaging 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game, Dangerfield was named a Nancy Lieberman Award finalist this past season. Throughout her time in the NCAA she has been named to the Regional All-Tournament team and twice to the American Athletic Conference All-Tournament team.

Te’a Cooper, G, 5’8’’, Baylor

Throughout her NCAA career Cooper spent time in Tennessee and South Carolina before finishing off with Baylor during her graduate studies. Named Big 12 co-newcomer of the year, and WBCA Nancy Lieberman Award finalist, Cooper averaged 13.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists through the year. 

Bella Alarie, G/F, Princeton

Three-time Ivy League Player of the Year, and two-time Ivy League Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Alarie would be a great addition to any WNBA team. Through the 2019-20 season, she averaged 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.

NOTABLE JUNIORS DECLARING EARLY

Satou Sabally, F, 6’4’’, Oregon

Oregon is leading the way with prospects this year. Sabally, originally from Germany and a star for their national team, has had a successful college career both on and off the court. Named Cheryl Miller Award Winner for the nation’s top small forward, and to the WBCA First-Team All-America, Sabally also made the PAC-12 academic honour roll. 

She averaged 16.2 points, 6.9 rebounds for the 2019-20 season, and shot 33.8 per cent from the field. 

Megan Walker, F/G, 6’1’’, Connecticut 

Although her time in the NCAA didn’t end the way she expected, Walker is ready to move into her professional career.

“Due to the unfortunate circumstances that caused the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament, it saddens me that I was not able to finish my junior season in the way that I would have liked. I am, however, ready to move on to the next phase of my life and career.”

Walker was the Huskies’ leading scorer and named American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. During this past season she averaged 19.7 pts, 8.4 rebounds, and shot 45 per cent from the three-point line.

BROADCAST DETAILS

So who will go where? Tune into either ESPN or the ESPN app at 7 p.m. ET on Apr. 17th to find out. In addition to the draft, the league has plans to honour the late Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant, Payton Chesler and Kobe Bryant.

Featured photo credit: NBC Sports

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