2022 WNBA Draft: Howard makes history as first-ever No. 1 pick from Kentucky – Sportsnet.ca

As multiple conference players of the year and national champions put their names in for the 2022 WNBA Draft, they hoped to stand on stage with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert and make a lifelong dream come true.

Many talented players came out of women’s NCAA basketball this season, and these players hope to make an immediate impact on their respective teams as the league and women’s basketball as a whole continues to grow.

Here are the results of the 2022 WNBA Draft, held in person in New York City for the first time since 2019.

Atlanta Dream, No. 1 – Rhyne Howard, guard, University of Kentucky

The best available player in the draft was a no-brainer as the SEC Player of the Year Rhyne Howard made history as the University of Kentucky’s first No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick. Averaging 20.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this season, Howard rounds out as the best player of the draft adding 102 assists, 71 steals, 39 blocks and a team-best 70 three-pointers.

As the Dream continue to rebuild after last season, the athletic wing brings size as well as versatility as she can impact a game on both sides of the ball. An elite scorer who has no problem finding the rim as well as shooting from the outside, Howard’s size also allows her to guard multiple positions effortlessly and brings physicality on defence to the Dream.

[brightcove videoID=6303652322001 playerID=JCdte3tMv height=360 width=640]

Indiana Fever, No. 2 – NaLyssa Smith, forward, Baylor University

After waiving their last two first-round picks, the Indiana Fever bought into their rebuild with four picks in the top 10 of the 2022 WNBA draft, and used the highest of their picks wisely as they picked up Smith from Baylor who proved that she was one of the best forwards in the country leading the Big 12 in both scoring and rebounding.

Playing under former Atlanta Dream coach Nicki Collen, Smith averaged 22.1 points and 11.5 rebounds per game this season, another two-way player who will have an immediate impact in the league like Howard in her ability to play in the paint as well as play physically on defence. On a team that needed more post players, Smith’s ability to play in the low post was eye-catching for Indiana.

Washington Mystics, No. 3 – Shakira Austin, center, Ole Miss

The first Ole Miss player drafted since 2010, Shakira Austin, a first-team All-SEC player averaged 15.2 points, nine rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in her senior season and led the Rebels to Women’s March Madness for the first time since 2007.

Joining a talented Mystics squad, and hoping for a healthy Elena Delle Donne and Alysha Clark, Austin will look to fill a talent gap left by Tina Charles in her departure to Phoenix, as Austin can also play two-way ball as a defender able to use her size to block as well as confidence shooting from the three-point line.

Indiana Fever, No. 4 – Emily Engstler, forward, Louisville

Bringing defensive energy and size to Indiana, Engstler only played one season under head coach Jeff Walz and the Cardinals, but helped lead the program to their fourth Final Four playing with high energy alongside players like Hailey Van Lith.

She averaged 11.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, and at 6-foot-1, plays physically defensively bringing grit and disruption to passing lanes making up for any size she may lack. As the Fever continue to rebuild and need size in the post, Engstler brings reinforcements to the squad.

New York Liberty, No. 5 – Nyara Sabally, forward, University of Oregon

With a new head coach in Sandy Brondello, the New York Liberty have addressed their small size issue in the acquisition of Stefanie Dolson, but needing depth in that area, drafting Sabally fifth overall will add a mobile and versatile big to their rotation.

The sister of 2020 No. 2 overall pick Satou Sabally, Nyara shot 48 per cent from the perimeter, a physical presence in the paint as well as efficient ball movement to add to a sharp-shooting Liberty team that has Betnijah Laney and Sabrina Ionescu able to find the basket from deep.

Indiana Fever, No. 6 – Lexie Hull, guard, Stanford University

Another big player being added to the Fever’s rotation, this time they opted for a big wing in guard Lexie Hull who had a phenomenal senior season with Stanford as they returned to the Final Four after winning the Women’s March Madness tournament in 2021.

Averaging 18 points per game and being an efficient three-point shooter to compliment the Fever picks that add inside size, Hull also brings versatility being able to guard multiple positions as she was awarded All-Defensive Pac-12 honours during the 2021-22 season.

Dallas Wings, No. 7 – Veronica Burton, guard, Northwestern

As the two drafts prior saw the Wings starting their rebuild with multiple first-round picks, the youngest team in the WNBA, Dallas added another young, skilled player in Victoria Burton who is a gritty defender leading all of Division I in steals and finding a way to get to the foul line, attempting seven foul shots per game on average.

On top of her defensive abilities that force turnovers and scores points in transition, Burton also brings two-way play with her three-point shot shooting 32 per cent this season, and is an all-around ball handler as she averaged 13.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and five assists per game during the 2021-22 season.

Las Vegas Aves, No. 8 – Mya Hollingshed, forward, Colorado

Trading up for the No. 8 pick in the draft in a trade with the Minnesota Lynx, is the first draft pick under new Aces head coach Becky Hammon and joins a talented roster with A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, Dearica Hamby, but losing Liz Cambage to the Los Angeles Sparks, needing size was a big need for Las Vegas.

Even with Hamby, a two-time Sixth Woman of the Year able to move into that spot to start, needing the bench depth was key, and Hollingshed fills that need. She averaged 14 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for Colorado and can finish through contact, but even when not using her size in the paint, Hollingshed also shot 40 per cent from the three-point arc, able to stretch the floor offensively.

Los Angeles Sparks, No. 9 – Rae Burrell, guard, University of Tennessee

Even after a knee injury forced her to miss time early on for the Lady Vols this past season, Burrell made an impact and led them to Sweet Sixteen in the women’s tournament scoring 22 points before falling to a tough Louisville team.

Another big, versatile guard who brings physicality and athleticism to the Sparks, Burrell is able to shoot threes, get into the paint and score a pull-up jumper, and brings length on defence as she averaged 12.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in her shortened season and can add depth at the wing.

Indiana Fever, No. 10 – Queen Egbo, centre, Baylor University

Joining her teammate Smith in Indiana, Egbo was the third post that the Fever took in the draft as they looked to collect multiple posts who were versatile enough to switch from positions one through five defensively and were mobile on both sides of the ball.

While Egbo may not have put up huge scoring numbers as she played alongside a scoring machine like Smith, and will continue to, her strength lies in her ability to control the paint defensively as she averaged 8.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots as a senior, as well as improved on her shooting from the free-throw line as she used her size in the key to draw fouls on offence.

Las Vegas Aces, No. 11 – Kierstan Bell, guard, Florida Gulf Coast University

Though she played the four in her college career and will most likely move to the three position to back up Jackie Young when she plays for Las Vegas, Bell can work as a wing in Hammon’s new system as she is able to score at all three levels whether it be driving the net, takes multiple shots from beyond the arc and can pull-up from midrange.

Though her defence is a point to improve on in the league, Bell is the only FCGU player to average 20+ points since FGCU since joined Division I, and can pass the ball with stellar court vision as she averaged 23.5 points as well as 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

Connecticut Sun, No. 12 – Nia Clouden, guard, Michigan State University

Sun head coach had previously stated that if Clouden was available at the time the team drafted that he would be ecstatic to take her, so when the one-two combination guard was still on the board at 12, the Sun eagerly picked her up to back up Jasmine Thomas at the point as she isn’t afraid to drive the net and get fouled, leading the Big Ten in free-throw shooting at 88.5 per cent.

Being able to play the pick-and-roll efficiently, Clouden shot 43 percent from the floor averaging As a senior, she averaged a career-high in points with 20 per game, rebounds with 4.2 per game and assists with 4.2 per game. She also ended her senior season shooting a massive 39.6 percent from the three-point line, with her scoring abilities from outside able making room for Connecticut’s bigs to operate inside.

Second round picks

Las Vegas Aces, No. 13 – Khayla Pointer, guard, LSU
Washington Mystics, No. 14 – Christyn Williams, guard, UConn
Atlanta Dream, No. 15 – Naz Hillmon, forward, Michigan
Los Angeles Sparks, No. 16 – Kianna Smith, guard, Louisville
Seattle Storm, No. 17 – Elissa Cunane, center, NC State
New York Liberty, No. 18 – Lorela Cubaj, forward, Georgia Tech (via trade with Storm)
Los Angeles Sparks, No. 19 – Olivia Nelson-Ododa, forward, UConn
Indiana Fever, No. 20 – Destanni Henderson, guard, South Carolina
Seattle Storm, No. 21 – Evina Westbrook, guard, UConn
Minnesota Lynx, No. 22 – Kayla Jones, forward, NC State
Las Vegas Aces, No. 23 – Aisha Sheppard, guard, Virginia Tech
Connecticut Sun, No. 24 – Jordan Lewis, guard, Baylor

Third round picks

Indiana Fever, No. 25 – Ameshya Williams-Holiday, center, Jackson State
Phoenix Mercury, No. 26 – Maya Dodson, forward, Notre Dame
Los Angeles Sparks, No. 27 – Amy Atwell, forward, University of Hawaii
Minnesota Lynx, No. 28 – Hannah Sjerven, center, South Dakota
New York Liberty, No. 29 – Sika Kone, center, Mali
Dallas Wings, No. 30 – Jasmine Dickey, guard, Delaware
Dallas Wings, No. 31 Jazz Bond, forward, North Florida
Phoenix Mercury, No. 32 – Macee Williams, forward/center, IUPUI
Seattle Storm, No. 33 – Jade Melbourne, guard, Australia
Indiana Fever, No. 34 – Ali Patberg, guard, Indiana
Las Vegas Aces, No. 35 – Faustine Aifuwa, center, LSU
Connecticut Sun, No. 36 – Kiara Smith, guard, Florida

For all the latest Sports News Click Here 

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! TechAI is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.