Uncertainty is the key word in everything right now, including the 2020 WNBA draft. It’s scheduled for April 17, but with the NBA season shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s unknown whether the draft will still take place, and if the WNBA season itself will begin May 15.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert released a statement on March 12 saying the league would “continue to scenario plan around our upcoming events and season” and that “further details will be shared later this month.”
One big name has been added to the draft list: UConn’s Megan Walker, a draft-eligible junior who announced Saturday she was forgoing her final season with the Huskies. But Oregon senior Sabrina Ionescu continues to lead the way in our mock draft.
Sabrina Ionescu, G, Oregon
Ionescu said in an Instagram post Monday that this has been the toughest year of her life. She won’t get a last chance to try to win an NCAA tournament title, and her first season in the WNBA might be delayed. But safe to say when she does get back on the court, which is expected to be with the Liberty, she’s a player everyone is eager to see transition to the pro game. She averaged 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists this season.
Lauren Cox, F, Baylor
The Wings have four first-round picks and are in the driver’s seat for how much of the first round will go. (Of course, some of these picks might be traded.) Cox dealt with a stress reaction in her foot during the season and sat out eight games, but that didn’t stop her from winning Big 12 Player of the Year honors and leading the Lady Bears to the conference’s regular-season title again. The Dallas native is a strong defender and passer, and can score in the paint and facing up. She averaged 12.5 points and 8.4 rebounds this season.
Satou Sabally, F, Oregon
If the Wings don’t take Sabally, then Indiana probably will. She could fit in really well with a Fever team that is still rebuilding, and has a new coach in veteran Marianne Stanley. The draft-eligible junior is thought to have a very high ceiling, with terrific athleticism and the ability to score from all over. She finished the season averaging 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds. And at 6-foot-4, she made 45 3-pointers.
Chennedy Carter, G, Texas A&M
Carter is a draft-eligible junior. She hasn’t declared for the draft yet but most think she has lottery-pick talent. The Dream will look a lot different this season no matter whom they select, because signature player Angel McCoughtry left to sign with Las Vegas. Is Carter, a guard with a high usage rate who can create shots better than most, exactly what Atlanta needs? A distributing guard might seem a better roster fit, but Atlanta probably can’t pass her up if Carter is available.
Megan Walker, G, UConn
Walker didn’t have a chance to play in an NCAA tournament in which she was the key go-to player. Some observers think she could use another year at UConn. But she believes she is ready, and she led the Huskies in scoring this season (19.7 points), plus was the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. She shot 45.1% from 3-point range (78 of 173) as a junior.
Tyasha Harris, G, South Carolina
Looking at the Lynx’s roster now, point guard might be a need, and Harris’ stock has risen all season. She might even go before this pick. She did a great job directing the offense for the No. 1-ranked Gamecocks, and was a respected leader for the three freshmen who were in the starting lineup. She has good size at 5-10 and is a strong defensive player. Harris has an unflappable presence on the court, and that should translate well to the pro game.
Te’a Cooper, G, Baylor
The Wings might see Cooper as a good option for a combo guard who can play equally well at either spot. She played for three different teams in college — Tennessee, South Carolina and Baylor — but she was pretty consistent this season for the Big 12 champion Lady Bears, averaging 13.6 points and 4.6 assists, and shooting 41.5% from 3-point range.
Beatrice Mompremier, F, Miami
A foot injury limited Mompremier’s final season for the Hurricanes to only 17 games, and Miami went 15-15. It wasn’t the kind of season she or the team were hoping for. But she averaged 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds, and at 6-4 has a pro-ready physique that should translate well. The Sky seemed close last season to breaking through as one of the league’s top teams, and perhaps Mompremier can help make that happen.
Kiah Gillespie, F, Florida State
Gillespie and her fellow seniors came oh-so-close to achieving a program first for Florida State: winning the ACC tournament. They lost a heart-wrenching 71-66 final to NC State; Gillespie had a terrific last game with 25 points and nine rebounds. She led the Seminoles in scoring (15.6 points) and rebounding (8.7) this season. This might be a best-available-player pick for the Wings.
Bella Alarie, F, Princeton
Alarie finished the season averaging 17.5 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Tigers, who went 26-1. At 6-4, she has guard skills and should be able to fit well into any offense. We’re not going to say she can replace DeWanna Bonner by any stretch, but she’s at least a similar type of player to Bonner, who left as a free agent for Connecticut.
Ruthy Hebard, F, Oregon
This might be too low for Hebard; she was a top-five pick in last month’s mock draft. There’s no doubt how good she was at Oregon, finishing this season averaging 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds, and shooting 68.5% from the field. The question might be her relative lack of range, and how much she’ll be able to assert herself in the post at the next level. But if she does drop this far, the Storm should be glad to take her.
Crystal Dangerfield, G, UConn
This pick could go a lot of different directions, especially since coach/general manager Mike Thibault tends not to show his cards. Point guard might not be a specific need for the defending champion Mystics, and Dangerfield’s size at 5-5 will be seen as a potential liability. Still, she has the UConn pedigree; Huskies players have made a huge impact in the WNBA. She averaged 14.9 points and 3.9 assists this season.