The 2019 WNBA draft took place on Wednesday, April 10 at the Nike Headquarters in New York.
With projected number one pick, Sabrina Ionescu of the University of Oregon, opting to stay for her senior year the number one spot was a little more open than in past years.
In the spotlight, a junior who decided to leave early, Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Jackie Young following in the steps of former Notre Dame player Jewell Loyd who left school after her junior year and became the number one pick of the Seattle Storm in 2015.
“It was definitely a hard decision,” said Young as she spoke with ESPN announcer Holly Rowe about her decision to come out early. “I just thought this was the best move.”
Young was projected as a possible number one or two pick next to guard Asia Durr of Louisville but Young’s play during the NCAA tournament in helping the Irish to a second straight championship game may have made her a tempting pick for the Las Vegas Aces who had the number one pick.
In the end with a large, talented class to choose from the Aces took Young. Head coach Bill Laimbeer who likes a physical team will get that in Young who showed during the tournament that she can take the physical play and still score.
She said her “heart was racing the whole time” as she waited to hear her name called and on what she can bring to the WNBA: “Being a physical guard, getting to the basket, being very versatile.”
The WNBA Champion Seattle Storm had three picks in the draft and though many believe the team doesn’t need anything new now it’s more about finding players who can help shore up the team and keep them competitive in the future.
The Storm used their first round pick, 12th overall, to bring another Australian to Seattle. Eziyoda “Ezi” Magbegor, 19, is a member of the NBL1’s Geelong SuperCats in March. Previously she reached the WNBL semifinals with the Melbourne Boomers.
“Ezi is a young and talented player with a bright future in the WNBA,” said Storm CEO & General Manager Alisha Valavanis in a Storm press release.
Magbegor averaged 8.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game and shot 56 percent from the field in her first season with the Boomers.
“I’m very impressed by Ezi’s body of work, especially considering her age,” said Seattle head coach Dan Hughes in the same press release. “She has the athleticism and raw skill necessary to develop into a very strong player in this league.”
She earned a silver medal with the Australian Opals at the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup. She played 10 minutes in the championship game against the United States. She ended with six points and four rebounds while facing three of her new teammates Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd and tournament and WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart.
The Storm used their 24th pick overall to add Anriel Howard of the Mississippi State Bulldogs who was a 2019 consensus First-Team All-SEC selection who averaged 16.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in her only season at State. She was a graduate transfer who previously played for the Texas A&M Aggies where she holds program records for rebounds (1,002) and double-doubles (32).
“Anriel is possibly the best defender in the draft, an incredible rebounder and showed offensive development in her career that we are confident will continue to grow at the professional level,” said Hughes.
Macy Miller of South Dakota State Jackrabbits was Seattle’s 36th and final pick of the draft. She was a two-time Summit League Player of the Year and led the Jackrabbits to a Sweet 16 appearance in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
Miller ends her career at SDS as the Summit League all-time scoring leader with 2,355 points with a 49.9 field goal percentage including 40.1 from the three-point line.
The 2019 WNBA season tips off on May 25th when the Seattle Storm will celebrate their franchise’s third WNBA championship with a ring ceremony before starting their title defense against the Phoenix Mercury at 1230 pm at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, WA. The game will be televised live on ABC.
- Las Vegas Aces – Jackie Young G Notre Dame
- Liberty – Asia Durr G Louisville
- Indiana Fever – Teaira MCowan G Mississippi State
- Chicago Sky – Katie Lou Samuelson F UCONN
- Dallas Wings – Arike Ogunbowale G Notre Dame
- Minnesota Lynx – Napheesa Collier F UCONN
- Los Angeles Sparks – Kalani Brown C Baylor
“Just by making it here I’ve created my own legacy. ..
- Phoenix Mercury – Alanna Smith F Stanford
- Connecticut Sun – Kristine Anigwe C California
- Washington Mystics – Kiara Leslie G NC State
- Atlanta Dream – Brianna Turner F Notre Dame
- Seattle Storm – Ezi Magbegor F Australia
- Phoenix Mercury – Sophie Cunningham G Missouri
- New York Liberty – Han Xu F China – 69 19 years old
- Chicago Sky – Chloe Jackson G Baylor MOP of national championship tourney
- Minnesota Lynx – Jessica Shephard F Notre Dame
Trade: Atlanta gets Marie Gulic from Phoenix and trade rights to Brianna Turner
- Dallas Wings – Megan Gustafson F Iowa
- Minnesota Lynx – Natisha Hiedeman G Marquette
- Los Angeles Sparks – Marina Mabrey G Notre Dame
- Minnesota Lynx – Cierra Dillard G Buffalo
- Connecticut Sun – Bridget Carleton G Iowa State
- Dallas Wings – Kennedy Burke G UCLA
- Atlanta Dream – Maite Cazorla G Oregon
- Seattle Storm – Anriel Howard F Mississippi State Nickname Lashes
Trade: Minnesota receives Lexie Brown draft rights from Connecticut and sends Natisha Hiedeman to Connecticut
- Indiana Fever – Paris Kea G North Carolina
- New York Liberty – Megan Huff F Utah
- Chicago Sky – Maria Conde F Spain
- Indiana Fever – Caliya Robinson F Georgia
- Dallas Wings – Morgan Bertsch F UC Davis
- Minnesota Lynx – Kenisha Bell G Minnesota
- Los Angeles – Angela Salvadores G Spain
- Phoenix Mercury – Arica Carter G Louisville
- Connecticut Sun- Regan Magarity F
- Atlanta Dream – Li Yueru F China
- Seattle Storm – Macy Miller F South Dakota State