WNBA coaches, GMs tab McCowan for top pick in mock draft
NEW YORK (AP) — The Associated Press polled a panel of WNBA coaches and general managers for a mock draft of the three rounds this spring. Panelists were limited to college seniors and eligible foreign players, and they could not offer a pick for their own team. While last season there was a clear-cut No. 1 in A’ja Wilson, there is no consensus top pick this year. This could be one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent years. That said, the top three picks remained the same from the first two mock drafts with Teaira McCowan, Asia Durr and Kalani Brown going 1-2-3.
This will be the final update before the draft on April 10.
1. Las Vegas: Teaira McCowan , Mississippi State. The Aces franchise has the No. 1 pick for the third year in a row and can add a dominant post player to complement Wilson.
2. New York: Asia Durr , Louisville. The Liberty have many holes to fill. Getting a scoring guard who can create her own shot would help.
3. Indiana: Kalani Brown , Baylor. The Fever could use a big post player, and the 6-foot-8 Brown would fill that role well.
4. Chicago: Kristine Anigwe , California. Has seen her stock rise over the last month as she’s led the nation in rebounding and has been a double-double machine.
5. Dallas: Arike Ogunbowale , Notre Dame. Definitely knows how to hit the big shot after connecting on game-winners in the Final Four and NCAA title game last season.
6. Minnesota: Napheesa Collier , UConn. Has carried UConn the last two months of the season on offense and defense. Will lessen a little bit of the sting of Maya Moore sitting out the season.
7. Los Angeles: Katie Lou Samuelson , UConn. Would keep the California native close to home and provide the Sparks with a really talented outside shooter.
8. Phoenix: Alanna Smith , Stanford. Provides another 3-pointer shooter for the Mercury and another Australian for coach Sandy Brondello. Smith is also a very good defender.
9. Connecticut: Han Xu , China. The 19-year-old Chinese star had 20 points against the U.S. in the FIBA World Cup in September. She’s 6-foot-9 and only starting to tap into her talent. While she might be a few years away, the Sun have a few really talented posts right now so they can afford to wait.
10. Washington: Sophie Cunningham . The 6-foot-1 Cunningham was an All-SEC pick who is tough as they come. Adds toughness to the Mystics.
11. Atlanta: Anriel Howard , Mississippi State. Has been a solid contributor on both ends of the court for coach Vic Schaefer. Great rebounder for her size at 5-foot-11.
12. Seattle: Bridget Carleton , Iowa State: Iowa State’s star already showed she can shine on the international stage, playing for Canada at the world championships.
1. Phoenix: Ezi Magbegor , Australia. Decided to play professional basketball at home instead of going to a U.S. college. She’s 6-foot-4 and athletic and will be a difficult guard for opposing teams. Playing for Brondello would increase chances she will come to the U.S.
2. New York: Brianna Turner , Notre Dame. Turner would provide New York with another athletic post player to go along with Kiah Stokes.
3. Chicago: Paris Kea : Can put points on the board as she became only the fourth Tar Heels player to score 1,000 points in her first two seasons with the program. She really saw stock rise toward end of the season.
4. Minnesota: Jessica Shepard , Notre Dame. A terrific rebounder and scorer, Shepard showed last season at Notre Dame she can compete against elite-level players. She was instrumental in the Irish winning the national championship.
5. Dallas: Kennedy Burke , UCLA: Has been a big reason why the Bruins have played so well over the last two months and made a run to the Sweet 16. Shot 49 percent from the field and is a tenacious defender and rebounder.
6. Minnesota: Natisha Hiedeman , Marquette. The Big East player of the year really saw her stock rise this season. She can provide some more scoring punch for the Lynx and definitely more depth.
7. Los Angeles: Megan Gustafson , Iowa. One of the top centers in the country who may have a difficult time being as productive at the next level, but definitely worth a shot.
8. Minnesota: Li Yueru , China. A 6-foot-7 center who also played well at the world championships for China.
9. Connecticut: Kiara Leslie , N.C. State. Has gotten the Wolfpack to the Sweet 16 and will provide depth for the Sun.
10. Dallas: Emese Hof , Miami. Another talented post player would give more depth to coach Brian Agler’s team.
11. Atlanta: Marina Mabrey , Notre Dame. Has played in a lot of big games for Notre Dame and has shown she can shoot the ball well. Provides some guard depth for the Dream.
12. Seattle: Megan Huff , Utah. Scored over 1,000 points for the Utes in two years, and ranked fourth in the conference in scoring this season and second in rebounding. Provides front court depth for the defending champs.
1. Indiana: Cierra Dillard , Buffalo. A scorer who definitely has left her mark at Buffalo, getting them to the Sweet 16 last season and the second round this season.
2. New York: Maite Cazorla , Oregon. A talented crafty guard who has been key for the Ducks this year running the point.
3. Chicago: Allazia Blockton , Marquette. The Golden Eagles all-time leading scorer can put points on the board. Is still developing other aspects of her game.
4. Indiana: Sam Fuehring , Louisville. A tough-nosed competitor who can play solid defense as well as score.
5. Dallas: Kenisha Bell , Minnesota. Learned from one of the best point guards in WNBA history this year in coach Lindsay Whalen. She definitely has a chance to make a pro roster.
6. Minnesota: Kitija Laksa , South Florida. Laksa is recovering from an ACL tear and won’t be ready for the WNBA season, but is one of the top shooters in the college when healthy and showed she can play well against pros when she starred for Latvia at the World Cup.
7. Los Angeles: Taylor Emery , Virginia Tech. If basketball doesn’t work out she plans to go back to school to become a vet. One of the top scorers in the ACC, she should at least get a shot.
8. Phoenix: Chloe Jackson , Baylor. Has shown she can play well in big games, will give the Mercury more depth.
9. Connecticut: Regan Magarity , Virginia Tech. A 6-foot-3 post player who put up consistent double-doubles in her college career.
10. Washington: Caliya Robinson , Georgia. A 6-foot-3 shot blocker who can also score. Would provide more depth in front court and give coach Mike Thibault another rim protector.
11. Atlanta: Keke Calloway , Mercer. Averaged 17.9 points this season and is worth a flyer for the Dream.
12. Seattle: Presley Hudson , Central Michigan. Averaged over 20 points and nearly six assists a game.
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