- M.A. Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.
The 2022-23 women’s college basketball season ended with a national champion from the SEC — just not the one everyone expected. The LSU Tigers won the title for the first time, while the overall No. 1 seed South Carolina Gamecocks were upset at the women’s Final Four by the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Gamecocks didn’t get the storybook ending for their senior class, but those players now look to Monday’s WNBA draft (7 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App) to see where they will continue their basketball careers. South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston remains the projected No. 1 pick, where she has been since ESPN’s first mock draft in November. And she might have a few South Carolina teammates in the first round with her.
The COVID-19 waiver from the 2020-21 season — which will still be in effect for next year’s senior class, too — has had a big impact on this draft as several players — including standout post players such as Elizabeth Kitley, who led the Virginia Tech Hokies to the Final Four, and the Indiana Hoosiers’ Mackenzie Holmes — have opted to stay in college for a fifth season.
On Thursday, the WNBA will announce its final list of players who have declared for the draft. We’ll update our projections then as well, but for now, here is our latest look at the first round of the draft.
1. Indiana Fever: Aliyah Boston
South Carolina Gamecocks | F | 6-foot-5 | senior
It was a tough finish for Boston, with her only loss in her last season at South Carolina coming in Friday’s national semifinals. Early foul trouble marred the game for Boston, too. But it will be time to turn the page quickly. And after such a big disappointment, it’s for the best. Coach Dawn Staley has said Boston is exactly what Indiana needs from a playing and a leadership perspective even though she is so young.
2. Minnesota Lynx: Diamond Miller
Maryland Terrapins | G | 6-foot-3 | senior
Miller led the Terps to the Elite Eight, where they lost to Boston’s Gamecocks. But throughout the NCAA tournament, Miller showed skills that will translate well to the WNBA. She is a big guard who moves really well and has a lightning-quick first step. Miller had 24 points against South Carolina in the regional final, and she averaged 19.8 points in the NCAA tournament. She can bring instant offense and a lot of potential defensively for the Lynx.
3. Dallas Wings: Jordan Horston
Tennessee Lady Vols | G | 6-foot-2 | senior
Horston’s size and energy should make her a good fit for a Wings team expected to put a premium on defense under new coach Latricia Trammell. Horston had 17 points in the Lady Vols’ Sweet 16 loss to Virginia Tech, a game that showed some of her big strengths but also things she needs to work on at the next level.
4. Washington Mystics: Stephanie Soares
Iowa State Cyclones | C | 6-foot-6 | senior
On one hand, the Mystics already have a good young center in 6-5 Shakira Austin, the No. 3 pick last season. But Soares is such an intriguing player that the Mystics might opt to take her even though she will be out this season after suffering an ACL injury in early January. After playing four years in NAIA, Soares showed a lot of potential in her brief time with Iowa State.
5. Dallas Wings: Maddy Siegrist
Villanova Wildcats | F | 6-foot-2 | senior
Siegrist’s Villanova squad lost in the Sweet 16 to Miami, a defeat that ended a great senior season for her. She led Division I in scoring with 29.2 PPG and scored a school-record 2,896 points, plus she had 1,102 rebounds. She adds another strong scoring threat for the Wings, one with a lot of offensive versatility.
6. Atlanta Dream: Haley Jones
Stanford Cardinal | G | 6-foot-1 | senior
Jones can score, pass and rebound, and at her best for the Cardinal could take over games. That’s the player the Dream hope she can be. Stanford was upset in the second round of the NCAA tournament, so it wasn’t a great college ending for Jones. But she won an NCAA championship as a sophomore, and as a pro she might find more time to work on becoming a reliable 3-point shooter.
7. Indiana Fever: Brea Beal
South Carolina Gamecocks | G | 6-foot-1 | senior
Fever general manager Lin Dunn has seemed high on Beal’s defensive ability and potential to develop into a solid offensive player. As with Boston, Beal’s college career didn’t end the way she had hoped, with that loss to Iowa in the Final Four, but it could be motivation for both as pro teammates.
8. Atlanta Dream: Laeticia Amihere
South Carolina Gamecocks | F | 6-foot-4 | senior
Amihere is one of those players who might come into her own in the pro game, in part because she has such versatility at her size. She can guard players on the perimeter and inside, and we might see more offense from her at the next level. She was someone who could fill any gap for a deep Gamecocks team, and that potential might develop in a pro setting.
9. Seattle Storm: Grace Berger
Indiana Hoosiers | G | 6-foot-0 | senior
Berger is a good playmaker and scorer, even though she isn’t known for her 3-point shot. She became the heart of Indiana’s team during her five seasons, and she can bring that to a Storm squad that has lost much of its identity with the departure of Breanna Stewart in free agency and the retirement of Sue Bird. The Hoosiers have been a good defensive team behind Berger, one of the physically strongest guards in the draft.
10. Los Angeles Sparks: Ashley Joens
Iowa State Cyclones | F/G | 6-foot-1 | senior
If Joens is still available with this pick, it doesn’t seem likely the Sparks will pass up a chance to take her. They need a wing, and the three-time Cheryl Miller Award winner finished with more than 3,000 points and 1,300 rebounds in her five-season college career. Joens is also a grinder who will do anything to help her team, and new Sparks coach Curt Miller can appreciate that kind of player.
11. Dallas Wings: Lou Lopez Sénéchal
UConn Huskies | F | 6-foot-1 | senior
In a season in which so much went sideways for UConn, the fifth-year senior transfer from Fairfield was a huge help in getting the Huskies another Big East tournament title. UConn’s Final Four streak ended, but Lopez Sénéchal was a consistent bright spot and showed she could be relied on to hit big shots. She was the Huskies’ best 3-point shooter (77-of-175, 44%), and that could help the Wings.
12. Minnesota Lynx: Dorka Juhász
UConn Huskies | F | 6-foot-5 | senior
The Lynx could go several ways with this pick, but they might opt for size and production from one of college sports’ most reliable programs when it comes to producing pro talent. When healthy, Juhász was a solid scorer (14.2 PPG) and rebounder (9.9 RPG) for the Huskies. Minnesota has had a lot of success with former UConn players, so that might weigh into the decision.
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