After much anticipation and intrigue, this past Thursday was the day of the 2017 WNBA Draft with this year’s festivities emanating from the Samsung 837 building in New York City.
The event began with an opening statement from WNBA president Lisa Borders, who closed said opening comments by congratulating the South Carolina Gamecocks on winning the first NCAA tournament in its history.
Borders then introduced Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley who announced the first overall pick of the draft held by the San Antonio Stars. As expected per many mock drafts, Washington’s Kelsey Plum was the top pick.
After the Stars chose Plum, the all-time leading scorer in NCAA history, up next was the Chicago Sky who will be entering the 2017 season with a new head coach in Amber Stocks. Heading to the Windy City with the second pick was the Gamecocks’ Alaina Coates. The pick was announced by Sheryl Swoopes.
Coates recently had ankle surgery and will miss part of the season.
Next up with the next two picks was the Dallas Wings—an organization that has experienced some recent adversity with the sudden departure of its CEO Mary O’Connor. Dallas obtained the fourth overall pick via a trade with Los Angeles that sent Odyssey Sims to the defending champion Sparks. Stunning many a draft prognosticator, the Wings chose Evelyn Akhator out of Kentucky with the third pick, then Allisha Gray with the fourth overall selection.
Following the back-to-back Wings picks were the Stars at the five. They followed up their selection of Plum by picking Northwestern’s Nia Coffey.
Up next was the Washington Mystics—a team that has notably made a bit of news this offseason with the acquisitions of Kristi Toliver and Elena Delle Donne. Joining Toliver, Delle Donne, and head coach Mike Thibault was Shatori Walker-Kimbrough as her fans in Maryland will not have to travel very far to see her hoop in The W.
After that, it was Atlanta’s turn at the basket and they used the seventh pick on Syracuse’s Brittney Sykes. The Dream are expected to endure challenges this year playing without Angel McCoughtry and at the McCamish Pavilion at Georgia Tech as Philips Arena undergoes renovations.
The Connecticut Sun also received its pick (the eighth) via a three-team trade with the Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury that sent Candice Dupree to Indiana. That pick also came out of the Terps as they picked Maryland’s Brionna Jones.
This was followed up by the Chicago Sky’s second pick of the first round of the draft. That pick—the ninth overall—was Michigan State’s Tori Jankoska.
At the tenth overall pick was the third pick of the first round for the Dallas Wings. That pick was Kaela Davis from the national champion Gamecocks, reuniting her with Allisha Gray.
The two final picks were courtesy of the two teams that competed in last year’s thrilling WNBA Finals—the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx. The Sparks, with the 11th pick, chose Sydney Wiese of Oregon State and the Lynx selected Alexis Jones out of Baylor, rounding out round number one.
The Connecticut Sun kicked off the second round of the draft by selecting Shayla Cooper out of Ohio State. After that, the New York Liberty selected for the first time this draft and they picked Lindsay Allen from Notre Dame.
The 15th pick of the draft was held by the Seattle Storm who of course picked Breanna Stewart with the first overall selection last year. The Storm’s first pick of this draft was Syracuse’s Alexis Peterson. After that it was Connecticut’s turn once again and joining the Sun with the 16th overall pick was Leticia Romero of Florida State.
Indiana took Erica McCall out of Final Four participant Stanford with the 17th overall pick. Choosing 18th was Washington Mystics who picked Jennie Simms out of Old Dominion. The Dream chose Jordan Reynolds from Tennessee then the Indiana Fever chose Feyonda Fitzgerald from Temple.
The 21st pick—held by the Chicago Sky was Chantel Osahor (Washington), followed by the 22nd pick which was Florida’s Ronni Williams to the Fever. The Wings picked at number 23 and selected Breanna Lewis from Kansas State and the Lynx picked Lisa Berkani from France to conclude the second round.
25. San Antonio Stars—Sacquilla Nunn (Tennessee)
26. Dallas Wings—Saniya Chong (UConn)
27. Washington Mystics—Mehryn Kraker (Wisconsin-Green Bay)
28. Connecticut Sun—Jessica January (DePaul)
29. Phoenix Mercury—Alexis Prince (Baylor)
30. Seattle Storm—Lanay Montgomery (West Virginia)
31. Atlanta Dream—Oderah Chidom (Duke)
32. Indiana Fever—Adrienne Motley (Miami)
33. Chicago Sky—Makayla Epps (Kentucky)
34. New York Liberty—Kai James (Florida State)
35. Los Angeles Sparks—Saicha Grant-Allen (Dayton)
36. Minnesota Lynx—Tahlia Tupaea (Australia)
Be sure to check out our Instagram page (@BeyondTheW) for more of the behind the scenes sights and sounds from the 2017 WNBA Draft!