WNBA ROOKIE REPORT: Previewing Saturday’s WNBA Rookie Debuts of Sabrina Ionescu, Joyner Holmes, Julie Allemand and more.

New York Liberty Rookies

The WNBA season tips off tomorrow and the New York Liberty’s top pick, the first overall pick, Sabrina Ionescu finally makes her long awaited WNBA pro debut. This season, there are 27 rookies, which is by far the most rookies in a WNBA season in recent years. Because of the sheer volume of rookies playing this year, we are going to file rookie reports on all 26 rookies. The rookie reports will come out every two weeks and will highlight which rookies played well, who had standout weeks, who did not play, etc.

In creating these rookie reports, we previewed the rookies who will be playing in Saturday’s Slate. Sunday’s slate of Rookie Debuts will be up by tomorrow. The Rookie Reports are written by Teylor Hines(@HipsterHoopz) Blake O’Tain(@wnbadaily) and myself. (Aneela Khan)

We will start with the first game of the season, the Seattle Storm vs the New York Liberty. There are 8 rookies featured in the game and New York has 7, the most of any team this year in the WNBA.

SEATTLE STORM

EZI MAGBEGOR (2019 WNBA DRAFT, 12th overall pick)

Ezi Magbegor is the only Seattle Storm rookie in this year’s team. However, she’s not a rookie by any means as she plays professionally in the WNBL for the Melbourne Boomers. She was drafted last year as 12th overall pick. She has basketball experience and is just 20 years old, which is younger than most if not all the 2020 WNBA draftees this year. She averaged 8.7 pts per game and 4.3 rebounds per game while playing in the WNBL. She is one of the intriguing rookies and will look to develop more behind Mercedes Russell and Natasha Howard. – Aneela Khan

NEW YORK LIBERTY

SABRINA IONESCU (1st overall pick)

Sabrina Ionescu is entering her WNBA pro debut with a lot of attention and publicity riding on her shoulders. As the top overall pick, she will be closely watched to see how she leads this very young New York Liberty team against stronger, veteran teams in the league. She will have to learn quickly and adjust to the pro game if New York wants to have any success this season. – Aneela Khan

MEGAN WALKER (9th overall pick)

Megan was one of the few Juniors that decided to declare for the WNBA Draft. Walker was an excellent shooter in college, and will bring some much needed shooting to the Liberty.  – Blake O’Tain

JOCELYN WILLOUGHBY (10th overall pick)

Willoughby is another talented shooter selected by the Liberty, in the draft. Willoughby started every game of her collegiate career. She is a great scorer, rebounder, and defender. It will be exciting to see how quickly she can translate those skills, into the much tougher WNBA. – Blake O’Tain

JAZMINE JONES (12th overall pick)

Jones is another strong shooter to add to this youth filled lineup. In college Jones did not shoot a lot of threes, but that is something she can develop as she translates her game to the pros. For her height Jones is a very talented rebounder. – Blake O’Tain

KYLEE SHOOK (13th overall pick)

Shook is a post drafted high in the second round with the opportunity in New York to get decent minutes. The Liberty’s young roster will allow the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year to show her ability to track down shots and knock the three. With a steady point guard at the helm, she could thrive early on pick and pop situations. – Teylor Hines

LEAONNA ODOM (15th overall pick)

Odom is a forward from Duke who was drafted in the second round. In New York, she will get the opportunity to prove herself, although it may be in a bench role. She can play multiple positions which should help her get some playing time. She may not be asked to do much in her rookie season, but she could really help elevate the Liberty’s bench. – Aneela Khan

JOYNER HOLMES (19th overall pick)

Holmes is a late addition to the Liberty team. She was selected by the Seattle Storm in the second round of the WNBA Draft, she was later released. Joyner brings a strong defensive presence to this young Liberty team. Her other strengths include inside scoring, and rebounding. – Blake O’Tain


Next up, is the Los Angeles Sparks vs the Phoenix Mercury. With such veteran led teams, only one rookie is featured in it.

LOS ANGELES SPARKS

T’EA COOPER (18th overall pick)

Cooper is a classic combo guard that was drafted and waived by The Phoenix Mercury due to roster cuts. This led to her signing with the Sparks where she’ll be looked at to shoot, shoot, and shoot again with Toliver out. Cooper’s pressure on the defensive side of the ball may also allow her to get more minutes in a scattered Derek Fisher rotation. Her path to making a roster was unorthodox, but her play could cement her place in the league for years to come. – Teylor Hines


Finally, we have the last matchup of the day, the Indiana Fever vs the defending WNBA champions, the Washington Mystics. There are 4 rookies featured in this matchup.

INDIANA FEVER

JULIE ALLEMAND (2016 WNBA Draft, 33rd overall pick)

Julie is a skilled passer, with excellent vision, and a good 3 point shooter. This will be Allemand’s first WNBA game, however she has already played with and against some highly skilled WNBA players. With Erica Wheeler out due to COVID-19 Allemand should see a good amount of playing time in the season opener on Saturday. Allemand will face her Belgium national team mate Emma Messamen, in the first game of Allemand’s WNBA career. – Blake O’Tain

LAUREN COX (3rd overall pick)**

Not available to play right away due to COVID 19 protocols and probably will not play in the season opener, Cox is an outstanding all-around player. She stands 6’4 but is a tremendous defender, a great shooter, and is an exceptional passer for her size. The Fever finished near the bottom as a team defensively last season. Cox will definitely help improve their defensive rating, for years to come. – Blake O’Tain

KATHLEEN DOYLE (14th overall pick)

Doyle is the definition of a floor general. She is a do-it-all kind of point guard, she is a great passer, but also is a very strong shooter. With Erica Wheeler not in the lineup due to COVID-19, look for Doyle to get lots of minutes in her first WNBA game. – Blake O’Tain

WASHINGTON MYSTICS

KIARA LESLIE (2019 WNBA Draft, 10th overall pick

Kiara Leslie’s start to her WNBA career was put to a halt due to injury after being drafted 10th by the Mystics in 2019. This year with the reigning champ’s roster looking a little different and coaches expecting to use their benches more, she’ll get the chance to show us what was missed. Leslie is a wing player that can score at all three levels, so she could be viable scoring option for Washington’s second unit. – Teylor Hains

2020 WNBA Mock Draft Version 2.0

Satou Sabally is a top 2 pick after she declared early for the 2020 WNBA Draft held in April.

It has been one month since the first version was published and much has changed in the world of women’s college basketball as well in the WNBA. WNBA Free Agency shook up a large majority of WNBA rosters and many draft picks were traded. I will have two more versions of this 2020 WNBA Mock Draft which will be released monthly. One in March which will be released sometime during the NCAA Tournament and the final WNBA Mock Draft which will come out one week before the WNBA Draft held in April.

Dallas has the most WNBA draft picks this year so they will have a lot of tough decisions to make moving forward. Some players have played their way into the 2020 WNBA Mock Draft such as Duke’s Haley Gorecki and Leaonna Odom. Some have played their way off this mock draft. Of the draft eligible juniors, I included just one this time as Satou Sabally has already declared for the draft and the other possible early junior (Aarion McDonald) may not declare early. Some players have moved up and down since the previous month due to the team’s needs changing as well as their play on the court.

For the potential draftees, making the roster for this year could prove to be very tough as spots are very limited due to all the new signings as well as contract extensions. Some teams may only carry 11 players. It may take some of these potential draftees two to three years to make the roster, if they still desire to play in the WNBA some day.

ROUND ONE

  1. Sabrina Ionescu – PG – Oregon  – New York Liberty

Another month, the top pick is still Sabrina Ionescu from Oregon. The New York Liberty need some good news after rumors of Tina Charles potentially moving on came to be during WNBA Free Agency. Sabrina Ionescu can provide that new spark. Most importantly, she can provide leadership and give the Liberty a possible new franchise corner stone. She recently became the first women or men’s college basketball player to reach 2000 points, 1000 assists and 1000 rebounds in their career and I don’t think she is done yet.

2.  Satou Sabally – SF – Oregon – Dallas Wings

Unofficially last month, I included Satou Sabally in my first version of the 2020 WNBA Mock Draft. I had her originally going fourth overall to the Atlanta Dream, but Sabally has been on a tear since then. Her declaring early had to do with some financial situation in her family but it still a great move because the Dallas Wings can now take her and help the Wings elevate their franchise a little bit after a lot of veterans left during WNBA Free Agency. She is just scratching the surface of her potential and between her and Cox, I think the Wings should lean towards Satou Sabally.

3. Lauren Cox – PF/C – Baylor – Indiana Fever

With the declaration of Satou Sabally declaring early, this opens up the spot for Indiana to grab Lauren Cox. Cox would normally be a top 2 pick in this draft, but she slides now down to the 3rd spot. The Fever could use her as a starter and help facilitate their offense as Cox is an excellent passer offensively. The Fever can do so much with what Lauren Cox brings to the table, that they should not pass on her if they are given the chance. She’s still a very good and talented player.

4.  Beatrice Mompremier – PF/C – Miami – Atlanta Dream

Last month, I had Satou Sabally as the #4 pick overall. In that past month, as I have stated before above, Sabally has increased her stock. Not only that, the next best available player is draft eligible junior Chennedy Carter. But the Atlanta Dream don’t need Carter anymore. They have acquired Courtney Williams in free agency and still have some talented guards on their roster. There is no space for Carter. However, there is still some space for fowards and centers and the best player available for that position is Beatrice Mompremier. She recently just got back to playing form as she was injured a large majority of the year. She will be in top shape come draft time and the Dream could use her off the bench to help develop her game slowly so she can get improve and get better.

5. Ruthy Hebard – PF – Oregon – Dallas Wings

Last month, this pick belonged to the Phoenix Mercury but it now belongs to the Dallas Wings. The Dallas Wings already had pick #2 and have already a loaded roster. Some are on training camp contracts and the Wings have talented guards already on their roster so putting Chennedy Carter on this team does not make any sense either. The Wings should take Ruthy Hebard with their fifth pick but she will be in tough competition to make the final roster as she will be in competition with four other power forwards/centers trying to make the team.

6. Chennedy Carter** – SG – Texas A&M – Minnesota Lynx

Chennedy Carter has not declared yet for the draft, but if she does, she now falls down two spots from last month. Not because of her talent, but because of the WNBA teams reshuffling their rosters during WNBA Free Agency. The Minnesota Lynx just recently acquired Rachel Banham from Connecticut in a sign and trade but Carter still play well on this team. She can help give Minnesota Lynx another star besides Napheesa Collier and Sylvia Fowles.

  • 7. Te’a Cooper – SG – Baylor – Dallas Wings
  • 8. Tyasha Harris – PG – South Carolina – Chicago Sky
  • 9. Kiah Gillespie – SF – Florida State – Dallas Wings
  • 10. Crystal Dangerfield – PG – Connecticut – Phoenix Mercury
  • 11. Kaila Charles – SG – Maryland – Seattle Storm
  • 12. Bella Alarie – SF – Princeton – Washington Mystics

ROUND TWO

  1. Kathleen Doyle – New York Liberty
  2. Jocelyn Willoughby – Minnesota Lynx
  3. Mikayla Pivec – Dallas Wings
  4. Mikiah Herbert Harrigan – Indiana Fever
  5. Joyner Holmes – Atlanta Dream
  6. Haley Gorecki – Phoenix Mercury
  7. Nicki Ekhomu – Seattle Storm
  8. Sara Rhine – Los Angeles Sparks
  9. Becca Hittner – Dallas Wings
  10. Japreece Dean – Los Angeles Sparks
  11. Stephanie Jones – Connecticut Sun
  12. Brittany Brewer – Washington Mystics

ROUND THREE

  1. Nausia Woolfolk – Atlanta Dream
  2. Ciara Duffy – New York Liberty
  3. Leaonna Odom – Atlanta Dream
  4. Taryn McCutcheon – Indiana Fever
  5. Ja’Tavia Tapley – Phoenix Mercury
  6. Reili Richardson – Chicago Sky
  7. Katie Campbell – Seattle Storm
  8. Kylee Shook – Chicago Sky
  9. Jazmine Jones – Las Vegas Aces
  10. Nadia Fingall – Los Angeles Sparks
  11. Jordan Danberry – Connecticut Sun
  12. Juicy Landrum – Washington Mystics

2020 WNBA Mock Draft Version 1.0

lauren cox baylor university dallas wings.

The 2020 WNBA season is on thanks to a new WNBA CBA. This means that it is time to start thinking about the upcoming season and free agency. This also means that the WNBA Draft is now three months away and it is now time to start preparing the WNBA Mock Drafts.

This 2020 WNBA Draft senior class is not as deep as last year’s senior class, therefore I added some possible juniors who could declare for this year’s draft in April. I will have three more versions of this mock draft which will be updated monthly. The final WNBA Mock Draft will be posted about a week or some days before the actual WNBA Draft takes place.

I have also included several WNBA Mock Drafts other outlets have posted so that if you haven’t read them yet or want to compare the mock drafts you may do so.

ROUND ONE

  1. Sabrina Ionescu – PG – Oregon – New York Liberty

The New York Liberty are entering into a new phase of rebuilding with a new ownership group and a new coach. What better way for the Liberty to start fresh with a #1 pick and select the best player from this class. Sabrina Ionescu has turned heads in women’s college basketball and will look to help the Liberty in May. Sabrina Ionescu is a smart player and she is a leader when she is on the floor.

2. Lauren Cox – F/C – Baylor – Dallas Wings

Lauren Cox is a steady forward who was instrumental in Baylor’s run to the championship last season and will look to help the Baylor Lady Bears defend their title come March/April. Lauren Cox can shoot from three, she can defend inside and she does not need to play a ton of minutes for the Dallas Wings. She can help the Wings with her interior defence and passing ability. Not only that, she’s a local player. That always helps with ticket sales!

3. Chennedy Carter** – PG/SG – Texas A&M – Indiana Fever

The Indiana Fever are also trying to rebuild and Chennedy Carter (one of the first possible early junior players) can help immediately. Her game is meant for the pro level. She can shoot, she can score and she can provide the Indiana Fever with some highlight reels. More than that, she can help invigorate the Fever and bring them back to prominence.

4. Satou Sabally** – SF/PF – Oregon – Atlanta Dream

The Atlanta Dream did not have a great season last year and will look to rebound again this season and could use some help on their front line. Satou Sabally (the second junior player who could possibly declare early) can give the Atlanta Dream size, shooting ability as well as the ability to switch onto defenders. She is a versatile small forward who gets better every year.

5. Te’a Cooper – SG – Baylor – Phoenix Mercury

Te’a Cooper has risen quite a bit and has proved herself with Baylor so far this year. She’s shown an ability to score and provide a bit of leadership as well. She can help the Phoenix Mercury’s bench and provide them a lift when the starters need a break.

  • 6. Beatrice Mompremier – Miami – Minnesota Lynx
  • 7. Aari McDonald** – Arizona – Seattle Storm
  • 8. Ruthy Hebard – Oregon –  Chicago Sky
  • 9. Tynice Martin – West Virginia – Dallas Wings
  • 10. Crystal Dangerfield – Connecticut – Connecticut Sun
  • 11. Joyner Holmes – Texas – Connecticut Sun
  • 12.  Bella Alarie – Princeton –  Washington Mystics

ROUND TWO

  1. Mikayla Pivec – Atlanta Dream
  2. Kathleen Doyle – Minnesota Lynx
  3. Mikiah Herbert Harrigan – Dallas Wings
  4. Kaila Charles – Indiana Fever
  5. Tyasha Harris – Phoenix Mercury
  6. Ae’Rianna Harris – Phoenix Mercury
  7. Nausia Woolfolk – Seattle Storm
  8. Sara Rhine – Los Angeles Sparks
  9. Becca Hittner – Dallas Wings
  10. Japreece Dean – Los Angeles Sparks
  11. Kiah Gillespie – Connecticut Sun
  12. Taryn McCutcheon – Washington Mystics

ROUND THREE

  1. Jordan Danberry – Atlanta Dream
  2. Ciara Duffy – New York Liberty
  3. Kylee Shook – Atlanta Dream
  4. Nicki Ekhomu – Indiana Fever
  5. Ja’Tavia Tapley – Phoenix Mercury
  6. Katie Campbell – Chicago Sky
  7. Kat Tudor – Seattle Storm
  8. Stephanie Jones – Chicago Sky
  9. Jazmine Jones – Las Vegas Aces
  10. Nadia Fingall – Los Angeles Sparks
  11. Dominique Oden – Connecticut Sun
  12. Brittany Brewer – Washington Mystics

2019 WNBA Mock Draft Version 1.0

The WNBA Draft is coming up in three months and with that in mind, I have released the first version of my WNBA Mock Draft. These versions of the mock draft will be updated monthly. Also, after the NCAA Tournament, the mock drafts will be updated weekly until the actual WNBA Draft.

NOTE:**This first version of the draft does not include international players and will be included in the next version. It also does not include possible early declaration players and possible WNBA Free Agency movement which impacts the draft. That will be in the later versions of the draft which will be out in March or April.

ROUND ONE

  1. Kalani Brown – Las Vegas Aces
  2. Asia Durr – New York Liberty
  3. Katie Lou Samuelson – Indiana Fever
  4. Napheesa Collier – Chicago Sky
  5. Teaira McCowan – Dallas Wings
  6. Jessica Shepard – Minnesota Lynx
  7. Arike Ogunbowale – Los Angeles Sparks
  8. Megan Gustafson – Phoenix Mercury
  9. Sophie Cunningham – Connecticut Sun
  10. Alanna Smith – Washington Mystics
  11. Kristine Anigwe – Atlanta Dream
  12. Brianna Turner – Seattle Storm

ROUND TWO

  1. Natisha Hiedeman – Phoenix Mercury
  2. Marina Mabrey – New York Liberty
  3. Kianna Ibis – Chicago Sky
  4. Anriel Howard – Minnesota Lynx
  5. Maci Morris – Washington Mystics
  6. Kenisha Bell – Minnesota Lynx
  7. Danni Williams – Los Angeles Sparks
  8. Hallie Thome – Minnesota Lynx
  9. Jenna Allen – Michigan State
  10. Kennedy Burke – Washington Mystics
  11. Bridget Carleton – Atlanta Dream
  12. Kennedy Leonard – Seattle Storm

ROUND THREE

  1. Kayla Goth – Indiana Fever
  2. Maite Cazorla – New York Liberty
  3. Allazia Blockton – Chicago Sky
  4. Kitjia Laksa – Indiana Fever
  5. Amy Okonkwo – Dallas Wings
  6. Ciara Duffy – Minnesota Lynx
  7. Morgan Bertsch – Los Angeles Sparks
  8. Laura Stockton – Phoenix Mercury
  9. Teniya Page – Connecticut Sun
  10. Kiara Leslie – Washington Mystics
  11. Rosemarie Julien – Atlanta Dream
  12. Zykera Rice – Seattle Storm

WNBA Draft Lottery — Who will win the #1 overall pick?

The 2019 WNBA Draft Lottery will take place tonight during half time of the WNBA semi final game 2 (Washington vs Atlanta). The four worst teams in the league this season have the opportunity to grab a great college player in yet another deep WNBA draft class.

The four worst teams this season were the Indiana Fever, Chicago Sky, Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty. The lottery rules have shifted and instead of the 1 year record, it now accounts for 2 years (or seasons). So, this means that the Fever and the Sky have the best odds of landing a top 2 pick. The Las Vegas Aces improved significantly this season but can still land a top 3 pick. The “worst” odds out of all the teams belongs to the New York Liberty. The Liberty were great in 2017, and that great year will affect them for this draft lottery. However, it should be noted that finishing fourth in this year’s lottery is not that bad. There are a ton of talented players available and the Liberty should fare well.

Keeping all that in mind, I believe that lottery drawings are a luck of the draw. The Indiana Fever REALLY need this top pick and would be thrilled to have it. However, I do not think the Fever will win tonight. I have a feeling it will be the Chicago Sky who come away with the #1 overall pick. I think the Fever will pick #2, the Aces at #3 and the Liberty at #4 overall. (I could be totally wrong, and it could just be the Fever who finally manage to win the #1 overall pick)

Whatever team will end up winning the #1 overall pick in 2019, they will have plenty of talented senior college players to choose from. Players such as Teaira McCowan, Asia Durr, Arike Ogunbowale, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Kalani Brown and more. I tracked all of the college players for two years running and here was the latest on who the top overall junior player was for 2018.

This could change a WNBA teams fortune. So, who do you think will win the #1 overall pick? Tune in tonight to find out!