Women's Sport: The WNBA will hold a virtual draft next month

2019 WNBA Finals - Game Five

This year's WNBA Draft will go ahead as scheduled, but instead of the usual event, it will be conducted virtually, with no players, guests or media present.

The draft will be broadcast on ESPN and during the event, the league will pay tribute to Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester who passed away in a devastating helicopter accident in January. 

The league also announced that they will honour Kobe Bryant who also passed away in the accident. He was a big advocate of the league and women's basketball.  

The WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said: “The WNBA Draft is a time to celebrate the exceptional athletes whose hard work and dreams are realized with their selections in the draft.”

“Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees, and everyone connected to our game as well as the general public is paramount. With that in mind, we will work diligently with our broadcast partner, ESPN, to create a memorable but virtual event that appropriately honours these accomplished athletes.”

There is still uncertainty surrounding the league and how the coronavirus pandemic will impact the upcoming season. The USA is now the country with the most recorded cases in the world, overtaking China.

The league said that they are currently conducting ongoing scenario planning and will provide updates on any changes. A training camp is currently scheduled to take place at the end of April and the WNBA season itself is due to start in May. 

Washington Mystics will start the season as defending champions after they won the championship for the first time last season.

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