Women's Sport: WNBA set up for an exciting draft night 2020 with a talented lineup

Go Ducks

The WNBA Draft 2020 will be held this Friday, April 17 as scheduled.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WNBA will conduct a virtual draft without players, guests, and media. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce the draft picks live on ESPN with coverage and top prospects will take part remotely.

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

After winning WNBA Draft Lottery 2020, the New York Liberty has the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA Draft for the first time. The second pick belongs to the Dallas Wings, who also hold the Nos. 5 and 7 selections in the first round. The Indiana Fever has the third pick, followed by the Atlanta Dream at No. 4.

Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu, the unanimous 2019-20 National Player of the Year, headlines the list of WNBA Draft prospects. Ionescu averaged 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and an NCAA-leading 9.1 assists as a senior. She holds the NCAA record for career triple-doubles and is the only NCAA woman or man to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. A friend and mentee of the late Kobe Bryant, Ionescu is the most exciting prospects in the 2020 draft and wherever she ends up this season is going to be a movie. 

In addition to Ionescu, Oregon features well-regarded prospects Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally. All three players were named the best in the country at their position in the 2019-20 season. Ionescu earned her third consecutive Nancy Lieberman Award as the top point guard, Hebard won her second Katrina McClain Award as the best power forward, and Sabally was honoured with the Cheryl Miller Award as the No. 1 small forward.

Sabally is one of three 2019-20 Associated Press All-Americans who decided to enter the WNBA Draft as juniors, forgoing their final season of college eligibility. She is joined by Texas A&M guard Chennedy Carter, who averaged more than 20 points in all three college seasons, and UConn forward Megan Walker, the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Past years’ early entrants in the WNBA Draft included two juniors who became No. 1 overall picks, former Notre Dame stars Jackie Young (2019) and Jewell Loyd (2015). 

During the draft this Friday, the WNBA will honour Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester – who tragically passed away in a helicopter accident on January 26. The WNBA will honour the late Kobe Bryant, a passionate advocate of the league, at the draft and during the upcoming season. 

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