Recapping the 24 Rookies Selected in the First Two Rounds of the 2023 WNBA Draft

Recapping the 24 Rookies Selected in the First Two Rounds of the 2023 WNBA Draft

The 2023 WNBA Draft took place on April 10 at Spring Studios New York in Manhattan, NY. It was the 28th edition of the event in WNBA history and came just one week after the LSU-Iowa women’s national championship game – which turned out to be the most-watched women’s college basketball game ever. 

We didn’t get to see any LSU or Iowa players drafted in the first round, but we did see two LSU players – LaDazhia Williams and Alexis Morris – drafted in the second round and one Iowa player – Monika Czinano – drafted in the third round. Morris was the only one of the three invited to the WNBA Draft. 

As in year’s past, the four teams that failed to make the playoffs last year were entered into a lottery – the Indiana Fever had the best chances, followed by the Atlanta Dream, Washington Mystics, and Minnesota Lynx (in that order). The Fever ended up with No. 1 pick, followed by the Lynx, Dream, and Mystics. 

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Recapping the First and Second Round of the 2023 WNBA Draft?

Recapping the 24 Rookies Selected in the First Two Rounds of the 2023 WNBA Draft
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The South Carolina Gamecocks had a total of four players invited to the WNBA Draft and three of them ended up getting drafted in the top-ten – the fourth one was drafted in the second round and they had a fifth player (uninvited) who was drafted in the third round. It was an excellent day to be a Gamecock!

The first round of the 2023 WNBA Draft belonged to the Dallas Wings. They had three first round picks at the start of it, but ended up walking away with four by the end of the night – picks No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, and No. 11. The Indiana Fever, Atlanta Dream, and Minnesota Lynx each had two picks in the first round.

The Washington Mystics, Chicago Sky, New York Liberty, Las Vegas Aces, Connecticut Sun, and Phoenix Mercury had no first round picks this year – the Mystics entered the draft with the No. 4 pick, but traded it to the Wings during the draft. The Fever, Storm, and Lynx each had two picks in the second round.

With that said, let’s take a look at the 12 players selected in the first round and 12 players selected in the second round of the 2023 WNBA Draft!

Round 1, Pick 1 – Aliyah Boston 

With the No. 1 overall pick in the first round, the Indiana Fever selected Aliyah Boston – a 6-foot-5 power forward out of the University of South Carolina. She spent four years with the Gamecocks and averaged 14.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals, and 2.4 blocks per game (138 games played). 

She won the national championship at the end of the 2021-22 season – the same season she won AP Player of the Year and NCAA Tourney Most Outstanding Player – and was one of four Gamecocks selected in the 2023 WNBA Draft. She’s also a two-time Naismith Defensive Player of the Year. 

Round 1, Pick 2 – Diamond Miller

With the No. 2 overall pick in the first round, the Minnesota Lynx selected Diamond Miller – a 6-foot-3 shooting guard out of the University of Maryland. She spent four years with the Terrapins and averaged 14.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game (117 games played). 

Miller is coming off a season where she put up career-highs in nearly every statistical category – she had 19.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game in 34 games played. She was named a Second-Team All-American by the AP and USBWA and won a gold medal at the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup. 

Round 1, Pick 3 – Maddy Siegrist

With the No. 3 overall pick in the first round, the Dallas Wings (via Atlanta Dream) selected Maddy Siegrist – a 6-foot-1 forward out of Villanova University. She spent four years with the Wildcats and averaged 24.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game (119 games). 

Siegrist led all scorers last season with 29.2 points per game – the same season she became Villanova’s all-time leading scorer, as well as the Big East’s all-time leading scorer. She also broke the single-game scoring record for Villanova and the Big East with 50 points and 10 rebounds against Seton Hall. 

Round 1, Pick 4 – Stephanie Soares

With the No. 4 overall pick in the first round, the Washington Mystics (via Los Angeles Sparks) selected Stephanie Soares – a 6-foot-6 forward-center out of Iowa State University. The Mystics ended up trading Soares to the Dallas Wings during the draft for a second round pick in 2024 and first round pick in 2025. 

Soares spent just one season with the Cyclones and averaged 14.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals, and 3.0 blocks per game in 13 games played. She suffered a torn ACL in January, which is expected to keep her out the entire 2023 season, but she’ll return in 2024 as a high-value prospect. 

Round 1, Pick 5 – Lou Lopez-Senechal

With the No. 5 overall pick in the first round, the Dallas Wings (via Phoenix Mercury) selected Lou Lopez-Senechal – a 6-foot-1 guard-forward out of the University of Connecticut (UCONN). It was the third consecutive pick by the Wings, who walked away with the No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 picks in the draft. 

Lopez-Senechal spent four years at Fairfield University before her lone season with UCONN this past season. In 37 games played with the Huskies, she averaged 15.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game. She was named to the First-Team All-Big East roster last season. 

Round 1, Pick 6 – Haley Jones

With the No. 6 overall pick in the first round, the Atlanta Dream (via New York Liberty) selected Haley Jones – a 6-foot-1 guard out of Stanford University. She spent four years with the Cardinal and averaged 13.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game (118 games played). 

Jones is coming off a season that saw her average career-highs in points (13.5), rebounds (9.0), assists (4.0), and steals (0.9) per game. She won the national championship with Stanford in 2021 and was the Final Four Most Outstanding Player that year – she was also an AP First-Team All-American in 2022. 

Round 1, Pick 7 – Grace Berger

With the No. 7 overall pick in the first round, the Indiana Fever (via Dallas Wings) selected Grace Berger – a 6-foot-0 point guard out of Indiana University. She spent five years with the Hoosiers and averaged 12.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game (148 games played). 

Berger took a step back last season, but had an impressive 2021-22 campaign where she averaged 16.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. She was a four-time First-Team All-Big Ten player and won a gold medal while representing the United States at the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup in Puerto Rico.

Round 1, Pick 8 – Laeticia Amihere

With the No. 8 overall pick in the first round, the Atlanta Dream (via Washington Mystics) selected Laeticia Amihere – a 6-foot-4 forward out of the University of South Carolina. She spent four years with the Gamecocks and averaged 6.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game. 

Amihere won a national championship with South Carolina in 2022 and is the second Gamecock taken in the 2023 WNBA Draft. She’s an excellent defender on the wing and is versatile for someone with her length. She can play any position and was primarily drafted because of the upside she brings to the table.

Round 1, Pick 9 – Jordan Horston

With the No. 9 overall pick in the first round, the Seattle Storm selected Jordan Horston – a 6-foot-2 combo guard out of the University of Tennessee. She spent four years with the Lady Volunteers and averaged 12.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game (114 games). 

Horston, who turns 22 years old next month, has really come into her own over the past two seasons with Tennessee. In 58 games during that two-year span, she has averaged 15.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. She’s a beast in transition and is an excellent finisher. 

Round 1, Pick 10 – Zia Cooke

With the No. 10 overall pick in the first round, the Los Angeles Sparks (via Connecticut Sun) selected Zia Cooke – a 5-foot-9 combo guard out of the University of South Carolina. She spent four years with the Gamecocks and averaged 13.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 0.9 steals per game (137 games). 

Cooke, who turned 22 years old in January, had a career year in 2020-21 when she put up 15.9 points per game and had career-highs in both rebounds (3.0) and assists (2.0). She won a national title in 2022 and put up an impressive 15.4 points per game last season. She’s the third Gamecock taken in the draft.

Round 1, Pick 11 – Abby Meyers

With the No. 11 overall pick in the first round, the Dallas Wings (via Chicago Sky) selected Abby Meyers – a 6-foot-0 guard who spent the first three years of her college career at Princeton University. She was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2021-22 with 17.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.4 steals. 

She spent the 2022-23 season at the University of Maryland and averaged 14.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game in 35 games played. She was named to the 2023 NCAA Tournament All-Region roster – her team lost to South Carolina in the Elite 8, missing out on the Final Four.

Round 1, Pick 12 – Maia Hirsch

With the No. 12 overall pick in the second round, the Minnesota Lynx (via Las Vegas Aces) selected Maia Hirsch – a 6-foot-5 power forward out of France. The 19-year-old is the only international player taken in the first round and one of only three international players taken in the 2023 WNBA Draft (all three rounds).

Hirsch is averaging 4.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game overseas this season – she plays for ESB Villeneuve-d’Ascq in France’s LFB League. She’s an excellent rebounder and can use her size to dictate what happens in the paint on both ends of the floor. At just 19 years old, she has a bright future.

Round 2, Pick 1 – Taylor Mikesell

With the No. 13 overall pick (No. 1 pick in second round) in the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Indiana Fever selected Taylor Mikesell – a 5-foot-11 guard who spent two years with Maryland, one year with Oregon, and two years with Ohio State. She averaged 14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.0 steals in 158 career games played – including 17.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 steals over the past two seasons. 

Round 2, Pick 2 – Shaneice Swain

With the No. 14 overall pick (No. 2 pick in second round) in the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Los Angeles Sparks selected Shaneice Swain – a 5-foot-9 guard out of Australia. The 19-year-old is the second international player taken in the draft and currently plays for the Cairns Dolphins in the Australia-NBL One – where she’s averaging 23.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.0 blocks in two games. 

Round 2, Pick 3 – Leigha Brown

With the No. 15 overall pick (No. 3 pick in second round) in the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Atlanta Dream selected Leigha Brown – a 6-foot-1 guard who spent two years with Nebraska and three years with Michigan. In 72 games with the Wolverines, Brown averaged 16.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game – including a career-high 18.2 points per game during the 2020-21 season. 

Round 2, Pick 4 – Dorka Juhasz

With the No. 16 overall pick (No. 4 pick in second round) in the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Minnesota Lynx selected Dorka Juhasz – a 6-foot-5 forward who spent three years with Ohio State before spending the previous two seasons with UCONN. In 61 games with the Huskies, she averaged 10.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game – including 14.2 points per game last year. 

Round 2, Pick 5 – LaDazhia Williams

With the No. 17 overall pick (No. 5 pick in second round) in the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Indiana Fever selected LaDazhia Williams – a 6-foot-4 forward who spent two years with South Carolina, two years with Missouri, and last season with LSU. She averaged 9.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game with LSU last season – winning a national championship in the process. 

Round 2, Pick 6 – Madi Williams

With the No. 18 overall pick (No. 6 in second round) in the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Seattle Storm selected Madi Williams – a 5-foot-11 forward who spent five years with the Oklahoma Sooners. In 147 career games played with the school, she averaged 16.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game – including 20.0 points per game (21 games played) during the 2020-21 season. 

Round 2, Pick 7 – Ashley Joens

With the No. 19 overall pick (No. 7 in second round) in the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Dallas Wings selected Ashley Joens – a 6-foot-1 small forward-shooting guard who spent the past five years with the Iowa State Cyclones. 

In 158 games with the school, she averaged 19.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.0 steals per game – including a career-high 24.2 points per game in 2020-21. She averaged a 20-point double-double in 2019-20. 

Round 2, Pick 8 – Elena Tsineke

With the No. 20 overall pick (No. 8 in second round) of the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Washington Mystics selected Elena Tsineke – a 5-foot-7 guard from Greece who spent the past four seasons with the South Florida Bulls. In 113 games with the school, she averaged 14.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 0.7 steals per game – including a career-high 17.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.0 steals last year.

Round 2, Pick 9 – Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu

With the No. 21 overall pick (No. 9 in second round) of the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Seattle Storm selected Dulcy Fankam Medjiadeu – a 6-foot-4 forward who spent two seasons with Memphis and the past two seasons with South Florida. 

In 67 games with the Bulls, Mendjiadeu averaged 13.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game – including a career-high 16.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game last year. 

Round 2, Pick 10 – Alexis Morris

With the No. 22 overall pick (No. 10 in second round) of the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Connecticut Sun selected Alexis Morris – a 5-foot-6 guard who spent one season at Baylor, one season at Rutgers, and one season at Texas A&M before spending the past two years with LSU. She averaged 15.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.8 steals in 64 games with the Tigers, including a national title a few weeks ago. 

Round 2, Pick 11 – Kayana Traylor

With the No. 23 overall pick (No. 11 in second round) of the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Chicago Sky selected Kayan Traylor – a 5-foot-9 guard who spent three seasons at Purdue before spending the past two years at Virginia Tech. She averaged 10.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 0.8 steals per game in 68 games with Virginia Tech – she had a career-high 15.0 points and 3.9 assists with Purdue in 2020-21. 

Round 2, Pick 12 – Brea Beal

With the No. 24 overall pick (No.12 pick in second round) of the 2023 WNBA Draft, the Minnesota Lynx selected Brea Beal – a 6-foot-1 guard who spent the past four seasons with the University of South Carolina. She played in 138 games with the Gamecocks and averaged 6.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game. She won a national title with South Carolina in 2022. 

Who Was Taken in the Third Round of the 2023 WNBA Draft? 

The third round of the 2023 WNBA Draft saw another 12 players taken – the Mercury were the only team with two picks in the round, while the Dream were the only team without a pick. Victaria Saxton, Monika Czinano, Destiny Harden, Taylor Soule, and Kadi Sissoko were the first five taken in the round. 

They were followed by Okako Adika, Paige Robinson, Txell Alarcón, Jade Loville, Ashten Prechtel, Kseniya Malashka, and Brittany Davis. None of the third round picks are guaranteed a spot in the WNBA and most of them have an uphill battle to get there, but that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible task. 

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Taking a look back at the first two rounds, there are a lot of players in this draft that will help shape the future of the WNBA and some of which will make an enormous difference for the team right away. It’ll be interesting to see which player emerges as next season’s Rookie of the Year – it can be anyone!

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