This year’s Women’s March Madness tournament was one of the best we have seen in years, and the fact the Final Four is still a topic of discussion over a week later proves that point. We all saw the LSU Tigers take home the National Championship, which marked the end of the collegiate basketball season and turned the page to the upcoming WNBA season. Last night was the 2023 WNBA Draft, and we got to see some of our favorite college stars begin their professional basketball careers.
Get to know these seven WNBA rookies and where they will be playing this basketball season.
Number 1 Overall Pick: Aaliyah Boston, Indiana Fever
Over the course of her four-year college career, Aaliyah Boston became the backbone of the University of South Carolina’s basketball program which included a national championship last year. She made more history last night as she became the first basketball player from The Virgin Islands to be drafted number 1 overall since NBA Hall of Famer Tim Duncan.
Number 2 Overall Pick: Diamond Miller, Minnesota Lynx
Maryland’s Diamond Miller was the second overall pick last night. She was one of the best guards in her league this season, and the USC Gamecocks will verify that as she gave them 24 points in the Elite Eight. Miller will be tasked with replacing the Maya Moore, as the 4-time champion officially announced her retirement from the WNBA earlier this year. The Lynx are in good hands; Miller has all the tools necessary to be the team's next great star.
Number 6 Overall Pick: Haley Jones, Atlanta Dream
The city of Black stars just got them another one. Haley Jones was one of the best high school players ever, including four straight California state titles. She would follow up her near perfect high school career with legendary career at Stanford which included a National Championship in 2021. The Dream got them a big guard, a 6-1 point forward who can handle the rock, create for her teammates, but also get in the post and bang with bigger players. The Dream might have gotten the most well-rounded player in the entire draft and possibly the city’s next big star.
Number 10 Overall Pick: Zia Cooke, Los Angeles Sparks
The best dressed award of the 2023 WNBA Draft would without a doubt have to go South Carolina’s Zia Cooke. Thus, it’s fitting that the best dressed baller of the evening would be heading to the City of Stars, Los Angeles. But don’t let the looks fool you, Cooke I can handle herself on the court! She averaged over 15 points per game this season, which included her 24 points in the Final Four loss against Iowa. She would be the third player from the Gamecocks drafted in the first round and one of five total players from South Carolina to hear her name called on draft night, making history for the WNBA.
Number 22 Overall Pick: Alexis Morris, Connecticut Suns
LSU kept on winning on draft night! They had two players from their championship roster drafted including their fearless point guard Alexis Morris. Morris was the Tigers’ second leading scorer of the season ( only behind Angel Reese). Her best performance for the final game of her college career was her final game of the season. She scored 21 points and added 9 assists in the championship game against Iowa, not only cementing herself in LSU lore, but also catching the eyes of WNBA general managers. Now she will be bringing all her tenacity and her big game ability to Connecticut for the Suns.
Number 23 Overall Pick: Kayana Traylor, Chicago Sky
Kayana Traylor was the driving force behind Virginia Tech’s Final Four run. Traylor scored 12.2 points per game in the 2023 NCAA Tournament helping the Hokies reach the Final Four for the first time in program history. The Sky will be getting a combo guard who can play on or off the ball, who is efficient scorer and an excellent free throw shooter. Traylor’s teammate forward Taylor Soule was also drafted, which was the first time in Virginia Tech history that the program had multiple players drafted.
Number 24 Overall Pick: Brea Beal, Minnesota Lynx
The biggest surprise of the night had to be how long it took for Brea Beal to get her name called. Another one of the pillars of Dawn Staley’s South Carolina Gamecocks program and the fourth USC player drafted, the Lynx got them a steal at the end of the second round. Beal is 6’1 and one of the best defensive players in the entire draft, and her impact will be immediately felt on that end. Beal has star power written all over her, and her focus on the next level will be to prove to everyone that she can be equally as dominant on the offensive end.