WNBA coaches, GMs tab McCowan for top pick in mock draft
NEW YORK (AP) — The Associated Press polled a panel of WNBA coaches and general managers for a mock draft of the two rounds this spring. Panelists were limited to college seniors and eligible foreign players, and they could not offer a pick for their own team. While last season there was a clear-cut No. 1 in A’ja Wilson, there is no consensus top pick this year. The top three picks remained the same from the first mock draft with Teaira McCowan, Asia Durr and Kalani Brown going 1-2-3.
The AP will periodically update the draft board.
1. Las Vegas: Teaira McCowan , Mississippi State. The Aces franchise has the No. 1 pick for the third year in a row and can add a dominant post player to complement Wilson.
2. New York: Asia Durr , Louisville. The Liberty have many holes to fill. Getting a scoring guard who can create her own shot would help.
3. Indiana: Kalani Brown , Baylor. The Fever could use a big post player, and the 6-foot-8 Brown would fill that role well.
4. Chicago: Ezi Magbegor , Australia. Decided to play professional basketball at home instead of going to a U.S. college. She’s 6-foot-4 and athletic and will be a difficult guard for opposing teams. Would give new coach James Wade an athletic post player.
5. Dallas: Katie Lou Samuelson , UConn. Would give Dallas a much-needed consistent threat from the outside to potentially complement Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins.
6. Minnesota: Arike Ogunbowale , Notre Dame. Definitely knows how to hit the big shot after connecting on game-winners in the Final Four and NCAA title game last season.
7. Los Angeles: Napheesa Collier , UConn. New coach Derek Fisher would have gain another athletic post player to join Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker.
8. Phoenix: Brianna Turner , Notre Dame. Turner would provide coach Sandy Brondello more athleticism in the post. When healthy she’s one of the best players in college basketball.
9. Connecticut: Sophie Cunningham , Missouri. The 6-foot-1 Cunningham was an All-SEC pick last season who averaged 18.5 points and 4.7 rebounds. She could provide another offensive spark and toughness to the Sun.
10. Washington: Kristine Anigwe , California. Would give Mystics another athletic post player who knows how to score and rebound.
11. Atlanta: Alanna Smith , Stanford. Provides another 3-pointer shooter for the Dream as Smith is shooting 48 percent from behind the arc. She’s also strong on the defensive side blocking shots and stealing the ball.
12. Seattle: Anriel Howard , Mississippi State. Has been a solid contributor on both ends of the court for coach Vic Schaefer. Great rebounder for her size at 5-foot-11.
1. Phoenix: Jessica Shepard , Notre Dame. A terrific rebounder and scorer, Shepard showed last season at Notre Dame she can compete against elite-level players. She was instrumental in the Irish winning the national championship.
2. New York: Xu Han , China. The 19-year-old Chinese star had 20 points against the U.S. in the FIBA World Cup in September. She’s 6-foot-9 and only starting to tap into her talent. While she might be a few years away, coach Katie Smith was impressed with what she saw from Xu at the World Cup.
3. Chicago: Caliya Robinson , Georgia. A 6-foot-3 shot blocker who can also score. Would provide more depth in front court for Chicago.
4. Minnesota: Kenisha Bell , Minnesota. Cheryl Reeve would replace one Golden Gophers point guard with another. First-year coach Lindsay Whalen will have Bell ready for the pros.
5. Dallas: Marina Mabrey , Notre Dame: With Skylar Diggins’ status for the season up in the air due to her pregnency, would provide depth at the guard spot for new coach Brian Agler.
6. Minnesota: Kitija Laksa , South Florida. Laksa is recovering from an ACL tear and won’t be ready for the WNBA season, but is one of the top shooters in the college when healthy and showed she can play well against pros when she starred for Latvia at the World Cup.
7. Los Angeles: Chloe Jackson , Baylor. A huge game against UConn (11 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds), showed she can play against the best in college and moved her up the WNBA draft charts.
8. Minnesota: Jenna Allen , Michigan State. Is putting up big numbers for the Spartans this season and would provide frontcourt depth for the Lynx.
9. Connecticut: Megan Gustafson , Iowa. Leads the nation in scoring (26.4 points) and is fifth in rebounding. Would provide another strong inside presence for coach Curt Miller.
10. Dallas: Paris Kea , North Carolina. Can put points on the board as she became only the fourth Tar Heels player to score 1,000 points in her first two seasons with the program.
11. Atlanta: Kiara Leslie , N.C. State. Has had to step up her scoring lately with the injury to Grace Hunter. Will be a valuable scorer for the Dream.
12. Seattle: Cierra Dillard , Buffalo. A scorer who definitely has left her mark at Buffalo, getting them to the Sweet 16 last season.