WNBA update: Breanna Stewart, 2019 draft

Despite being the offseason, it has been an eventful few weeks for the WNBA, with the future of the league drawing many questions.

First: the good news around the WNBA. The 2019 WNBA Draft is in the books, bringing many exciting new players into the fold. The Las Vegas Aces had the first overall pick and selected Jackie Young of Notre Dame. Interestingly, five Notre Dame players were taken within the first 20 picks. 2018 NCAA Tournament standout, Arike Ogunbowale of Notre Dame was selected fifth by the Dallas Wings.

For more local players, Missouri guard Sophie Cunningham went 13th to the Phoenix Mercury. Missouri State’s tournament opponent, Stanford’s Alana Smith went eighth, also to Phoenix.

Below are the full results of the three rounds of lottery picks as reported by slamonline.com/wnba:

ROUND 1

1. Las Vegas Aces: Jackie Young — Notre Dame

2. New York Liberty: Asia Durr — Louisville

3. Indiana Fever: Teaira McCowan — Mississippi State

4. Chicago Sky: Katie Lou Samuelson — UConn

5. Dallas Wings: Arike Ogunbowale — Notre Dame

6. Minnesota Lynx: Napheesa Collier — UConn

7. L.A. Sparks: Kalani Brown — Baylor

8. Phoenix Mercury: Alanna Smith — Stanford

9. Connecticut Sun: Kristine Anigwe — California

10. Washington Mystics: Kiara Leslie — NC State

11. Phoenix Mercury (from Atlanta): Brianna Turner — Notre Dame

12. Seattle Storm: Ezi Magbegor — Australia

ROUND 2

13. Phoenix Mercury: Sophie Cunningham — Missouri

14. New York Liberty: Han Xu — China

15. Chicago Sky: Chloe Jackson — Baylor

16. Minnesota Lynx: Jessica Shepard — Notre Dame

17. Dallas Wings: Megan Gustafson — Iowa

18. Connecticut Sun (from Minnesota): Natisha Hiedeman — Marquette

19. L.A. Sparks: Marina Mabrey —Notre Dame

20. Minnesota Lynx: Cierra Dillard — Buffalo

21. Connecticut Sun: Bridget Carleton — Iowa State

22. Dallas Wings: Kennedy Burke — UCLA

23. Atlanta Dream: Maite Cazorla — Oregon

24. Seattle Storm: Anriel Howard — Mississippi St

ROUND 3

25. Indiana Fever: Paris Kea — UNC

26. New York Liberty: Megan Huff — Utah

27. Chicago Sky: Maria Conde — Spain

28. Indiana Fever: Caliya Robinson — Georgia

29. Dallas Wings: Morgan Bertsch — UC-Davis

30. Minnesota Lynx: Kenisha Bell — Minnesota

31. L.A. Sparks: Angela Salvadores — Spain

32. Phoenix Mercury: Arica Carter — Louisville

33. Connecticut Sun: Regan Magarity — Virginia Tech

34. Mystics: Sam Fuehring — Louisville

35. Dream: Li Yueru — China

36. Storm: Macy Miller — South Dakota State

Plenty of familiar names here from the NCAA in addition to some intriguing overseas talent. We of course look forward to seeing these rookies in action with their new squads!

Breanna Stewart Injury

Unfortunately, the biggest news from the world of women’s hoops was an injury. Reigning MVP, Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm has suffered an achilles injury while playing in the Euroleague. It is looking like Stewart will not be able to help her Seattle team defend their title next season.

While the injury itself is the real news, the implications also raise some questions that have already been asked for years now. Why is the MVP playing overseas anyway? Simple: she makes more money playing for the Russian team, Dynamo Kursk than she does for the reigning WNBA championship team.

While WNBA health insurance does cover the injury, it clearly highlights an ongoing issue with professional women’s hoops.

The league’s players are not delusional about their monetary opportunities compared to their male counterparts in the NBA. The NBA commands substantially more revenue than the WNBA. However, steps should probably be taken if the league can’t even afford to monopolize what is likely it’s top player.

Everyone accepts that in basketball women will not get paid what the men get paid, at least for the foreseeable future. What the players do want is a piece of the pie that is comparable. Men draw a larger percentage of the league’s revenue than the women do. Whether or not the WNBA can afford to give their players a similar opportunity depends on their overhead but also their willingness to increase player salaries.

Breanna Stewart’s injury will likely become a rallying call for a new collective bargaining agreement between the players and the league. This could be an interesting offseason.

That’s it for now! Keep checking back for basketball news from all levels, tips, and training opportunities here at The Basketball Movement.

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