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:
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
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
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.