WNBA Draft returns to in-person format April 11 in New York

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce the picks live on ESPN, with coverage beginning at 7 p.m.

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Arike Ogunbowale takes a selfie with her family before the 2019 WNBA basketball draft in New York.

Arike Ogunbowale takes a selfie with her family before the 2019 WNBA basketball draft in New York.

Julie Jacobson/AP

For the first time since 2019, the WNBA Draft is returning to an in-person format that will be held April 11 at Spring Studios in New York.

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce the picks live on ESPN, with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. The Sky, who have no picks in this year’s draft, traded their first-round pick in a three-team sign-and-trade deal that sent Diamond DeShields to the Phoenix Mercury, Julie Allemand to the Sky and the No. 7 pick in this year’s draft along with the Sky’s first-round pick next year to the Indiana Fever.

Jackie Young was the No. 1 overall pick taken by the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA’s last in-person draft in 2019. That was Sky coach/general manager James Wade’s first draft with the team, and he selected Katie Lou Samuelson with the fourth overall pick and Chloe Jackson with the third pick of the second round. Wade chose Maria Conde with the third pick in the third round.

Less than a year after drafting Samuelson, Wade dealt her to the Dallas Wings for Azurá Stevens.

The 2020 virtual draft, which saw Sabrina Ionescu taken first overall by the New York Liberty, was the most watched WNBA Draft since Diana Taurasi was drafted first in 2004. It saw a 123% increase in viewership from the 2019 draft and averaged 387,000 viewers.

Wade selected Ruthy Hebard with the eighth pick in 2020 and Shyla Heal with the eighth pick in 2021. Heal was traded along with the Sky’s 2022 third-round pick to the Wings less than two months later for Dana Evans.

Ahead of last year’s draft, the Sky dealt their 2022 second-round pick to the Wings for their 2021 second-round pick. Wade used that pick to select Natasha Mack.

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