March Madness is where heroes are made.
It’s quite common for players to use the Big Dance as an opportunity to showcase their abilities to takeover games in order to raise their draft stock.
But with the tournaments canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, players — like DePaul’s Chante Stonewall, Northwestern’s Abi Scheid and Rice’s Erica Ogumike — won’t get a final chance to turn heads before the April 17 WNBA draft.
Despite other sporting events being canceled and leagues postponed, the WNBA hasn’t made a decision as to what they plan to do with their season opener just two months away. As of now, the league is monitoring the situation and promised an update toward the end of this month.
With the draft one month away, here’s a premature look at what could happen in the first round:
1. New York Liberty: Sabrina Ionescu
5’10, PG, Oregon
Ionescu seems to be exactly what the rebuilding Liberty need, especially with their move to the Barclays Center this season. The do-it-all guard was one of the most recognizable faces and overall greatest talents in college basketball last season. She finished her career with 26 triple-doubles, an NCAA record, and could make an immediate impact both on and off the court this season.
2. Dallas Wings: Satou Sabally
6’4, SF, Oregon
Sabally announced last month that she would forgo her senior season and enter the 2020 draft. She has tremendous upside and could bring an instant scoring boost to the Wings, who finished in the bottom two for scoring last season.
3. Indiana Fever: Lauren Cox
6’4, PF, Baylor
Cox is a talented shot blocker who can also shoot from long range. She’s suffered injuries in the past, including a foot injury last season which limited her to 22 games. Still, she or Sabally would be great choices for Fever legend Tamika Catchings’ first pick as the team’s new general manager.
4. Atlanta Dream: Chennedy Carter
5’7, PG, Texas A&M
The Dream could use an electrifying scorer like Carter to pair with Courtney Williams after Angel McCoughtry’s departure during free agency. Carter is a draft-eligible junior, but hasn’t official decided on what she might do next. The deadline to declare for the draft is April 7, though that could change.
5. Dallas Wings: Beatrice Mompremier
6’4, PF/C, Miami
Mompremier came back “extra motivated” after a foot injury sidelined her for 13 games and finished her senior season strong. She’s an athletic big who can shoot from anywhere on the court. She could be another solid addition to the Wings youthful roster.
6. Minnesota Lynx: Crystal Dangerfield
5’5, PG, UConn
The Lynx could use a point guard after Danielle Robinson signed with the Aces last month and Dangerfield has the potential to be the next great WNBA point guard to come out of UConn. Why not reunite her with reigning Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier with whom she went to three Final Fours with?
7. Dallas Wings: Te’a Cooper
5’8, PG, Baylor
The Wings have four first-round picks, though they’re training-camp roster is already maxed out at 15, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they traded at least one of their two lower first-round picks to another team. With that said, Cooper, who’s coming off a breakout season at Baylor, seems like a right fit if she’s available at No. 7.
8. Chicago Sky: Ruthy Hebard
6’4, PF, Oregon
Hebard does most of her damage in the paint, which could be valuable for the Sky who is loaded with perimeter shooting as is. She’d also bolster the team’s front court that lost last season’s breakout star Astou Ndour via trade last month.
9. Dallas Wings: Megan Walker
6’1, SF, UConn
Walker declared for the draft last week to the surprise of some. The junior led the Huskies in scoring and rebound this season and has played in two Final Fours, she hasn’t consistently been an X factor in big games and some believe she could’ve benefitted from another year of college ball.
10. Phoenix Mercury: Bella Alarie
6’4, SF, Princeton
Alarie has the chance to be the first Ivy League player to go in the first round since Allison Feaster (Harvard) in 1998. She was easily best player in the conference and hasn’t even reached her full potential yet. Her numbers took a slight dip from last season, when she averaged a double-double, but she was a leader on Princeton team that went 26-1.
11. Seattle Storm: Tyasha Harris
5’10, PG, South Carolina
Harris has developed the reputation of a point guard who makes others around her better. She’s an outstanding leader and helped guide a young South Carolina roster to a 32-1 record this season. With this season likely being Sue Bird’s last, the Storm could invest in the future by nabbing Harris.
12. Washington Mystics: Arella Guirantes
5’11, G, Rutgers
Coach C. Vivian Stringer has a reputation for developing well-rounded and aggressive WNBA players. And Guirantes, a draft-eligible redshirt junior, has proven to fit that bill over the last two seasons with Rutgers. With Kristi Toliver gone, the Mystics could use fearless competitor like Guirantes.