The 2023 WNBA Draft is right around the corner, and while South Carolina star Aliyah Boston is widely expected to be picked No. 1 overall by the Indiana Fever, there isn’t nearly as much of a consensus on what will happen after that. The large number of NCAA players exercising their fifth year of eligibility — many of whom would otherwise be clear first- or second-round picks in this year’s draft — have made the 2023 class a difficult one to evaluate.
Nevertheless, there are still plenty of storylines to follow in this draft, especially from the perspectives of the Minnesota Lynx and Seattle Storm, who will in all likelihood be rebuilding during the 2023 WNBA season. The Lynx, along with the Fever, Dallas Wings and Atlanta Dream, all have multiple first-round picks, too, so it will be interesting to see how each of those teams prioritizes long-term player development versus immediate positional need.
Here is SB Nation’s official 2023 WNBA mock draft, including predictions and analysis for all three rounds and all 36 draft picks.
1. Indiana Fever: Aliyah Boston, C (South Carolina)
There’s been an air of inevitability about this pick for a long time, as the 2023 draft lottery was more or less considered to be the Boston sweepstakes. The 6’5 center was pro-ready long before her senior season, and she was the anchor of a Gamecocks program that went a combined 129-9, made three NCAA Final Fours and won the 2022 national championship during her time there. Boston shot 54.6 percent from the field during her collegiate career while recording an offensive rebounding rate of 13.6 percent or better in every season, but it’s her defense that truly separates her from the pack, protecting the rim at an elite level while very rarely fouling. The two-time Naismith Defensive Player of the Year is just who the Fever need to drag them back to respectability.
2. Minnesota Lynx: Diamond Miller, G/F (Maryland)
Miller is one of the most intriguing athletic specimens in the class, standing at 6’3 with the ball skills of players several inches shorter. Her long strides and polished footwork allow her to extend past and through defenses for unique and dynamic finishes at the hoop, and the two-time All-Big Ten first-teamer flashed her defensive prowess as a senior, too, posting career-highs in both steal (3.3 percent) and block rate (4.7 percent). The Lynx need to take the best player available at No. 2, and while there are several avenues they can take, it’s hard to see them passing on someone with Miller’s upside.
3. Dallas Wings: Jordan Horston, G (Tennessee)
An explosive wing who finishes at the rim with an extra gear of athleticism, Horston played several roles for the Lady Vols, leading the team in rebounds (7.1), assists (3.3) and steals (1.6) per game while ranking second in points (15.6) as a senior. She’s at her best with the ball in her hands, and while Dallas has several players like that already in Arike Ogunbowale and Diamond DeShields, it doesn’t currently have much depth behind them. If Horston can shoot the three-pointer on acceptable efficiency, her physical gifts will take care of the rest in fulfilling her potential as a lottery talent.
4. Washington Mystics: Haley Jones, G/F (Stanford)
Perhaps the most unique player in the class in both her strengths and weaknesses, Jones brings a great deal of versatility to the table, passing the ball with flair from the wing and shrugging off contact at the rim with her large frame. Her three-point shot remains a concern after shooting just 3-for-32 (9.4 percent) as a senior, the 2021 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player has almost everything else, including a terrific feel for the game and defensive versatility that will make her a dream to coach. The Mystics’ history of success developing players would make Washington a good spot for Jones, and her on-court connectivity would benefit a roster that’s otherwise a bit short on playmaking.
5. Dallas Wings: Maddy Siegrist, F (Villanova)
Once a relatively unheralded high school recruit, Siegrist is now one of the most accomplished players in Big East history, winning the conference’s Player of the Year award for a second-straight season after averaging 29.2 points (1.19 points per scoring attempt) and 9.2 rebounds per game as a senior. Siegrist can score both inside and out with remarkable ease, and while it’s a fair question as to where she will defend in the WNBA, her offensive bag is deep enough to make things work almost anywhere. Dallas, in particular, could use a forward with a reliable jump shot, especially after investing heavily in traditional bigs Teaira McCowan and Natasha Howard this past offseason.
6. Atlanta Dream: Stephanie Soares, C (Iowa State)
Soares seemed on her way to making a major impact in her first season with the Cyclones before a torn ACL sidelined her prematurely. The 13 games she played in, though, showcased her abilities: Soares averaged 14.4 points (1.20 points per scoring attempt), 9.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game and, at 6’6, showed flashes of stretching her game beyond the three-point line. The two-time NAIA Division I Player of the Year is still on the mend and won’t be able to play in the WNBA this season, but when she’s healthy again, several of the Dream’s current frontcourt players will no longer be under contract, making Soares an ideal candidate to “draft and stash” for the future.
7. Indiana Fever: Brea Beal, G/F (South Carolina)
The Fever have made it no secret that they’re trying to improve defensively after ranking last in the WNBA in defensive rating (108.1 points allowed per 100 possessions) for the third consecutive season, and while they have several wing players already under contract, none of them are considered to be defensive stoppers. Drafting Beal would change that. A large (6’1) and highly physical presence on the perimeter, Beal embodied the Gamecocks’ defense-first culture, and while her ability to score the ball consistently will be tested in the WNBA, it won’t necessarily be a priority on a Fever team that already has plenty of shooting, either.
8. Atlanta Dream: Lou Lopez Sénéchal, G/F (UConn)
Lopez Sénéchal was a savior for UConn in what was an otherwise trying season for the storied program, joining the Huskies after four years at Fairfield and playing the best basketball of her career. She shot better than 40 percent (44 percent, to be exact) on three-pointers for the third consecutive season, and while she has a smoothness to her game that makes her a relatively versatile scorer, don’t be surprised if she’s used more as an outside shooting specialist in the WNBA. It’s something the Dream, who are quite thin on the perimeter, sorely need heading into 2023.
9. Seattle Storm: Laeticia Amihere, F (South Carolina)
This would be an upside play for the Storm, who have committed to a rebuild but are in a suboptimal draft position to do so – this year, at least. Amihere didn’t get much shine in a stacked Gamecocks frontcourt, but her physical tools are undoubtedly at a pro level: She has a massive 6’10 wingspan, projects to be a defensive playmaker (6.1 percent block rate as a senior) and recently showcased her game-changing athleticism on the international stage for Canada during the 2022 FIBA World Cup. Seattle would be able to give Amihere plenty of reps and time to develop in 2023, and would ideally give the Storm a full 40 minutes of shot blocking behind center Ezi Magbegor.
10. Los Angeles Sparks: Ashley Joens, F (Iowa State)
The Sparks find themselves quite thin on the wing, with both Stephanie Talbot (ACL) and Katie Lou Samuelson (pregnancy) out for the foreseeable future. Drafting Joens would fulfill this positional need, and her offensive role could easily mimic those of the aforementioned payers; the three-time Cheryl Miller Award winner and reigning Big 12 Player of the Year regularly ranked among the most prolific three-point shooters in the country for Iowa State (35.3 percent on 7.9 threes attempted per game in 2022-23), and her physicality allowed her to punish smaller players in the paint and get to the free throw line (6.3 free throw attempts per game) on a regular basis.
11. Dallas Wings: Taylor Mikesell, G (Ohio State)
The Wings have several players who excel with the ball in their hands, but could use an off-ball threat to complement them. As one of the country’s premier movement shooters, Mikesell would fit that bill; during her two seasons at Ohio State, Mikesell took and made three-pointers at an elite rate, knocking down 44.2 percent of her 7.6 attempts per game. Mikesell can attack closeouts, too, though her role in the WNBA will more than likely be to simply bomb away with her quick release and knack for relocating without the ball.
12. Minnesota Lynx: Grace Berger, G (Indiana)
Berger’s career at Indiana was defined by unflappable steadiness and a deadly midrange jumpshot, the former of which would be of great use to the Lynx as they officially enter a rebuilding phase. At 6-foot, Berger has a height advantage over most other point guards, and while Minnesota has already signed several of them to training camp contracts, none offer the combination of size and playmaking ability that Berger does. If she can ever extend her range past the three-point line, she’ll turn into a valuable player.
13. Indiana Fever: Zia Cooke, G (South Carolina)
Cooke’s shooting numbers at South Carolina weren’t always the most consistent, but they usually undersold her value to the Gamecocks, who often relied solely on her for jumpshooting in an otherwise cramped halfcourt offense. The 2023 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award winner has little trouble getting to the rim (5.8 free throw attempts per 40 minutes) and an ability to hit jumpers both off the bounce and off screens. Cooke may very well flourish in WNBA floor spacing, and her on-ball defense is also better than it’s generally credited for, playing a key role for the Gamecocks in guarding opposing perimeter scorers.
14. Los Angeles Sparks: Taylor Soule, F (Virginia Tech)
Soule’s scoring took more of a back seat upon her transfer to Virginia Tech, but she was a massively important player to a Hokies team that was the most successful in program history. At 5’11, Soule players bigger than her height; she can defend up and rebound the basketball (12.0 percent offensive rebounding rate), while she proved to be a foul-drawing phenom during her time at Boston College, recording at least 23 percent of her points at the free throw line in every season there. Soule’s physicality will have no issue translating to the WNBA, and she’d add more defensive versatility to a Sparks team that could use a player who relentlessly pursues the basketball.
15. Atlanta Dream: Leigha Brown, G/F (Michigan)
Brown was miscast as a lead guard during her final season at Michigan, which only drew more attention to how valuable she was to a Wolverines team hurting for ball handlers. She assisted on 39.5 percent of her teammates’ baskets – a remarkable feat for a 6’1 wing – and scored the ball efficiently, too, averaging 17.5 points per game on 1.20 points per scoring attempt. The All-Big Ten first-teamer will ideally shift back into more of an off-ball role in the WNBA, which would suit the Dream just fine, though her playmaking potential shouldn’t be discounted completely, especially at the small forward position.
16. Minnesota Lynx: Maïa Hirsch, F/C (France)
Minnesota won’t be in a hurry to compete in the days immediately following the Sylvia Fowles era, which is an ideal opportunity to draft and develop an international player. At 19 years old, Hirsch has already proven herself to be a versatile defensive big in both international competitions and the French LFB, and it’s unlikely that any of Minnesota’s current frontcourt players are in the team’s long-term plans, so Hirsch would be welcome on the roster sooner rather than later.
17. Indiana Fever: Shaneice Swain, G (Australia)
The Fever will have already picked three times by this point in the draft and will likely have an idea of who will make their regular-season roster, so an international player they could stash would make sense here. Swain is part of the next wave of young Australian talent that will undoubtedly be making noise on the international circuit; her game is still developing, but she already has a silky-smooth jump shot (14.5 points per game and 36.2 percent three-point shooting in the Australian WNBL) and can get to the rim as well as players several years her elder.
18. Seattle Storm: Madi Williams, F (Oklahoma)
An athletically gifted perimeter player, Williams feasts in the open court, and she’s played a major role for an Oklahoma team that has ranked among the nation’s best in pace and points per game the past two seasons. Williams herself was the most efficient she’s ever been (1.16 points per scoring attempt) in her fifth year, and her high-octane style of play would be a nice shot in the arm for a Storm roster that will be searching for additional perimeter scoring.
19. Dallas Wings: Alexis Morris, G (LSU)
The fourth time turned out to be the charm for Morris, who bounced back from off-court concerns and trouble getting off the bench at several schools prior to LSU and finally found her footing with the Tigers. The skilled lead guard certainly finished her career on a high note, leading LSU to its first-ever national championship and showcasing her ability to score at the rim and shoot off the dribble. Those skills have never been in question, though, and Morris peaking at the right time could have only helped her draft stock; she’d be fully capable of pushing the rest of Dallas’ guards in training camp and even making the team’s final roster.
20. Washington Mystics: Abby Meyers, G/F (Maryland)
Meyers’ decision to transfer to Maryland for her final season turned out to be beneficial for all parties as the 6-foot wing continued the steady play that earned her Ivy League Player of the Year honors as a junior. With her ability to shoot the ball from midrange and from long distance (38.8 percent three-point shooting at Maryland), Meyers would add another off-ball threat to a Washington roster that could stand to balance out its group of defensive-minded perimeter players.
21. Seattle Storm: Dorka Juhász, F/C (UConn)
Juhász’s skill from the center position was on full display during her bounceback graduate season at UConn, averaging 3.2 assists per game at 6’5 and nearly contributing a double-double (14.2 points and 9.9 rebounds). Juhász has been a streaky outside shooter throughout her collegiate career, but can do most other things asked of WNBA bigs who play a connecting role, which is something the rebuilding Storm could use to complement the rest of their young pieces.
22. Connecticut Sun: Txell Alarcon, G (Spain)
By this point in the draft, teams will probably start considering using their remaining picks on international players who can be “stashed” and rostered at a later date. The 19-year old Alarcon has rarely played large offensive roles for the pro teams she’s been on in Spain, but a quick jumpshot release and knack for moving without the basketball make her a valuable movement shooter who could be a coveted three-point specialist in the WNBA somewhere down the line.
23. Chicago Sky: Brittany Davis, G (Alabama)
The Sky loaded up on free agent signings after losing the majority of their core this past offseason, but their roster currently lacks ball handlers and perimeter shooters. Davis could fill at least once of those roles; for two consecutive seasons at Alabama, she averaged over 17 points per game and knocked down better than 35 percent of the 464 total three-pointers she attempted, making the All-SEC first team on both occasions. Davis also has an aggressive take to the hoop that keeps her from being a one-dimensional offensive player and would fit well with the downhill pace Chicago will need to play with in 2023.
24. Minnesota Lynx: Claudia Contell, G (Spain)
Contell would be another “stash” pick for the Lynx, who will in all likelihood be playing for lottery balls in 2023. The 2022 FIBA U20 European Championship MVP has flashed high upside as a defensive playmaker, averaging 3.1 steals per game during the competition, and while she hasn’t yet played a large role at the professional level in Spain, her draft rights would be well worth the gamble for a team that probably wouldn’t be able to make good use of this pick otherwise.
25. Indiana Fever: Kayana Traylor, G (Virginia Tech)
Traylor’s ability to play with or without the ball played a key role in the Hokies’ success in 2022-23, and this versatility will likely remain her calling card as she competes for a spot in the WNBA. She did a little bit of everything as Virginia Tech’s tertiary offensive option, shooting better than 50 percent on 2-pointers for the second-straight season while averaging 3.1 free throw attempts and 2.9 assists, and her strength off the dribble will make her a welcome training camp addition to whichever WNBA team drafts her.
26. Los Angeles Sparks: Elena Tsineke, G (South Florida)
It was a banner season for Tsineke, who posted career-highs in points (17.9) and three-point accuracy (38.3 percent) for the Bulls, who breezed through AAC play at 15-1. The conference co-Player of the Year can make plays for others in a pinch, though she’s at her best when she’s hunting her own shot, whether it be getting to the rim off the dribble or pulling up for the jumpshot. She’d make for a good training camp addition for the Sparks, who could use another guard who can shoot the ball at a high level.
27. Phoenix Mercury: Angel Baker, G (Ole Miss)
Baker played a key role for an Ole Miss team that made a deeper-than-expected NCAA Tournament run, and her steadiness as an outside shooter (37.5 percent on three-pointers) was especially valuable considering how little offense the Rebels otherwise got from beyond the arc (21.1 percent of their points came from three). Baker’s game profiles more as a combo guard than a traditional point guard, but on a Mercury roster that features the WNBA’s most dominant low-post player in Brittney Griner, she’d be encouraged to look for those outside shots far more than in college.
28. Minnesota Lynx: Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, C (South Florida)
There’s not much certainty in the Lynx frontcourt at the moment, with Natalie Achonwa recently having given birth and several other players signed to no-risk training camp contracts. If Minnesota is looking to add another big for training camp, Fankam Mendjiadeu would be a solid candidate; she shot a career-best 58.6 percent from the field as a senior and averaged a double-double of 16.5 points and 12.3 rebounds per game en route to AAC co-Player of the Year honors.
29. Phoenix Mercury: Sidney Cooks, F/C (Seton Hall)
Bigs who can shoot from the outside have become increasingly coveted among WNBA teams in recent seasons, and while there aren’t many true “stretch bigs” in this draft class, Cooks definitely makes the short list. In her final season at Seton Hall, Cooks shot 53-for-124 (42.7 percent) on three-pointers, and the Mercury don’t have a frontcourt player like her on their roster, so drafting her would at the very least add some optionality to their team in training camp.
30. New York Liberty: Diamond Battles, G (Georgia)
There isn’t much the Liberty need after an incredible offseason, and this is their first and only draft pick, so don’t expect anything exciting. Battles is the type of player any team would love to have on its training camp roster; the SEC All-Defensive nominee and former AAC Defensive Player of the Year is excellent defending the point of attack, and her hard-nosed play carries over to the offensive side of the ball as well, where she averaged 5.6 free throw attempts per game during her graduate season. She’d be a great candidate to push the rest of New York’s guards in camp.
31. Dallas Wings: Dara Mabrey, G (Notre Dame)
Mabrey’s graduate season at Notre Dame was cut short due to an ACL injury, and though she wasn’t shooting the ball at her normal standards (at least 36.9 percent three-point shooting on 5.2 or more attempts per game in each of her previous four seasons), the Irish were noticeably worse off without her. The Wings could draft Mabrey at No. 31 and keep her rights until she’s healthy, then sign her and let her compete in training camp in 2024.
32. Washington Mystics: Chrislyn Carr, G (Louisville)
Carr had a terrific season shooting the basketball for Louisville, knocking down 88-of-207 (42.5 percent) of her three-point attempts. The former Big 12 Freshman of the Year fit well in a Cardinals system that relied on several players to make plays rather than lean on a single guard to dominate the basketball, so it’s easy to see her doing the same for a Mystics team that has historically had a similar emphasis.
33. Seattle Storm: Myah Selland, F (South Dakota State)
A two-time Summit League Player of the Year, Selland was one of the most efficient players among mid-majors during her extensive career at South Dakota State, scoring 1.21 points per attempt in four consecutive seasons and better than 42 percent on three-pointers in her last two seasons. Whether she’ll be able to handle WNBA athleticism is a legitimate question, but she’s worth a third-round pick based on her shooting alone.
34. Connecticut Sun: Brooke Flowers, C (Saint Louis)
It’s highly unlikely that whoever the Sun draft here will make the team’s final roster, but if they’re looking for another big to compete in training camp, Flowers would be a nice choice. The 6’5 center is a two-time A10 Defensive Player of the Year, recording a block rate of 10 percent or higher in three of her five seasons at Saint Louis and blocking the most shots in the country (133) in her fifth year of eligibility.
35. Chicago Sky: Kamaria McDaniel, G (Michigan State)
McDaniel has had an up-and-down collegiate career, averaging nearly 20 points per game for Penn State as a junior before a knee injury cost her significant time. She was healthy again in 2022-23, though, oftentimes carrying the Michigan State offense with an explosion off the dribble matched by few players in the Big Ten. Chicago will need all the help it can get in the backcourt in training camp, and if the Sky feel like McDaniel is healthy enough to contribute, she could get a look here.
36. Las Vegas Aces: Monika Czinano, C (Iowa)
Czinano was an integral part of Iowa’s success thanks to incredibly efficient 2-point scoring (66 percent shooting or better in each of her past four seasons) and was named to the All-Big Ten first team four times. How she’ll defend in space in the WNBA will be a major concern, and it’s not like the Aces will be looking for a rotation player with the last pick in the draft, but Czinano’s physicality and pick-and-roll play on offense could make her a nice training camp participant.