The unofficial road to the 25th WNBA season began with the 25th edition of the WNBA Draft. Similar to 2020, the 2021 edition was also conducted virtually.
The first step for multiple women into the field of professional basketball, the 2021 WNBA Draft made history and saw teams restock and strengthen their roster ahead of the historic May 14th tip-off.
That said, here are the biggest storylines from the 2021 WNBA Draft:
Dallas creates young core with top picks
Looking to rebound from an 8-14 2020 season, the worst record in the Western Conference, the Dallas Wings owned multiple top picks in the Draft to bounce back.
The first team in WNBA history to own the top two picks in the WNBA Draft, the Wings selected two centers in Charli Collier and Awak Kuier with the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks respectively.
𝐇𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐎𝐑𝐘 𝐌𝐀𝐃𝐄. 💯@charlicollier x @KuierAwak #TakeFlight#WNBADraft pic.twitter.com/HYy5gLnka3- Dallas Wings (@DallasWings) April 15, 2021
After picking two towering players early, the Wings selected a couple of guards with their other top picks in Chelsea Dungee (No. 5 pick overall) and Dana Evans (13th overall, first pick in Round 2).
Collier, having spent three years in Texas, was always expected to go No. 1. Kuier is the first-ever player to be drafted from Finland. Dungee is her college's all-time scorer at Arkansas and a 2021 All-SEC First Team selection while Evans is a two-time ACC Player of the Year.
Expect plenty of excitement in Dallas this season with their wealth of young talent.
Strong international presence yet again
At the conclusion of the 2021 WNBA Draft, eight international players were selected by teams including three in the first round.
Kuier went No. 2 to Dallas, Aussie Shyla Heal went at No. 8 overall to the Chicago Sky, and French National Iliana Rupert capped it off the first round with last year's Finalists Las Vegas Aces selecting her.
First player 𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐑 from Finland to be drafted in the #WNBA! 🇫🇮#TakeFlight pic.twitter.com/rP6OyxeOs4- Dallas Wings (@DallasWings) April 16, 2021
The other international draftees selected were Raquel Carrera (Spain), Ivana Raca (Serbia), Marine Fauthoux (France), Florencia Chagas (Argentina) and Aina Ayuso (Spain).
Champs stay busy, select college champ
The reigning WNBA Champions - the Seattle Storm - were busy on Draft night. They started off with a Draft-day trade that saw acquiring third-year guard Kennedy Burke from Indiana in exchange for the rights to the 11th overall pick.
Then with the 18th overall pick, a selection they acquired from a trade last year, they picked Kiana Williams from Stanford - the 2021 NCAA Women's Champions.
From one championship team to another...@Kiana__W is headed to the @seattlestorm!#GoStanford #WNBADraft pic.twitter.com/p3NXrlqsBj- Stanford Women's Basketball (@StanfordWBB) April 16, 2021
They also added a couple of forwards with N'dea Jones (23rd overall) and Natalie Kucowski (35th overall).
Dream forms exciting young duo with McDonald selection
Aari McDonald used the NCAA Tournament to push her stock up and she's risen as high as No. 3 with the Atlanta Dream selecting her.
She caught fire in the tournament, averaging nearly 25 PPG in the tournament, while leading the Arizona Wildcats to the national championship game.
McDonald joins Chennedy Carter (No. 4 overall in 2020, finished 2020 ROY runner-up). With new ownership, including former Dream star Renee Montgomery, taking charge over the offseason, there should be good times ahead for the Dream, who finished with a 7-15 record in the bubble last season.
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