Jackie Young said it was a dream come to true to be taken first in the WNBA draft.
The Notre Dame guard, who decided to enter the draft early and skip her senior season, was selected No 1 by the Las Vegas Aces on Wednesday night.
She’s the second Irish player to be drafted first after entering early joining Jewell Loyd, who had the honor in 2015. It’s the third consecutive year the Aces have had the No 1 pick. They took Kelsey Plum in 2017 when the franchise was still in San Antonio. The Aces then drafted A’ja Wilson last season with the No 1 pick when the franchise moved to Las Vegas.
Young was the first of potentially five Notre Dame players to be drafted. Arike Ogunbowale went fifth to Dallas. Brianna Turner went 11th to the Atlanta Dream. Jessica Shepard and Marina Mabrey also expected to be taken. Tennessee is the only school to have that occur with college players, in 2008. Candace Parker was taken first. Alexis Hornbuckle was drafted fourth. Shannon Bobbitt and Nicky Anosike went back-to-back in the second round and Alberta Auguste was taken in the third round.
Asia Durr went second to the New York Liberty. The Louisville guard, who was a two-time AP All-American, was the No 2 scorer in school history. The Indiana Fever then took Mississippi State center Teaira McCowan at No 3. Chicago drafted a UConn player for the second consecutive season taking Katie Lou Samuelson fourth reconnecting her with former Huskies teammate Gabby Williams.
Another UConn player went sixth with Napheesa Collier headed to Minnesota. The Los Angeles Sparks took Baylor center Kalani Brown seventh. It’s been a whirlwind 72 hours for the 6ft 7in center as she helped Baylor win a national championship on Sunday.
Australian Alanna Smith, who helped Stanford win the Pac-12 tournament title was drafted eighth by Phoenix. The Mercury are coached by fellow Aussie Sandy Brondello. Kristine Anigwe went ninth to Connecticut. The Cal center, who led the nation in rebounding, was the national defensive player of the year. Washington took Kiara Leslie with the 10th pick and Ezi Magbegor closed out the opening round by going to defending champion Seattle.
Han Xu, the young 6ft 9in star who impressed WNBA coaches and general managers with her play at the FIBA world championship last fall, was taken by the Liberty in the second round, becoming the first Chinese player drafted since 1997.
The WNBA season opens on 24 May with training camps opening up a few weeks earlier.