All-America Third Team selection Jackie Young of Notre Dame tonight was selected by the Las Vegas Aces with the first overall pick of WNBA Draft 2019 presented by State Farm, which was held at the Nike New York Headquarters.
Young, the first Notre Dame player to record two triple-doubles in a season, is the Aces’ third consecutive No. 1 overall pick, joining reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year A’ja Wilson (2018) and NCAA all-time leading scorer Kelsey Plum (2017). The 6-foot guard from Princeton, Ind., was a consensus All-ACC Second Team selection this season and helped lead the Fighting Irish to a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA title game.
With the No. 2 overall pick, the New York Liberty selected Louisville guard Asia Durr. The 5-10 Georgia native won the 2018-19 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the nation’s best shooting guard. As a junior and senior, Durr was named an AP All-America First Team honoree, the ACC Player of the Year, and a Wooden Award finalist for national player of the year. She is Louisville’s career leader in three-pointers made and the No. 2 scorer in school history.
With the third pick, the Indiana Fever selected 6-7 center Teaira McCowan from Mississippi State. The two-time AP First Team All-American is a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award and Wade Trophy as the national player of the year. She earned WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year honors this season and was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year the last two seasons. McCowan helped MSU reach the national title game as a sophomore and junior.
The Chicago Sky used the fourth pick to select Katie Lou Samuelson from Connecticut. Samuelson was a part of four Final Four teams and won a national championship in 2016. The 6-3 guard/forward made the AP All-America First Team twice and shot 41.5 percent from three-point range for her career. Her older sister, Karlie, is entering her second WNBA season with the Los Angeles Sparks.
With the fifth pick, the Dallas Wings selected Notre Dame guard Arike Ogunbowale. The Fighting Irish’s career points leader was a finalist for the 2018-19 Dawn Staley Award as the nation’s top guard. Ogunbowale was an AP All-America Second Team and All-ACC First Team honoree this season and scored the second-most points in a national title game in history (31). In 2018, the 5-8 Milwaukee native hit game-winning, buzzer-beating shots in the national semifinals and the title game to lift the Irish to the championship.
Connecticut forward Napheesa Collier became the second Huskies player taken in the first round when the Minnesota Lynx selected her with the No. 6 pick. The AP First Team All-American won the Katrina McClain Award as the nation’s top power forward this season.
The Sparks followed by taking Baylor center Kalani Brown at No. 7. Brown led the Lady Bears to the 2019 national title and was a two-time AP All-America Second Team selection. The 6-7 Louisiana native is the daughter of 15-year NBA veteran P.J. Brown.
Two Pac 12 forwards were the next two players to come off the board. At No. 8, the Phoenix Mercury selected Stanford’s Alanna Smith. A member of the Australia National Team, Smith joined Elena Delle Donne, Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart as the only players in the last 20 years to accumulate career totals of 1,600 points, 150 three-pointers and 200 blocks. At No. 9, the Connecticut Sun chose California’s Kristine Anigwe, who earned All-America, All Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honors in each of her four seasons. Anigwe was this season’s Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and finished as Cal’s career leader in points, rebounds and blocks.
In the second round, China’s Han Xu became the first graduate of the NBA Academies program to be drafted into the WNBA or NBA when the Liberty selected her 14th overall. NBA Academies include educational development for top male and female prospects from outside the U.S. and mark a signature elite development initiative for the NBA. Han is a member of the China National Team and previously trained at The NBA Academy Shandong.
Later in the round, the Sparks took guard Marina Mabrey with the 19th overall pick, making Notre Dame the first school to have five players drafted in a single year since Tennessee in 2008. The Irish’s career leader in three-pointers joins Young, Ogunbowale, Turner and Jessica Shepard as 2019 draftees.
WNBA Draft 2019 presented by State Farm took place on the same day that single-game tickets go on sale for many teams for the league’s 23rd season, which tips off on Friday, May 24. For ticket information, fans can visit wnba.com/tickets or team websites.