The 2022 WNBA Draft has finally arrived, and for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be held in person in New York City. Players selected will once again get to go on stage, receive a jersey and meet with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
After the Atlanta Dream pulled off a blockbuster trade to acquire the No. 1 overall pick, the Dream selected Rhyne Howard. NaLyssa Smith and Shakira Austin followed at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. This is a deep class, but there is not much separation between a group of about a dozen players, which should lead to an interesting night. Here are the biggest needs and best fits for every team.
Draft results – Round 1
|1||Atlanta Dream||Rhyne Howard
|2||Indiana Fever||NaLyssa Smith
|3||Washington Mystics||Shakira Austin
|4||Indiana Fever||Emily Engstler||Forward||Louisville|
|5||New York Liberty||Nyara Sabally||Forward||Oregon|
|6||Indiana Fever||Lexie Hull||Guard||Stanford|
|7||Dallas Wings||Veronica Burton||Guard||Northwestern|
|8||Las Vegas Aces||Mya Hollingshed||Forward||Colorado|
|9||Los Angeles Sparks||Rae Burrell||Guard||Tennessee|
|10||Indiana Fever||Queen Egbo||Center||Baylor|
|11||Las Vegas Aces||Kierstan Bell||Guard||Florida Gulf Coast|
|12||Connecticut Sun||Nia Clouden||Guard||Michigan State|
Draft results – Round 2
13. Aces: Khayla Pointer — LSU — Guard
14. Mystics: Christyn Williams — UConn — Guard
15. Dream: Naz Hillmon — Michigan — Forward
16. Sparks: Kianna Smith — Louisville — Guard
17. Storm: Elissa Cunane — NC State — Center
18. Liberty: Lorela Cubaj — Georgia Tech — Forward (via trade with Storm)
19. Sparks: Olivia Nelson-Ododa — UConn — Forward
20. Fever: Destanni Henderson — South Carolina — Guard
21. Storm: Evina Westbrook — UConn — Guard
22. Lynx: Kayla Jones — NC State — Forward
23. Aces: Aisha Sheppard — Virginia Tech — Guard
24. Sun: Jordan Lewis — Baylor — Guard
Draft results – Round 3
25. Fever: Ameshya Williams-Holliday — Jackson State — Center
26. Mercury: Maya Dodson — Notre Dame — Forward
27. Sparks: Amy Atwell — University of Hawaii — Forward
28. Lynx: Hannah Sjerven — South Dakota — Center
29. Liberty: Sika Kone — Mali — Center
30. Wings: Jasmine Dickey — Delaware — Guard
31. Wings: Jazz Bond — North Florida — Forward
32. Mercury: Macee Williams — IUPUI — Forward/Center
33. Storm: Jade Melbourne — Australia — Guard
34. Fever: Ali Patberg — Indiana — Guard
35. Aces: Faustine Aifuwa — LSU — Center
36. Sun: Kiara Smith — Florida — Guard
CBS Sports provided live updates and analysis from the 2022 WNBA Draft. You can relive that coverage below.
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Third round results:
25. Indiana Fever: Ameshya Williams-Holliday, Jackson State
26. Phoenix Mercury: Maya Dodson, Notre Dame
27. Los Angeles Sparks: Amy Atwell, Hawaii
28. Minnesota Lynx: Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota
29. New York Liberty: Sika Kone, Mali
30. Dallas Wings: Jasmine Dickey, Delaware
31. Dallas Wings: Jazz Bond, North Florida
32. Phoenix Mercury: Macee Williams, IUPUI
33. Seattle Storm: Jade Melbourne, Australia
34. Indiana Fever: Ali Patberg, Indiana
35. Las Vegas Aces: Faustine Aifuwa, LSU
36. Connecticut Sun: Kiara Smith, Florida
Second round results:
13. Las Vegas Aces: Khayla Pointer, LSU
14. Washington Mystics: Christyn Williams, UConn
15. Atlanta Dream: Naz Hillmon, Michigan
16. Los Angeles Sparks: Kianna Smith, Louisville
17. Seattle Storm: Elissa Cunane, NC State
18. New York Liberty: Lorela Cubaj, Georgia Tech
19. Los Angeles Sparks: Olivia Nelson-Ododa, UConn
20. Indiana Fever: Destanni Henderson, South Carolina
21. Seattle Storm: Evina Westbrook, UConn
22. Minnesota Lynx: Kayla Jones, NC State
23. Las Vegas Aces: Aisha Sheppard, Virginia Tech
24. Connecticut Sun: Jordan Lewis, Baylor
Napheesa Collier update:
The Minnesota Lynx star is pregnant and has a tentative due date of May 31, per Holly Rowe on the broadcast. Collier is going to wait and see how her body feels and how the delivery goes before she makes a decision on playing this season. “I don’t want to rush coming back but I do have motivation to be there and play with Sylvia Fowles if I can,” Collier told Rowe. Fowles, the legendary center, announced that this will be her final season in the WNBA.
No. 12 overall pick
Connecticut Sun: Nia Clouden, Michigan State
The Sun have fallen short in the playoffs in the past few years because they struggle to create good looks and score when the game slows down. They’ve clearly moved to address that issue, first by signing Courtney Williams in free agency, and now by taking Nia Clouden out of Michigan State with the No. 12 pick. She’s a bit undersized but is super shifty and can score from all over the court.
No. 11 overall pick
Las Vegas Aces: Kierstan Bell, Florida Gulf Coast
After taking a big with their first first-round pick, the Aces looked to the perimeter at No. 11, taking Kierstan Bell out of Florida Gulf Coast. Bell still being on the board at this point was a bit of a surprise, so this is a great get for the Aces. Bell can really score the ball and is the type of big, athletic wing you need to have success in this league.
No. 10 overall pick
Indiana Fever: Queen Egbo, Baylor
Another big surprise from the Fever. With their fourth and final first-round pick, they take Queen Egbo, who will reunite with her Baylor teammate NaLyssa Smith. The Fever were clearly looking for frontcourt players who work hard and can defend, but there are some real questions about how Egbo projects offensively. In addition, she had trouble staying out of foul trouble in college. Another pick where it feels like the Fever reached for a player who would have been available later.
No. 9 overall pick
Los Angeles Sparks: Rae Burrell, Tennessee
The Los Angeles Sparks desperately needed some help on the wing, and it was a major win for them that Rae Burrell was still on the board. She struggled this season at Tennessee, though that was in large part due to a knee injury. If she stays healthy there’s a very clear pathway to WNBA success with her size and offensive skills.
No. 8 overall pick
Las Vegas Aces: Mya Hollingshed, Colorado
The Aces traded their first and second-round picks in 2023 to get the Nos. 8 and 13 picks this year, and were apparently targeting Mya Hollingshed out of Colorado. She is versatile big who can step out and shoot the ball, and should be a good fit for new head coach Becky Hammon’s more modern offensive system. No one was projecting her as a first-round pick, though, and it does feel like she would have been around later.
No. 7 overall pick
Dallas Wings: Veronica Burton, Northwestern
The Dallas Wings were one of the worst defensive teams in the league last season, and tried to address that issue by taking Veronica Burton out of Northwestern. She was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year three times in her college career, and will instantly improve their perimeter defense. There is a bit of a logjam in their backcourt now, however, so it will be interesting to see how their roster shakes out.
No. 6 overall pick
Indiana Fever: Lexie Hull, Stanford
This is the first major shocker of the night. With their third first-round pick, the Fever decided to take Lexie Hull out of Stanford. She is a strong 3-point shooter and plays very hard on the defensive end, but there are questions about whether she has the athleticism to adapt to the WNBA. Feels like the Fever could have gotten her later on.
No. 5 overall pick
New York Liberty: Nyara Sabally, Oregon
The New York Liberty’s biggest weakness last season was in the frontcourt, and they’ve tried to address it in the draft with Nyara Sabally. There’s some potential risk with this pick given Sabally’s brutal injury history (two torn ACLs), but she is a clear first-round talent if she can stay healthy. She is big enough to bang in the paint, but mobile enough to move around the perimeter.
No. 4 overall pick
Indiana Fever: Emily Engstler
Indiana’s interim GM Lin Dunn has spoke endlessly about getting better on the defensive end, so it was little surprise to see them target Emily Engstler with their second lottery pick. Engstler surged up draft boards after a terrific season at Louisville, where she made a major impact on the defensive end. She works extremely hard and has the size and athleticism to guard multiple positions at the next level.
No. 3 overall pick
Washington Mystics: Shakira Austin, Ole Miss
The Mystics moved back in the draft, trading the No. 1 overall pick to the Dream in large part because they believed this was a three-player draft, not a one-or-two player draft. That third player they believed in was Shakira Austin, the 6-foot-5 big out of Ole Miss. Austin is a terrific defender, moves fluidly and has some interesting potential on the offensive end.
No. 2 overall pick
Indiana Fever: NaLyssa Smith, Baylor
The rebuilding Fever have four first-round picks and use the first one to take NaLyssa Smith out of Baylor. No surprise here either, as Smith is the best big prospect in this draft. She is extremely athletic and excels on the glass and on the defensive end. If she continues to refine her offensive game she has a real chance to be a star in this league.
No. 1 overall pick
Atlanta Dream: Rhyne Howard, Kentucky
As expected, the Dream select Rhyne Howard with the No. 1 overall pick. Howard is a big, athletic wing out of Kentucky who can impact the game on both sides of the ball. She is an elite scorer who can shoot from the outside and get to the basket, and will be able to defend multiple positions. Best player in the draft and a great get for the Dream as they start their rebuild.
We are live!
The 2022 WNBA Draft is officially underway. The Atlanta Dream are on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick, which they received from the Washington Mystics in a blockbuster trade earlier this month.
Brittney Griner update:
Commissioner Cathy Engelbert opens the draft with a statement of support for Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner who is currently detained in Russia. Engelbert said getting her home safely is the league’s “top priority.”