Lexie Hull - Indiana Fever (Stanford)
Photo credit: Lexi Hull's Instagram
After a fantastic performance during March Madness, including a 36 point performance against Kansas, Lexie Hull was able to make her way all the way up to the middle of the first round of the WNBA draft. Hull was projected as a mid-to-late second round pick by multiple draft boards, so to see her get drafted at sixth was a shock to most fans and GMs. Hull has consistently produced at a high level for one of the best teams in the country (Stanford), especially on the biggest stage during March, but it will be her defense that will give her opportunities early in her professional career — not to mention her shooting may make her a star in the league.
Naz Hillmon - Atlanta Dream (Michigan)
Photo credit: Naz Hillmon's Instagram
Naz Hillmon was expected to be a first-round pick by many, but was drafted in the second round, 15th overall. Hillmon was a prolific scorer at Michigan, averaging over 20 points per game in her last two seasons. Since this is such a deep draft for bigs, it was understandable to see teams pass on Hillmon, but still shocking to see her fall all the way to the second round. Hillmon does all the little things right — sets hard screens, dives for loose balls, and makes rebounding a priority. The Dream are in need of scoring, so Hillmon is a great fit and has the ability to make an immediate impact.
Elissa Cunane - Seattle Storm (NC State)
Photo credit: Elissa Cunane's Instagram
Similar to Hillmon, Elissa Cunane from NC State was another big that got picked up in the second round. As the 17th pick, not too many 6’5 players can shoot over 40 percent from three, finish consistently with both hands, and pass well from the post like Hillmon, especially at such a young age. Cunane might not be a microwave scorer, but she doesn’t make too many mistakes and elevates all the players on the floor with her. Cunane has a high floor and should be able to contribute to one of the most successful franchises in the history of the WNBA.
Sika Koné: New York Liberty (SPAR Gran Canaria)
Photo credit: Women's Basketball World Cup's Instagram
One of the biggest question marks of the draft was where international player Sika Koné would end up. The Mali native was projected by most draft boards to be a mid-to-late first round pick. One of the youngest prospects in the draft class at 19 years old, Koné is an impressive athlete with one of the highest ceilings of any players in the draft. As a member of the Mali National Team, Koné averaged 19.7 points and 14.8 rebounds per game in the U19 World Cup in 2021, and averages 12.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in the Spanish League. With such upside and proven production at a professional level, it was shocking to see Koné end up in the final round of the draft when New York Liberty picked her at 29th overall. While Koné is a bit raw and should be viewed as a project, her floor is still greater than that of the average third round pick. It would not be shocking to see Koné break out in a few years and be a very productive player in the W.