2022 WNBA Draft: How the draft works, No. 1 pick predictions, and more

WNBA Draft 2022
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Ahead of tonight’s 2022 WNBA Draft, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions about how the draft works, WNBA eligibility, which players have declared, which WNBA team has first pick, and more.

What time is the WNBA Draft?

The 2022 WNBA Draft will be held tonight, Monday, April 11, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. ET (TV channel: ESPN). For the first time since 2019, the WNBA Draft will be held in-person at Spring Studios in New York.

2022 WNBA DRAFT: Live updates, highlights, round-by-round picks

How does the WNBA Draft work?

The WNBA draft consists of three rounds with 12 picks in each round. A total of 36 athletes will be drafted, though unfortunately, many of them won’t ultimately play in the WNBA.

What are the chances of a draft pick playing in the WNBA?

It hurts to answer this question. The reality is that many WNBA draftees won’t ultimately play in a WNBA game. That’s because there are just 144 roster spots available in the WNBA (12 teams x 12 players per roster), and some of those will go unfilled due to the league’s salary cap.

READ MORE: The odds of WNBA draftees playing in the league

Who is eligible for the WNBA Draft?

In order to be eligible to play in the WNBA, an athlete must:

  • Turn 22 years old in the year of the draft OR
  • Have graduated or be set to graduate from a four-year university within three months of the draft OR
  • Have attended a four-year college and had her original class already graduate or be set to graduate within three months of the draft

International athletes who don’t play college basketball in the U.S. are eligible so long as they turn 20 years old in the year of the draft.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: In college basketball, men can be ‘one-and-done.’ Why not the women?

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA in 2021 granted all winter athletes an additional year of college eligibility. As a result, college players were required to opt-in if they had additional eligibility remaining and wanted to be considered for the 2022 WNBA Draft.

A full list of the 108 NCAA athletes who have opted in to the 2022 WNBA Draft can be found below.

Who is predicted to be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft?

Most mock drafts predict that Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard will be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft. Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith and Ole Miss’ Shakira Austin are also expected to be drafted in the first three.

MORE ON RHYNE HOWARD: ‘Once-in-a-lifetime player’ Rhyne Howard headlines prospects at 2022 WNBA Draft

Which WNBA prospects will attend the 2022 WNBA Draft?

The WNBA on Wednesday announced the list of 12 prospects who will attend the 2022 WNBA Draft:

  • Shakira Austin – Ole Miss
  • Kierstan Bell – Florida Gulf Coast
  • Rae Burrell – Tennessee
  • Veronica Burton – Northwestern
  • Nia Clouden – Michigan State
  • Elissa Cunane – NC State
  • Emily Engstler – Louisville
  • Destanni Henderson – South Carolina
  • Naz Hillmon – Michigan
  • Rhyne Howard – Kentucky
  • Nyara Sabally – Oregon
  • NaLyssa Smith – Baylor

MORE FROM ON HER TURF: ‘Once-in-a-lifetime player’ Rhyne Howard headlines prospects at 2022 WNBA Draft

Which team has the first pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft?

The Washington Mystics won the 2022 WNBA draft lottery, but last Wednesday, it was announced that the Mystics had traded the number one overall draft pick to the Atlanta Dream. In exchange, the Mystics received the No 3. overall pick, No. 14 overall pick, plus rights to swap 2023 draft picks.

On Her Turf

“We are very comfortable with all three players that we have ranked as the possible top three picks in the draft,” Mystics head coach Mike Thibault said. “We didn’t have any other picks in this draft and now we have #14 to try to find another good young player that can be a part of our future.”

Also ahead of Monday’s draft, the Las Vegas Aces and Minnesota Lynx made a trade that gives Las Vegas the eighth and 13th overall picks in this year’s WNBA draft. In exchange, the Lynx will receive 2023 draft picks from the Aces.

Here’s the updated list of first-round picks for the 2022 WNBA Draft:

  1. Atlanta Dream (from Washington Mystics)
  2. Indiana Fever
  3. Washington Mystics (from Atlanta Dream)
  4. Indiana Fever (from Los Angeles via Dallas)
  5. New York Liberty
  6. Indiana Fever (from Dallas)
  7. Dallas Wings (from Chicago via Dallas and Indiana)
  8. Las Vegas Aces (from Minnesota via Phoenix, New York and Seattle)
  9. Los Angeles Sparks (from Seattle)
  10. Indiana Fever (from Minnesota)
  11. Las Vegas Aces
  12. Connecticut Sun

Here is a list of the NCAA athletes who have opted in to the 2022 WNBA Draft (updated on April 6, 2022):

The WNBA on Wednesday announced the full list of 108 NCAA athletes who have opted in for the 2022 WNBA Draft.

There are more than 108 athletes who are eligible for selection in this year’s WNBA draft; the following list just includes NCAA players who have opted-in (including those who needed to renounce any remaining eligibility). Seniors who exhausted all of their NCAA eligibility were not required to declare for the WNBA draft, though some of them did anyway.

This updated list includes athletes who were still competing or had just finished competing in the 2022 NCAA women’s basketball tournament when the WNBA published its initial list last week.

Headlining the new additions are four athletes who competed in the 2022 NCAA women’s basketball championship last week: South Carolina’s Destanni Henderson and UConn’s Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Evina Westbrook, and Christyn Williams.

New additions are identified in bold.

  • Faustine Aifuwa – C – LSU
  • Joanne Allen-Taylor – G – Texas
  • Amy Atwell – G – Hawaii
  • Shakira Austin – C – Ole Miss
  • Ty Battle – F – Delaware
  • Kierstan Bell – G – Florida Gulf Coast
  • Arbrie Benson – G – Ball State
  • Katie Benzan – G – Maryland
  • Michelle Berry – G-F – TCU
  • Chloe Bibby – F – Maryland
  • Jazzmaine “Jazz” Bond – F – North Florida
  • Araion Bradshaw – G – Dayton
  • Osh Brown – F – Rutgers
  • Rae Burrell – G-F – Tennessee
  • Veronica Burton – G – Northwestern
  • Brice Calip – G – Missouri State
  • Nicole Cardaño-Hillary – G – Indiana
  • Jailin Cherry – G – LSU
  • Natalie Chou – G – UCLA
  • Deja Church – G – DePaul
  • Nia Clouden – G – Michigan State
  • Jennifer Coleman – G – Navy
  • Lorela Cubaj – F – Georgia Tech (Italy)
  • Elissa Cunane – C – NC State
  • Alana Davis – F – Memphis
  • Mia Davis – F – Temple
  • Jordyn Dawson – F – Akron
  • Jasmine Dickey – G – Delaware
  • Renetha “Shug” Dickson – G – Rutgers
  • Maya Dodson – F – Notre Dame
  • Alexus Dye – F – Tennessee
  • Queen Egbo – C – Baylor
  • Jayden Eggleston – F-G – CSU Bakersfield
  • Emily Engstler – F – Louisville
  • Amaya Finklea – C – Duke
  • N’Dea Flye – G – Rocky Mountain
  • Krystal Freeman – F – Tulane
  • Jenna Giacone – G – Dayton
  • Miela Goodchild – G – Duke
  • Alexis “Lexi” Gordon – G-F – Duke
  • Vivian Gray – G – Texas Tech
  • Aleksa Gulbe – F – Indiana
  • Chelsie Hall – G – Louisville
  • Sara Hamson – C – BYU
  • Paisley Harding – G – BYU
  • Lauren Heard – G – TCU
  • Lexi Held – G – DePaul
  • Destanni Henderson – G – South Carolina
  • Naz Hillmon – F – Michigan
  • Mya Hollingshed – F – Colorado
  • CeCe Hooks – G – Ohio
  • Qadashah Hoppie – G – Texas A&M
  • Chantel Horvat – G – UCLA
  • Rhyne Howard – G – Kentucky
  • Gadiva Hubbard – G – Minnesota
  • Lexie Hull – G – Stanford
  • Aahliyah Jackson – G – TCU
  • Erica “Rosy” Johnson – G – Ohio
  • Kayla Jones – F – NC State
  • Masseny Kaba – F – UCF
  • Lotta-Maj Lahtinen – G – Georgia Tech (Finland)
  • Chloe Lamb – G – South Dakota
  • Jordan Lewis – G – Baylor
  • Kiara Lewis – G – Clemson
  • Kelsey Marshall – G – Miami
  • LaShonda Monk – G – Ole Miss
  • Christina Morra – F – Wake Forest
  • Que Morrison – G – Georgia
  • Nancy Mulkey – C – Washington
  • Bethy Mununga – F – South Florida
  • Olivia Nelson-Ododa – F – Connecticut
  • Ali Patberg – G – Indiana
  • Jaelynn Penn – G – UCLA
  • Raina Perez – G – NC State
  • Destiny Pitts – G-F – Texas A&M
  • Khayla Pointer – G – LSU
  • Amber Ramirez – G – Arkansas
  • Taya Robinson – G – VCU
  • Dor Saar – G – Middle Tennessee
  • Nyara Sabally – C – Oregon
  • Courtajia “Tay” Sanders – G – UCF
  • Chanin Scott – G-F – North Carolina A&T
  • Aisha Sheppard – G – Virginia Tech
  • Hannah Sjerven – C – South Dakota
  • Akila Smith – F – Longwood
  • Alisia Smith – F – Michigan State
  • Kianna Smith – G – Louisville
  • NaLyssa Smith – F – Baylor
  • Tra’Dayja Smith – G – Longwood
  • Jenna Staiti – C – Georgia
  • Iimar’i Thomas – F – UCLA
  • Sam Thomas – G – Arizona
  • Taylah Thomas – F – Texas Tech
  • Lianna Tillman – G – Sacramento State
  • Amandine Toi – G – Virginia
  • Moon Ursin – G – Tulane
  • Lauren Van Kleunen – F` – Marquette
  • Cierra Walker – G – Gonzaga
  • Kayla Wells – G – Texas A&M
  • Evina Westbrook – G – Connecticut
  • Erin Whalen – G-F – Dayton
  • Sydne Wiggins – G – SMU
  • Christyn Williams – G – Connecticut
  • Jade Williams – F – Duke
  • Macee Williams – F – IUPUI
  • Ameshya Williams-Holiday – F – Jackson State
  • Anna Wilson – G – Stanford
  • Deja Winters – G – Minnesota

Since the WNBA published its initial 88-athlete list, two athletes also removed their names from consideration (Anastasia Hayes of Mississippi State and Brie Perpignan of Elon).

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Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC

Kaillie Humphries elevates another fresh U.S. face to podium status in two-woman bobsled World Cup

Kaillie Humphries of USA, Kaysha Love of USA in action at the 2 women's bobsleigh during Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
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PARK CITY, UTAH – Kaillie Humphries extended her podium streak on Saturday at the IBSF World Cup, where she and U.S. push athlete Jasmine Jones finished third in the two-woman bobsled.

The third-place finish in Park City marked the sixth podium for Humphries at the Park City track, which hosted the 2002 Olympics, and was Jones’ career-first World Cup podium in just her second World Cup start.

“This is our first race together, so really excited about that,” said the 37-year-old Humphries, considered the greatest female driver in history with three Olympic gold medals (2010, 2014 and 2022) and five world championships titles. She earned her 29th career World Cup win on Friday in Park City in the women’s monobob.

“Definitely a work in progress. … The runs weren’t perfect, but I’m really happy with our starts, happy with our drives minus a few little mistakes. It’s a good starting point, and we’ll look to grow from here.”

Humphries and Jones finished with a combined, two-run time of 1:37.69, 0.32 behind winners Kim Kalicki and brakewoman Leonie Fiebig of Germany at 1:37.37. Fellow Germans Laura Nolte and Lena Neunecker were second at 0.23 back.

Kalicki and Fiebig broke a 16-year-old track record with their first run, laying down a time of 48.60 seconds and besting the time set by Americans Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming – the 2006 Olympic silver medalists – in December 2006 (48.73). It also marked the second straight victory for Kalicki, who’s won five career World Cup titles including last week’s two-woman bobsled race in Whistler, Canada.

“I was hoping Kaillie would get [the record],” said Rohbock, who is now a U.S. team coach and was on hand to see her record fall. “That first run there, she had that little skid in the bottom, so that didn’t help, but Kailee’s always putting up a great performance. And Jasmine, another great brakewoman, so we’re really lucky that we have that depth.”

For Team USA, it marked the second straight week that a fresh face earned her first podium finish while competing with Humphries. Last week in Whistler, push athlete Emily Renna and Humphries placed third in Renna’s first-ever World Cup appearance.

MORE IBSF WORLD CUP COVERAGE: Kelly Curtis notches career-best finish with top five at Park City skeleton World Cup

“Being able to race with her was really special,” said the 29-year-old Renna, who was a college track athlete at University of Rhode Island. “It’s really nice to be around seasoned veterans. It definitely makes you feel better in the back sled with you when you’ve got a good pilot who knows the track.”

Renna finished in eighth place in Park City with 12-year U.S. team veteran and pilot Nicole Vogt (1:39.04). Vogt partnered with Jones in her first World Cup last week where they finished seventh in Whistler, 1.33 seconds behind winners Kalicki and German teammate Anabel Galander.

“To have an opportunity to be with Kaillie in my World Cup debut – it’s exciting,” said the 26-year-old Jones, who was a collegiate track and field athlete at Eastern Michigan. “I just feel like I have so much more in the tank to give, and I’m just hungry for it.”

Jones is particularly gratified with her performance after returning full-time to bobsled less than 18 months ago following the birth of her daughter, Jade Quinn Jones, in February 2021. The Greensburg, Pa., native returned to training just five months postpartum, having sat out the 2020-21 season. She competed on the North American Cup last year, finishing the season with a win (the third NA Cup title of her career) and a third place in Lake Placid.

“I’m thankful,” said Jones. “Opportunity is the main thing, and I just feel blessed to have my first World Cup podium. I’m screaming on the inside. I may not show it, but I am jumping for joy because I’m just that excited and happy to have this accomplishment.”

She admits, however, it’s not always easy to compete balance a full-time competitive career with being a mom.

“Sometimes it’s a struggle being away from my daughter,” said Jones, whose mom takes care of Jade while she travels. “I try to get my facetimes in every night and just know that when I’m pushing, I’m doing it for her. Hopefully sometime in the future I’ll have her around on the sidelines cheering me on, and that’s my main motivation – that this is for her.”

The BMW IBSF World Cup continues its North American swing Dec. 16-18 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Kaillie Humphries faces IVF journey head on — and collects monobob World Cup win along the way

Gold medallist Kaillie Humphries of Team United States celebrates during the Women's Monobob.
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PARK CITY, UTAH — Kaillie Humphries knew the quest to start a family would impact her 2022-23 season, but it’s certainly not slowing down Team USA’s reigning monobob Olympic gold medalist, who captured her first World Cup title in the discipline on Friday.

The 37-year-old Humphries, considered the greatest female driver in history with three Olympic golds (2010, 2014 and 2022) and five world championships, earned her 29th career World Cup win and her third victory on the Park City track, where she won the two-woman bobsled competitions in 2012 and 2016. Competing in Utah – as well as North American World Cup stops in Whistler last week and in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Dec. 17-18 – is one of the reasons that Humphries pushed pause on her journey to motherhood.

“I’m excited,” Humphries said following the win, marking her second straight podium in monobob following a third-place finish last week in Whistler. “I was excited for this year before it started. It’s part and parcel of why my husband and I delayed the IVF process and starting a family this season. To be able to be back in North America and have the first half of the season here – it’s been a long time since we’ve had that, so I wanted to be able to compete and it feels awesome.”

That’s not to say the leadup to this season has been without its share of hiccups. In fact, Humphries admits that following the Beijing Olympics, she had hoped to get pregnant immediately, but she and husband Travis Armbruster had to pivot when a diagnosis of stage 4 endometriosis made it clear that in vitro fertilization would be the best path for pregnancy.

“Right after the Olympics, I was like, ‘We’re going to get pregnant; it’s gonna be all good,’” she said. “I thought, my body has always performed, and it wasn’t going to be an issue. Fast forward to I find out we have to do IVF. We do the first egg retrieval, and it doesn’t go as well as I had hoped — which anybody that’s done this process knows, you can’t control any aspect of it. And so having to do a second round of egg retrieval, …it pushed everything back.”

What’s more, it brought Humphries’ training to a standstill at times, when she would have to limit all physical activity during the three-week period surrounding the egg-retrieval process.

“It impacted my training coming into this year a lot,” she says, “but I also think it definitely reset my hormones, which turns out I needed. I don’t think was a bad thing. I knew coming into this year, I wasn’t going to be in the same shape as I have been in the past, and I had to make peace with that. I know that each and every race I’m racing myself into shape, and each race is a preparation for January’s World Championships.”

Humphries also chose to share her IVF journey publicly, and she’s documented every step of the way, believing that her story makes it less scary not just for her but also for other women and female athletes who might be facing the same thing.

MORE IBSF WORLD CUP: Kelly Curtis notches career-best finish with top five at Park City skeleton World Cup

“My husband and I weren’t sure that we wanted to share it at first,” she admits. “But I felt it was important just to showcase this. I have nothing to hide. And as much as there are parts of me certain days when I think, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ At the end of the day, I know I’m not alone in this.

“It’s important, I do have a voice, and I want other people to know, as an Olympic gold medalist, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody. Infertility exists in the female body, and it’s important that I talk about it in my journey and hopefully that’s inspired other people.”

She says she’s received an outpouring of support, which has been particularly gratifying as she continues to put a painful breakup with Team Canada in the rearview mirror. Humphries, who was born in Calgary, competed for Canada for 16 years, winning three Olympic medals including a bronze in Pyeongchang in 2018. But the relationship came to an abrupt end later just five months after the 2018 Games, after Humphries alleged emotional and mental harassment by a former coach.

Winning a gold medal in Beijing just two months after her U.S. citizenship was finalized proved to be turning point for Humphries, who commemorated the milestone with two new tattoos. She first added the date of her win – Feb. 14, 2022 – to the back of her left hand and a larger rose and skull illustration to the back of her right knee and calf, all of which commemorate her triumph over that darker period.

“The skull represents a rebirth and a growth, overcoming challenges and/or obstacles and turning something negative into something positive,” explains Humphries, who says she chose the rose because it’s the national flower of the U.S. as well as a symbol of love won or lost. She notes that she has “an actual Olympic one” planned for August 2024, which is when her favorite tattoo artist is next available.

Humphries has also found the silver lining in her IVF journey, as the competition season has been a welcome break from some of the self-imposed pressure.

“By pushing pause for four or five months and competing, it allowed me mentally to know that we can go into all of next summer and all winter focusing on just doing the actual embryo transfers and having a good pregnancy,” she says. “I don’t feel stressed to try and get pregnant right away. I felt like I was becoming competitive with myself, wondering why isn’t this working? Why can’t I do this? I tried to control too many things, and I started to get really frustrated. Mentally, it was hard. So, by pushing pause, going back to what I know — which is the sport, which is what I love – it’s allowed me to control a little bit of my future.”

Humphries’ season continues Saturday as the IBSF World Cup from Park City concludes with the two-woman bobsleigh.