2014 WNBA Mock Draft

With the 2014 WNBA Draft tipping off on Monday, April 14 (live on ESPN2 at 8pm ET), there is plenty of intrigue surrounding the Class of 2014 and which players will end up where. Injuries to Notre Dame's Natalie Achonwa and Duke's Chelsea Gray in addition to some pretty strong trade buzz could make this a very interesting evening. Below is one view of how it all could shakeout.


1. Chiney Ogwumike

Stanford - Forward

Prior to the 2013-14 collegiate season, Chiney Ogwumike was often referred to as "Nneka's younger sister," which was at least partially understandable due to the fact that Nneka was the No. 1 pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft, was named Rookie of the Year as a member of the Los Angeles Sparks and subsequently made the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game. Chiney's exploits for Stanford this past season have put all that "little sister" talk to bed, however, as she led Stanford to a sterling 33-4 record and a Final Four berth, where the Cardinal succumbed to eventual national champion UConn. Chiney's high-energy, high-efficiency game -- in addition to her winning personality -- should be a perfect fit for the rebuilding Connecticut Sun, who will shock the basketball world if they pass on Ogwumike.


2. Odyssey Sims

Baylor - Guard

Sims is another player who initially burst onto the national scene as a complimentary player, as the Robin to Brittney Griner's Batman during Baylor's legendary undefeated 40-0 championship season in 2012. Sims has subsequently shown she is nobody's sidekick, winning the prestigious 2014 Wade Trophy as the nation's top player after averaging over 28 points per game and dishing out over 170 assists in 37 games as the primary offensive weapon for the Lady Bears. The Shock already boast a pretty strong back court in Riquna Williams and last year's No. 3 pick Skylar Diggins, but if the old "we're-going-to-take-the-best-player-available" philosophy ever applies, this is it.


3. Alyssa Thomas

Maryland - Forward

With Ogwumike and Sims off the board, things open up here and there has been some buzz about teams attempting to trade up to the No. 3. San Antonio holds the coveted spot and after an injury-ravaged 2013 season which saw stars (pun-not-intended) Becky Hammon and Sophia Young-Malcolm (recent name change due to marriage) stuck on the sidelines, look for the Stars to resist all other suitors and grab Alyssa Thomas, the three-time ACC Player of the Year and All-American out of Maryland. Thomas, who describes herself as "hard working, competitive and humble" is 6-2 forward with guard skills and a willingness to bang in the paint and grab rebounds (over 1,235 during her Terrapin career) .


4. Kayla McBride

Notre Dame - Guard

Liberty GM/Head Coach Bill Laimbeer is notoriously competitive and often cagey with regards to his plans. That said, when Essence Carson went down with an injury last season, New York was exposed. "We need depth on the perimeter, we need guard depth, that much is obvious," said Laimbeer. "We struggled to score the ball last year and our turnovers were way too high. We need to improve on that." Need identfied. Enter Notre Dame guard Kayla McBride. The Erie, PA native competed in four straight Final Fours with the Fighting Irish and is a savvy playmaker who impressed as a member of the 2014-16 USA Basketball National Team Player Pool, a good indication of McBride's potential to make the leap from college to the pros.


5. Stefanie Dolson

UConn - Center

Indiana, on the other hand, experienced a lack of depth in the post during an injury-filled 2014 campaign, which sets them up perfectly with newly-minted undefeated national champion Stefanie Dolson of UConn. The 6-5 center out of Storrs sports a gaudy .588 shooting percentage, good hands and nifty passing ability in addition to a winning pedigree. An ex-teammate of Maya Moore and Tiffany Hayes, Dolson may be the next top UConn performer to make it big in the W.


6. Natasha Howard

Florida State - Forward

At this point it'd probably be hyperbole to refer to Natasha Howard as a sleeper, since most women's basketball fans are wide awake when it comes to the physical talents of the 6-3 forward out of the relatively unheralded Florida State program. Howard plays big against big competition -- averaging 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and a 59.8 shooting percentage from the floor against the five best squads in the ACC this past season. The last FSU player selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft was Jacinta Monroe who went to -- you guessed it -- Washington in 2010.


7. Bria Hartley

UConn - Guard

Faced with several challenges last season -- primarily the absences of two-time WNBA Champions Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson -- Seattle exceeded most expectations by making the playoffs in the highly-competitive Western Conference. Bird is slated to return for 2014 and may be joined by a fellow UConn alumnus Bria Hartley, should the speedy two-time NCAA champion still be on the board for Brian Agler and the Storm braintrust. Hartley is a clutch player with good range on her jumper who could provide some oomph to the Seattle offense in 2014.


8. Markeisha Gatling

NC State - Center

Markeisha Gatling, like Howard, has been gaining momentum heading into the Draft as the physical 6-5 center out of NC State appears to be WNBA ready, a crucial aspect to Michael Cooper's planning in Atlanta. With perennial MVP-candidate Angel McCoughtry returning and intriguing French point guard Celine Demerc arriving, the addition of Gatling in the low-post could provide balance and power to the Dream lineup.


9. Chelsea Gray

Duke - Guard

Boasting two picks in the first round, Indiana may consider nabbing Gray, arguably the top point guard prospect in the country prior to injuring her knee in January. The 5-11 prospect out of Duke earned All-American status despite her injuries (she also missed time as a junior), is a two-time All ACC First Team pick and could be a great value selection at the No. 9 slot.


10. Meighan Simmons

Tennessee - Guard

What would a WNBA Draft be without a Tennessee product hitting the stage? Simmons, a 5-9 guard with speed to burn, also aggressively prowls the passing lanes on defense, something the Sky could use as their perimeter defense proved less-than-stellar in 2013. Simmons' all-around game and athleticism would fit nicely in Chicago.


11. Shoni Schimmel

Louisville - Guard

Most women's hoops fans were introduced to Schimmel last year via ESPN when the fiery Louisville guard stared down -- or more accurately, stared up 6-8 Brittney Griner in a spirited Louisville-Baylor matchup. At 5-9, that might not have seemed like such a good idea, but Schimmel's competitive drive and supreme confidence often overcome logic. Shoni's unique talents and bubbly personality could play well in Connecticut.


12. Natalie Achonwa

Notre Dame - Forward

Let's face it, the Lynx are stacked. Cracking the 2014 roster will be a gargantuan task for any players, so this may just be the spot for recently injured, but previously highly-touted Notre Dame forward Natalie Achonwa. A classic "system player", Achonwa has good court vision, intelligence and versatility. The native of Canada could recuperate and settle in among the star-studded Lynx and prepare to contribute to their future success in Minnesota.