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South Carolina’s Wilson Headlines List of Top College Prospects to Attend WNBA Draft 2018 Presented by State Farm

NEW YORK, April 5, 2018 – South Carolina forward A’ja Wilson, the winner of every major 2018 national player of the year award issued thus far, headlines a list of 10 prospects who will attend WNBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm on Thursday, April 12 at the Nike New York Headquarters.  ESPN2 will air the first round at 7 p.m. ET, followed by coverage of the second and third rounds on ESPNU at 8 p.m. ET.  The draft will also stream live on the ESPN app.

The other prospects who will be in attendance are guards Lexie Brown (Duke), Jordin Canada (UCLA), Diamond DeShields (Cukurova), Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State), Kia Nurse (Connecticut) and Victoria Vivians (Mississippi State); and forwards Monique Billings (UCLA), Azurá Stevens (Connecticut) and Gabby Williams (Connecticut).

Nike New York Headquarters, which boasts an interactive and experiential atmosphere, is hosting the draft for the first time.  The 150,000-square-foot venue, which opened last June, features a 4,000-square-foot indoor basketball court that will serve as the broadcast hub for the draft.  The event is not open to the public.

The Las Vegas Aces (formerly the San Antonio Stars) hold the No. 1 overall pick after winning the WNBA Draft Lottery presented by State Farm in November.  The Indiana Fever will select second, followed by two selections for the Chicago Sky – the No. 3 pick, acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Dream last season, and its own pick at No. 4.

 

Here is a closer look at the prospects who will be attending WNBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm.

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina: Wilson is the first three-time SEC Player of the Year as well as a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year.  A national champion in 2017, Wilson was a four-time All-America selection, a four-time All-SEC First Team selection, The 2018 Associated Press National Player of the Year, the 2018 Naismith College Player of the Year, the 2018 Wade Trophy winner as the NCAA Division I Player of the Year and the 2018 Lisa Leslie Award winner as the nation’s best center.  She also finished her career as South Carolina’s all-time points leader (2,389).

Lexie Brown, Duke: Brown was named an All-America Third Team selection in 2016-17 and 2017-18 at Duke and in 2014-15 at Maryland, becoming the first player in NCAA history to earn the honor at two schools.  In each of the last two seasons, she was a finalist for the Lieberman Award as the nation’s top point guard and the winner of the Kay Yow Award as ACC women basketball’s top scholar-athlete.

Jordin Canada, UCLA: Canada became the first woman in Pac-12 history to record 1,800 points and 700 assists, joining Oregon State’s Gary Payton (2,172 points, 938 assists) as the only two players in league history – male or female – to accomplish the feat.  She is the Pac-12’s all-time assists leader after breaking Sonja Henning’s 27-year-old mark.  Canada, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of Year as a junior and senior, ranks third in Pac-12 history for career steals.  She also was named an All-America Third Team selection in 2017-18.

Diamond DeShields, Cukurova: DeShields spent one season at North Carolina earning National Freshman of the Year honors before transferring to Tennessee.  After playing two seasons with the Lady Vols, she renounced her remaining season of college eligibility last June to play professionally with Turkey’s Cukurova.  In 2016-17, DeShields was an All-SEC First Team selection after averaging 17.3 points, the most at Tennessee since Candace Parker in 2007-08.

Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State: Mitchell became the first four-time women’s All-American in school history.  She also finished her career with 3,402 points, which is second on the NCAA’s all-time list, and set the NCAA record for made three-pointers (497).  Mitchell was named the Big Ten Player of the Year in each of the last three seasons.  As a senior, she won the Dawn Staley Award as the nation’s best guard.

Kia Nurse, Connecticut: Nurse was a four-year starter and key member of UConn’s national championships in 2015 and 2016.  She helped the Huskies to the Final Four all four years.  A member of the Canadian National Team since 2013, she played in the 2016 Summer Olympics.  Nurse was a three-time All-American Athletic Conference selection and the conference’s Freshman of the Year in 2015.

Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State: A four-time All-America selection, Vivians led the Bulldogs to the NCAA national championship game as a junior and senior.  She ranks second in school history in career points (2,383) behind LaToya Thomas, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 WNBA Draft.  Vivians led the Bulldogs in scoring each year and leaves as the points leader among active SEC players.  She was the winner of the inaugural Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the nation’s top shooting guard in 2018.

Monique Billings, UCLA: Billings became the third woman in UCLA history to record 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds.  She is the Bruins’ all-time leader in blocks (228) and ranks third in rebounds (1,159).  Billings was named to the All-Pac-12 Team and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team as a junior and senior.

Azurá Stevens, Connecticut: Stevens spent two seasons at Duke before transferring to Connecticut.  After sitting out the 2016-17 season and playing this season with the Huskies, she renounced her remaining season of college eligibility to enter the WNBA Draft.  An All-ACC First Team selection as a sophomore and a Second Team pick as a freshman, Stevens averaged 16.2 points and 8.8 rebounds and shot 52.3 percent from the field in 58 games during her two years at Duke.  This season, she helped UConn to its 11th straight Final Four appearance.

Gabby Williams, Connecticut: Like Nurse, Williams was a valuable contributor to the Huskies’ national championships in 2015 and 2016.  As a senior, she won the Cheryl Miller Award as the nation’s best small forward, earned All-America Second Team and All-AAC First Team honors, and was a semifinalist for the Wooden and Naismith awards as the nation’s top player.

The WNBA App and WNBA.com will provide complete draft-day coverage and serve as the digital destination for fans who want to track the top prospects leading up to the draft.

The draft falls on the same day that single-game tickets go on sale for many teams for the 2018 season, which tips off on Friday, May 18.  For ticket information, fans can visit wnba.com/tickets or team websites.

Below are the players invited to attend WNBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm.

Name School/Previous Team Position Height
Monique Billings UCLA Forward 6-4
Lexie Brown Duke Guard 5-9
Jordin Canada UCLA Guard 5-6
Diamond DeShields Cukurova (Turkey) Guard 6-1
Kelsey Mitchell Ohio State Guard 6-1
Kia Nurse Connecticut Guard 6-0
Azurá Stevens Connecticut Forward 6-6
Victoria Vivians Mississippi State Guard 6-1
Gabby Williams Connecticut Forward 5-11
 A’ja Wilson South Carolina Forward 6-5

 

Below is the current order for WNBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm.

WNBA DRAFT 2018 ORDER OF SELECTION

First Round

  • Las Vegas (8-26)
  • Indiana (9-25)
  • Chicago from Atlanta (12-22) (McGee-Stafford, Young, Hooper, 8/31/17)
  • Chicago (12-22)
  • Seattle (15-19)
  • Dallas (16-18)
  • Washington (18-16)
  • Indiana from Phoenix (18-16) (B. January, 3/6/18)
  • Connecticut (21-13)
  • New York (22-12)
  • Los Angeles (26-8)
  • Phoenix from Minnesota (27-7) (Robinson, 3/6/18)

 

Second Round

  • Las Vegas (8-26)
  • Indiana (9-25)
  • Connecticut from Atlanta (12-22) (Hooper, 6/8/17)
  • Atlanta from Chicago (12-22) (McGee-Stafford, Young, Hooper, 8/31/17)
  • Minnesota from Seattle (15-19) (Howard, 2/7/18)
  • Dallas (16-18)
  • Washington (18-16)
  • Phoenix (18-16)
  • Phoenix from Connecticut (21-13) (George, 2/1/18)
  • New York (22-12)
  • Los Angeles (26-8)
  • Minnesota (27-7)

 

Third Round

  • Las Vegas (8-26)
  • Phoenix from Indiana (9-25) via Las Vegas (Bone, 2/2/18) (Gwathmey, 5/9/17)
  • Atlanta (12-22)
  • Chicago (12-22)
  • Seattle (15-19)
  • Dallas (16-18)
  • Washington (18-16)
  • Las Vegas from Phoenix (18-16) (Currie, Brunner, Murphy, 6/28/17)
  • Connecticut (21-13)
  • New York (22-12)
  • Los Angeles (26-8)
  • Minnesota (27-7)

 

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About the WNBA

The WNBA – which features 12 teams and is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world – is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement and diversity. Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that promote a healthy lifestyle, support youth and family development and inspire and empower women. For more information, visit to www.wnba.com.