WNBA mock draft 2020 — How high will Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, Satou Sabally and Ruth Hebard be drafted?

Feb 20, 2020

Mechelle VoepelESPN.com

CloseMechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

Oregon junior Satou Sabally officially has announced she will enter the 2020 WNBA draft. How high will she go?

Will any other juniors also declare for the draft? Will the Dallas Wings keep all four of their first-round picks, or use some in trades?

Knowing that a lot likely will change, we take a projected look at the first round of the 2020 WNBA draft, which will be April 17, and will likely include Sabally and two of her Ducks teammates.

Sabrina Ionescu, G, Oregon

It might motivate Ionescu to hear that while almost everyone thinks she is a lock as the top pick, not all are sure her game will translate without a hitch to the pro ranks. Some think she’ll have an adjustment period. Ionescu — who has an NCAA-record 24 triple-doubles in her career — has no doubts about herself, so she will be fired up to prove wrong any doubters. Can the Liberty even think about bypassing her? Not likely: With her multidimensional game — she averages 17.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.7 assists — name recognition and marketing potential, she should be a good fit in the Big Apple.

Lauren Cox, F, Baylor

2 Related

With the second pick, we hit a big question: Do the Wings go with Cox, a Dallas native who currently plays down the interstate at Baylor and could bring in that fan base, or do they select Sabally and hope maybe Cox somehow drops to No. 5, where they pick again? Both 6-foot-4 players are talented; Cox is likely considered the better defensive player now, and she has the physicality to thrive in coach Brian Agler’s system.

But Sabally might have a higher upside, particularly as an offensive player. Dallas has had two big names — Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins-Smith — essentially force trades in the past two years. The Wings likely would have no worries about Cox being content in her hometown, but by the same token, Sabally (who is from Germany) might be perfectly happy in Dallas. For now, we give a slight nod to the Wings going with Cox.

Satou Sabally, F, Oregon

New head coach Marianne Stanley — who has a long history in the WNBA — and general manager Tamika Catchings will team up for their first draft. If Sabally (16.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG) is still available, they probably will look to her as an immediate scoring boost for a team that was middle-of-the-pack offensively last year. The Fever have been searching for more signature players after the face of the franchise — Catchings — retired in 2016. Sabally, if she develops well, could fit that bill. Sabally has shown she can be a good 3-point shooter — she has 167 treys in her career — but with her size can also play at the rim. And she has the length and athleticism to keep improving on defense.

Chennedy Carter, G, Texas A&M

The Dream are remaking themselves after a difficult 2019 in which they finished last in the WNBA and scored the fewest points. Longtime face of the franchise Angel McCoughtry is gone, having signed with Las Vegas. They traded for scoring guard Courtney Williams, but adding in a perimeter scorer the caliber of Carter would be a big boost, too. Carter is a draft-eligible junior who hasn’t officially declared she will leave early, but she is believed to be leaning that way. The knock on Carter is that she isn’t an especially disciplined as a shooter and isn’t always the hardest worker on defense. But the reality is that when players can score at her level — she’s averaging 22.5 points despite an ankle injury costing her seven games this season — that covers up shortcomings.

Ruthy Hebard, F, Oregon

Another Ducks’ player in the top five? Again, we can’t be sure the Wings will keep all these picks, but if they do, they could look to Hebard — who is shooting 67.6% from the field this season and 64.8% in her college career — to help shore up their interior. The knock might be that Hebard doesn’t have a lot of range, but she can do a lot of damage when she gets the ball where she’s comfortable. She’s also averaging 9.6 rebounds this season and is at 9.0 in her career.

Crystal Dangerfield, G, UConn

To this point, the Lynx have had a pretty quiet offseason, although they might have some moves up their sleeve. As for the draft, Minnesota might be looking for a dependable point guard, and could find that in Dangerfield. UConn players have a great track record in the WNBA, including last year’s Rookie of the Year with the Lynx, Napheesa Collier. Dangerfield is the Huskies’ second leading scorer (15.1 PPG) and leads them in assists (4.0). There is also a chance that Arizona’s Aari McDonald, a draft-eligible junior, declares for the draft, and then she might be in the mix here, too.

Beatrice Mompremier, F, Miami

She has been dealing with a foot injury and has played in just 13 games this season for the Hurricanes. But in those contests, she averaged a double-double (16.3 PPG, 10.4 BPG) and is a very athletic 6-4. It’s not so much that this position would be a need at this pick for Dallas, but the Wings might see her as the best player still available.

Tyasha Harris, G, South Carolina

She has a calming presence and has been a terrific leader this season for the No. 1-ranked Gamecocks. Harris is averaging 12.1 points and has 141 assists. She does a good job running the floor and taking care of the ball, and she has shown an ability to rise to the occasion in big games as well. She could learn from some of the Sky’s experienced guards.

Te’a Cooper, G, Baylor

At this point, the Wings might be looking for the best available point guard remaining, and that might be Cooper. She played for Tennessee and South Carolina before spending this last season at Baylor, where she’s the Lady Bears’ second-leading scorer (13.8 PPG) and is second in assists with 115. She has also been a solid 3-point shooter this season (44 of 108, 40.7%).

Kiah Gillespie, F, Florida State

She has led the Seminoles in scoring (15.5 PPG) and rebounding (8.8 RPG) this season and, at 6-2, she also has 122 3-pointers in her career. Gillespie played her first two seasons at Maryland, but has blossomed at Florida State.

Mikayla Pivec, G, Oregon State

The 5-10 Pivec does everything well for the Beavers, averaging 14.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists. She is a great leader, superb thinker and hard worker. But can she defend at the pro level? And does she have one standout skill that could secure her a WNBA roster spot? The Storm might be willing to give her a chance to answer these questions.

Bella Alarie, F, Princeton

It’s rare to see an Ivy League player being discussed for the WNBA draft, especially the first round. But Alarie, a 6-4 guard/forward, could have played in a major college conference. She’s averaging 17.2 points and 8.4 rebounds for the Tigers, who are 19-1. Her numbers aren’t quite as high as last season, when she averaged a double-double, but Princeton’s success speaks for itself. Mystics’ coach Mike Thibault plays his cards very close to the vest when it comes to the draft, and he tends to look for players who are very specific fits for his team. Alarie might be that type of player.

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