WNBA mock draft 2024: Clark, Brink hold tight at 1-2, Pili up to seventh pick

Michael Voepel, ESPN.comJan 18, 2024, 10:00 AM ET

CloseMichael 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.

Stanford women’s basketball fans are looking forward to what could be a historical weekend for coach Tara VanDerveer. And one of the players who can make it so — Cardinal center Cameron Brink — remains near the top of ESPN’s latest WNBA mock draft. The senior post player is locked in at No. 2 behind Iowa’s Caitlin Clark.

VanDerveer can pass former Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski’s record of 1,202 coaching victories with two wins this weekend. Brink helped bring VanDerveer her third national championship in 2021 and another trip to the Final Four in 2022 and now will be part of a record-breaking coaching achievement. Even if it doesn’t happen this weekend against Oregon and Oregon State, VanDerveer will break the record.

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The question for Brink, Clark and several other players is whether to declare for the 2024 draft or exercise the COVID-19 waiver and come back to college for a fifth season. With an NCAA title already under her belt, Brink might be ready to move on.

She’s likely to thrive in the pro game offensively and defensively. Plus, she might not have to worry as much about the foul trouble that has sometimes plagued her in college. In the WNBA, she will have an extra foul to work with.

Stanford has had 30 players selected in the WNBA draft, including No. 1 picks Nneka Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike in 2012 and 2014. Last year, Haley Jones was the Cardinal’s 14th first-round selection, going at No. 6. This year or next, Brink will be joining them.

A look at our latest mock draft.

Iowa | point guard | 6-foot-0 | senior

Iowa is selling out home and away games; tickets are going for big bucks on the secondary market; and the cereal named after Clark sold out almost immediately in Iowa grocery stores. (Now it’s being sold on eBay.) Analyst Debbie Antonelli refers to the Iowa star’s impact as “Clarkonomics,” and the Fever would love to be part of it. Clark is averaging 31.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.7 assists. (Could return to college for 2024-25.)

Stanford | power forward | 6-foot-4 | senior

The Sparks got a franchise-changing player in Nneka Ogwumike in 2012, and they might look to Brink as that type of player for the next generation. In the past year-plus, the Sparks have been focused on remaking themselves as a franchise. Brink — averaging 17.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.3 blocks — has the skill level to be star player, which could help a lot with that process. (Could return to college for 2024-25.)

UConn | point guard | 6-foot-0 | junior

Bueckers has been outstanding in her return from a knee injury that kept her out last season, showing the scoring ability (19.8 PPG) and efficiency (55.9 FG%) that makes her such an enticing WNBA prospect — especially for a team such as Phoenix, which could benefit from a dynamic young guard. However, some of the things Bueckers has said about her stay-or-go decision make you think she’s leaning more toward staying at UConn. (Could return to college for two more seasons.)



Paige Bueckers drops season-high 32 points in UConn’s win vs. Seton Hall

Paige Bueckers goes off for 32 points as UConn wins its 11th game in a row with an 83-59 victory over Seton Hall.

South Carolina | center | 6-foot-7 | senior

The Storm are trying to retool around star guard Jewell Loyd. Seattle’s biggest need, admittedly, is point guard, although that might be addressed in free agency. Even if it isn’t, Cardoso’s size, strength, defensive prowess and potential make her hard to pass up. She’s averaging 13.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks for the undefeated No. 1 Gamecocks. (Could return to college for 2024-25.)

Tennessee | power forward | 6-foot-2 | senior

Injury has limited Jackson (19.4 PPG, 9.0 RPG) to eight games this season. That has made it even clearer how vital she is to Tennessee, which struggles without her. Jackson is just 7-of-25 from 3-point range this season, and for her career is 71-of-238 (.298) from behind the arc. That percentage needs to improve, but at least Jackson has shown she has legitimate range as part of her potential pro game.

UConn | power forward | 6-foot-3 | senior

This could be a transitional season for the Mystics if some familiar faces leave. Edwards (16.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG) doesn’t shoot the 3-pointer, but she’s a traditionally solid interior player whose hustle and ability to defend are assets. She also has UConn’s track record of players who adjust quickly to the WNBA going for her. (Could return to college for 2024-25.)

Utah | power forward | 6-foot-2 | senior

Pili doesn’t necessary fit a traditional mold; she’s kind of in her own category. But she has proved she will find way to score against just about any kind of defense. She’s averaging 21.9 PPG while shooting 62.1% from the field overall and 43.5% from behind the arc, all while being the main focus of opposing teams’ game plans. With the Lynx at ninth in the WNBA in scoring last season (80.2 PPG), Pili could help.

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LSU | power forward | 6-foot-3 | senior

There isn’t a more polarizing player in the draft regarding how her talent projects to the pro game. Some think her quickness and length will help her as a defender, something Dream coach Tanisha Wright excelled at herself as a player. Others say Reese lacks offensive versatility and will struggle against the WNBA’s paint protectors. Reese (20.1 PPG, 11.5 RPG) doesn’t have a lot of range. But she’s solid at what she does, plus she has a nose for the basketball as a rebounder. (Could return to college for 2024-25.)

Virginia Tech | point guard | 5-foot-6 | senior

Dallas reached the WNBA semifinals last season, but coach Latricia Trammell knew the Wings needed more help from behind the arc for 2024. So they might look to Amoore, who had 118 3-pointers last season for the Hokies and currently has 40 through 16 games. She is also averaging 17.0 points and 7.4 assists per game. (Could return to college for 2024-25.)

Australia | small forward | 6-foot-3

The 19-year-old is currently averaging 8.4 PPG and 4.6 RPG for the Southside Flyers in her native Australia, where one of her teammates is the legendary Lauren Jackson. This is Puoch’s second WNBL season, and she also played in the under-19 World Cup last summer for Australia. The Sun might look to the future by taking Puoch.

UCLA | shooting guard | 5-foot-9 | senior

Osborne is in her fifth season with the Bruins, who have just one loss and are strong Final Four contenders. She has been the leader and glue for UCLA. Her motor on defense could be a plus for the Liberty on the perimeter, where they struggled to slow down the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA Finals last year. Osborne is averaging 14.1 points and 5.3 rebounds.

12. Los Angeles Sparks: Isobel Borlase

Australia | shooting guard | 5-foot-11

Borlase, who turns 20 in September, is averaging 15.7 points and 2.5 assists for the Adelaide Lightning in the WNBL. Like Puoch, she was on Australia’s U19 World Cup team last summer. Borlase has displayed promise with her transition game and ability to defend on the ball. It’s uncertain whether she is ready now for the WNBA, but the Sparks might be willing to invest in her future.

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