UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — The Indiana Fever won the WNBA draft lottery for the No. 1 pick for the second consecutive season Sunday.
The Fever took Aliyah Boston last season with the top pick and she earned the league's Rookie of the Year honors.
“This is tremendous news for our franchise to receive another No.1 overall pick,” Fever GM Lin Dunn said.
Now Indiana will have to wait to see who decides to enter the draft. Iowa's Caitlin Clark, UConn's Paige Bueckers and LSU's Angel Reese all could head back to school for another year thanks to the extra season because of the coronavirus.
Clark, a generational talent, has said that she would trust her gut when deciding whether to stay in school for a fifth-year. Players have a few days before the draft, which will be held on April 15, to declare.
Indiana, which hasn't made the playoffs since 2016, had a 44% chance of getting the No. 1 pick. They became only the third franchise to win the draft lottery in consecutive seasons, joining the Seattle Storm (2015, 2016) and the Las Vegas Aces (2017-19).
Los Angeles has the No. 2 pick with Phoenix choosing third and Seattle fourth. The Sparks, who had an 18% chance at getting the top pick, have missed the postseason two straight years and last had No. 1 in 2012 when they drafted Nneka Ogwumike.
Phoenix had the worst record in the WNBA last season and was trying to earn the first pick for the first time since the Mercury chose Brittney Griner in 2013. They had a 28% chance of getting the No. 1 pick.
“This is a deep draft class and having the third pick will give us multiple options to add talent to our team,” said Nick U’Ren, the Phoenix Mercury's general manager. “We have the most amazing fans who have been so supportive as we continue to build to return to our championship-caliber play, and we look forward to what’s to come on draft night and beyond when we add another talented player to the Mercury.”
The Storm, who will pick fourth, benefited from back-to-back No. 1 picks in 2015 (Jewell Loyd) and 2016 (Breanna Stewart) to win titles in 2018 and 2020.
“We are excited to have received the 4th pick in the 2024 WNBA draft as this will be a critical piece of the future of our team,” said Seattle Storm General Manager Talisa Rhea. “As we continue our off-season, ignited by Jewell’s commitment to stay in Seattle, we know this draft pick, coupled with our strategy in free agency, will be essential to building a roster ready to compete in the upcoming season.”
Dallas will pick fifth. Washington, Minnesota and Atlanta are next. Dallas, Connecticut, New York and Los Angeles will close out the first round.
The WNBA hasn't released its schedule yet for next year, but it will definitely be a challenging one with teams playing 40 games as well as taking a break for the Olympics in July. There's a lot of momentum in women's basketball between college and the WNBA. Last season's final between Clark and Iowa vs Reese and LSU was the highest rated ever, drawing nearly 10 million viewers to the Tigers victory.