Aari McDonald leads Pac-12 Women’s Basketball stars into the WNBA Draft
With March Madness firmly in the rearview mirror, Pac-12 women’s basketball stars will turn their attention to the 2021 WNBA Draft this Thursday, April 15. Five student-athletes from the Conference of Champions have opted in for 2021 WNBA Draft consideration.
Arizona’s Aari McDonald
No player improved their draft stock during March Madness more than Arizona’s Aari McDonald. The point guard put together an other-worldly performance as the No. 3 Wildcats made an upset run all the way to the championship game. McDonald scored more points (149) than any other player during the tournament and averaged an absurd 28 points in her final four games. Along the way, McDonald garnered praise from everyone from Magic Johnson to Megan Rapinoe to Hillary Clinton.
McDonald had already been a sure-thing to be drafted before the tournament, but her star-making run vaulted her into the discussion to go in the top 5, with some pundits even predicting that she could be the top overall player taken.
No,thank you for everything. I am so grateful for everyone in the program, the University as a whole, and the Tucson community. I love you all and Tucson will forever have a place in my heart❤️💙 https://t.co/2uL9lEOavI
— Aari McDonald (@AariMcdonald) April 7, 2021
Stanford’s Kiana Williams
While McDonald may have put up the headline-grabbing numbers, it was Kiana Williams’ Cardinal that actually cut down the nets as 2021 NCAA champions. The senior finished her illustrious career as one of the top players to ever don a Stanford jersey. Among Cardinal women’s basketball players, Williams ranks first in threes (310), ninth in assists (464) and 10th in points (1,834).
Williams is expected to go somewhere in the middle of the first round with ESPN's Mechelle Voepel predicting she could land with the Chicago Sky at No. 8 overall.
Blessed and highly favored. pic.twitter.com/rjXe5Sa5hK
— Kiana Williams (@Kiana__W) April 6, 2021
UCLA’s Michaela Onyenwere
During the 2020-21 season, Michaela Onyenwere, along with her Bruin teammates, became a leading voice for Black student-athletes by hosting Bruin Table Talk conversations with celebrities like Gabrielle Union, Baron Davis and Cari Champion.
Onyenwere also put together quite the season on the court and was one of only 11 Power 5 conference players to average 19 points and 7 rebounds. The only two-time Associated Press All-American in program history, Onyenwere led UCLA to the NCAA tournament each year of her career (save for 2020's canceled event). Most impressively, Onyenwere and fellow Pac-12 superstar McDonald were two of just three players in the nation to average 18 points per game each of the past three seasons.
Onyenwere is likely to go in the first round with Voepel penciling her in at No. 7 to the Los Angeles Sparks.
Oregon State’s Aleah Goodman
A versatile player on offense and defense with punishing accuracy from beyond the arc, Aleah Goodman managed to be a force for Oregon State even when she wasn’t a regular starter, earning her the 2019 Pac-12 Sixth Player of the Year award. The point guard helped the Beavers to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including an upset run to the Elite Eight in 2018. She leaves Oregon State with the third most threes (241) in program history.
Mock drafts peg Goodman as a third-round selection at the WNBA draft.
— Oregon State WBB (@BeaverWBB) April 3, 2021
Arizona's Trinity Baptiste
Arizona grad transfer Trinity Baptiste has also declared for the draft after a stellar season for the NCAA runner-ups. Baptiste made stops with Northwest Florida State College and Virginia Tech, where she was named the 2020 ACC Sixth Player of the Year, before landing with the Wildcats for her final collegiate season. The 6-foot forward started every game for the Wildcats and averaged 8.6 points and 6.1 rebounds.
Tune in to watch the 2021 WNBA Draft on ESPN this Thursday, April 15th at 4 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. MT. And download the Pac-12 Now app and set alerts to get the latest news & updates on all things women’s basketball.