Five from the Pac-12 taken in the WNBA Draft for the third consecutive year
SAN FRANCISCO – Two first-round picks highlighted five overall selections from the Pac-12 in Thursday night’s WNBA Draft, which was held virtually this year with the picks announced live on ESPN.
Aari McDonald (ARIZONA) was first off the board, going to the Atlanta Dream with the No. 3 overall pick and Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA) was selected by the New York Liberty at No. 6. Kiana Williams (STANFORD) went to the Seattle Storm with the sixth pick in the second round (18th overall) and was followed by Trinity Baptiste (ARIZONA), who was taken with the final pick in the second round (24th overall) by the Indiana Fever. Aleah Goodman (OREGON STATE) rounded out the Pac-12 selections when she was chosen by the Connecticut Sun with the sixth pick in the third round (30th overall).
The Conference has had multiple first-round selections in each of the past five drafts and at least four overall picks in the past eight drafts, active streaks which lead all leagues by three years. The SEC has had multiple first rounders in two consecutive drafts and the Big 12 has had at least four overall selections in the past two drafts.
The first Wildcat to be selected in the draft’s first round, McDonald averaged 20.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists this season in leading Arizona to its first Final Four. The 5-foot-6 dynamo was one of four Power 5 conference players in the country to put up those numbers (20/5/4) this year and raised her game in the postseason, averaging 24.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in the Wildcats’ run to the national title game.
Tenth in Conference history in career scoring (2,314), McDonald’s 149 points in this year’s NCAA Tournament are fourth among women’s college basketball players since 2000, trailing only Diana Taurasi (157; UConn – 2003), Arike Ogunbowale (155; Notre Dame – 2019) and Candice Wiggins (151; Stanford – 2008). In 2021, McDonald was voted the Pac-12 Player of the Year, the Conference’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year and earned her second consecutive WBCA All-America honor.
Onyenwere is UCLA’s fifth WNBA draft pick over the past four seasons and first to go in the first round since two-time WNBA champion Jordin Canada was taken fifth overall by the Seattle Storm in 2018. Onyenwere, the only two-time Associated Press All-American in program history, finished the year averaging a career-high 19.1 points per game and concluded her career as UCLA’s fourth all-time leading scorer (1,888) and eighth all-time leading rebounder (885).
She was one of 20 players in the country to average 19.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game this season and one of only 11 to do it in a Power 5 conference. Onyenwere was also one of just three players in the country to average at least 18.0 points per game in each of the past three seasons along with McDonald and Vivian Gray (Texas Tech/Oklahoma State).
Williams became Stanford’s 27th WNBA Draft pick after guiding the Cardinal to its third national championship, and first in 29 years, in her hometown of San Antonio. One of 10 WBCA All-Americans this season along with McDonald, Williams never missed one of Stanford’s 137 games after stepping on campus and made 128 consecutive starts to finish her career. She averaged 14.0 points and 3.1 assists per game, finished seventh in the country in 3-point makes (82) and was named the Most Outstanding Player of both the NCAA Tournament’s Alamo Region and the Pac-12 Tournament in 2021.
She is the Cardinal’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals (311) and fourth in Pac-12 history. Also 10th in program history in scoring (1,834 points) and ninth in assists (464), Williams is one of 22 women’s college basketball players since 2000 to put together career totals of more than 1,800 points, 450 assists and 300 made 3-pointers. She is the third in the Pac-12 to do it over that span, joining Sabrina Ionescu (OREGON) and Sydney Wiese (OREGON STATE).
Baptiste started every game for Arizona and averaged 8.6 points and 6.1 rebounds. Her only season in Tucson was the most successful in program history. The Wildcats advanced to the national championship game for the first time and their third consecutive 20-win season featured 13 Pac-12 victories. Arizona, which was projected to make the 2020 field before the event's cancellation, hadn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2005 and became the first program to advance to the Final Four after missing out on the previous 10+ tournaments.
It's the second time two players from Arizona have been selected in the same draft. In 2002, LaKeisha Taylor and Elizabeth Pickney both were taken in the fourth round.
With Goodman’s selection, six of the Beavers’ eight overall WNBA Draft selections have come since 2016. The 5-foot-9, Milwaukie, Ore. native led Oregon State in scoring (16.2) and assists (4.9) this season and was both an All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Defensive honorable mention selection.
Goodman finished second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, making 49.0 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc, an Oregon State record and the fourth-most accurate 3-point shooting season in Pac-12 history. She ended her career 16th in program history in scoring (1,162) and third in 3-pointers made (241).
|Player||School||Team||Round / Pick (Overall)|
|Aari McDonald||Arizona||Atlanta Dream||1st / 3rd|
|Michaela Onyenwere||UCLA||New York Liberty||1st / 6th|
|Kiana Williams||Stanford||Seattle Storm||2nd / 18th|
|Trinity Baptiste||Arizona||Indiana Fever||2nd / 24th|
|Aleah Goodman||Oregon State||Connecticut Sun||3rd / 30th|