NEW YORK — A’ja Wilson was the top pick in the WNBA draft by the Las Vegas Aces on Thursday night.
The South Carolina star post player will bolster the relocated franchise’s frontcourt. The Aces, who moved to Las Vegas from San Antonio this past winter, had the first pick for the second straight season.
Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell went second to the Indiana Fever.
The Chicago Sky took Diamond DeShields, who spent the season playing professionally in Turkey, and Gabby Williams of Connecticut with the next two picks. UCLA guard Jordin Canada was selected fifth by the Seattle Storm.
Azura Stevens, who decided to forego her final year of eligibility at UConn, was taken sixth by Dallas. Washington drafted Ariel Atkins of Texas seventh. Victoria Vivians went eighth to Indiana.
New York took Kia Nurse ninth and Los Angeles drafted 19-year-old Russian star Maria Vadeeva with the 11th pick. She’s the first foreign player who didn’t play at an American college to be taken in the first round since 2012.
Marie Gulich of Oregon State was drafted by Phoenix to close out the first round.
UCLA’s Monique Billings was the final player invited to the draft to be taken. She went with the 15th pick to Atlanta. The Dream had traded for that pick earlier in the day sending Bria Holmes to the Connecticut Sun.
The draft was held at Nike’s New York headquarters. The athletic apparel company is a global partner and outfitter for the WNBA this season. They unveiled the new WNBA uniforms earlier Thursday.
Training camps open up on April 29 and the 22nd season of the WNBA begins play on May 18.