Super College Class Takes Center Stage at WNBA Draft

Every so often, a truly loaded rookie class emerges and changes the sport forever. Think of the 2003 NBA Draft or the NFL’s 1983 group. The 2024 WNBA Draft class joined that shortlist of best-of-the-best prospect crops.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve watched a lick of women’s college basketball over the last few years. Players like Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Cameron Brink and Rickea Jackson all dazzled for their respective schools and helped grow the women’s game.

College doesn’t last forever, however, and those superstars all shared the same professional timeline. They came together at the 2024 WNBA Draft, looking like The Avengers of hoops.

Way back in December, the Fever won the WNBA Draft Lottery, although the team wasn’t yet sure just how valuable that was. Iowa icon Caitlin Clark — more on her later — hadn’t yet decided if she’d hit the pros or return to the Hawkeyes.

When the guard announced her intentions to join the WNBA, the Fever could have locked in their pick early. They managed to show patience and waited until the April event to finally send in the slam-dunk selection.

Even with an all-time great group of gals behind her, Clark was the obvious first pick. With superpowered scoring and polished playmaking, the four-time All-American should quickly revive an Indiana franchise that hasn’t made the postseason since 2016.

Cameron Brink came next, and she felt like a steal. If Clark had stayed in college, Brink would have been the top choice. The Sparks jumped at the chance to add the Stanford product, who stands tall like Wonder Woman and plays defense like Sylvia Fowles.

Sticking with the Sparks, the L.A. club also owned the No. 4 pick, using it on Rickea Jackson. While Brink will headline the team’s defensive efforts, the Tennessee product will whip up a storm of scores. She averaged 20.2 points for the Volunteers in 2023-24.

Down in Dallas, the Wings were eager to add more talent after a trip to the 2023 semifinals. They did just that by nabbing Jacy Sheldon fifth overall. Working like Catwoman at Ohio State, the perimeter ace outsmarted her foes with sly scoring and sharp-as-claws defense.

Searching for a fantastic four, Chicago nailed it by trading up and acquiring Angel Reese at the No. 7 spot. Recently announced as an exclusive Panini America athlete, the power forward hits the pros after a storied stint at LSU, where she racked up individual accolades and helped the Tigers win the 2023 national championship.

With the following pick, the Lynx took an offensive superstar that not even Earth’s mightiest heroes could defend. Alissa Pili averaged north of 20 points in each of her two seasons with Utah and knocked down 57 triples on a .404 percent clip in 2023-24. Head coach Cheryl Reeve will get the best out of her new scoring centerpiece.

The best news is that you won’t have to wait long to see these heroines in action. The WNBA season tips off in less than a month, with the preseason coming in just a few weeks.

Also look forward to catching these rookies, along with established All-Stars and legends of the past, in Panini’s upcoming WNBA releases. With this legendary group of dazzling debutants, there’s never been a better time to start your collection.


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