The WNBA holds its 20th college draft Thursday at 7 p.m. ESPN2 will provide coverage and analysis of the first round and ESPNU will air the second and third rounds starting at 8 p.m. Ten 10 prospects will attend the WNBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm. These include Associated Press National Player of the Year Kelsey Plum, three players from the NCAA champion Gamecocks and two from the University of Maryland. Dallas has three first round selections and San Antonio and Chicago each have two.


The Stars need scorers. San Antonio has the first and fifth picks in the draft.

Plum averaged more than 30 points per game last year at Washington in her second All-American season. If awards mean anything, Plum is the best college basketball player coming out in the draft.

The team added depth in the front court through off-season trades. Moriah Jefferson should only improve with a year of experience under her belt. Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell is another prolific scorer, but her all-around game probably is not what a rebuilding team needs. That front court is suspect. The best player, Monique Curry, is 34. The Stars have five other bigs under contract. Jayne Appel-Marinelli and Dearica Hamby are proven rebounders, but where will the points come from?

Hometown girl

Chicago has the second draft pick.

The Suns had the best offense and next to worst defense in the WNBA in 2016. They traded their leading shot blocker, defensive rebounder and scorer for this pick. Northwestern’s Nia Coffey averaged 20 ppg and 10 rpg and seems like an obvious selection.


Dallas has the third, fourth and 10th picks. It needs defense, more than anything else.

The Wings allowed more than 88 ppg in 2016. The league average was a little less than 82. Dallas’ defensive rating, an estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions, was 111.1. Both were the worst in the league. Although the Wings averaged 82 ppg, the team traded its best offense player in Odyssey Simms.

Management is looking for a new identity.

Dallas has the three first round picks to help forge its new personality. South Carolina’s Alaina Coates could fill the role. She is awesome on the defensive boards. Stanford’s Erica McCall is a solid scorer, shot blocker and rebounder. She would be a nice complement to fix the dee.

Size or marketing?

Next come the Stars with the second of its first round picks. If they want to fill a front court slot Maryland’s Biranna Jones averaged 20 ppg and 11 rpg in 2017, would be the choice. On the other hand, Baylor guard Alexis Jones has a nice three-point touch and is from Texas.

Point guard

If the Mystics plan to start Emma Meesseman, Elena Delle Donne (when healthy), Kristi Toliver and Tayler Hill, Washington will need a point guard.

Maryland’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough is an obvious choice, but this draft has other options. Syracuse’s Alexis Peterson averaged 23.4 points, seven assists and three steals per game becoming the ACC player of the year. South Carolina’s Allisha Gray dished out a few assists for USC last year.