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WNBA draft 2024: The six game-changing players to watch

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(NEW YORK) — The highly anticipated 2024 WNBA draft is finally here. Like many fans, players will anxiously await to hear their name called on Monday night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.

In 2023, the league broke records in ticket sales with back-to-back WNBA champions, the Las Vegas Aces, reporting sold-out games throughout the season and viewership with the WNBA reporting over 36 million total unique viewers across all national networks during the regular season.

The women’s NCAA championship game earlier this month outdrew the men’s with an average of 18.9 million viewers, according to ESPN.

With some of women’s college basketball players being newcomers, the league is anticipating bigger turnouts than ever before. Here are six players to watch ahead of the WNBA draft.

1. Caitlin Clark

Caitlin Clark is known for her jaw-dropping 3-pointers and record-breaking scoring. The University of Iowa star declared for the WNBA draft in February in a social media post. Clark, 22, is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Indiana Fever, according to ESPN. I

Iowa announced it will be retiring Clark’s jersey, No. 22, later this season. The Fever is also reporting increased ticket sales and the league will broadcast 36 of their 40 games this season.

2. Cameron Brink

Hailing from Beaverton, Oregon, and standing at 6-foot-4, Cameron Brink is a force to be reckoned with in the post. Brink became the first women’s basketball player to sign an NIL deal with New Balance in 2023. Brink broke the program record for career blocks as a junior and won an NCAA championship with Stanford in 2021 under Tara VanDerveer, the winningest coach of all time who also announced her retirement after this season.

The 22-year-old is expected to be the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft with the Los Angeles Sparks, according to ESPN.

3. Kamilla Cardoso

At just 15 years old, Kamilla Cardoso left her home in Montes Claros, Brazil, and moved to the U.S. alone. Her goal was to play basketball in college and reach the WNBA. The 6-foot-7 star began her basketball career at Syracuse and later transferred to South Carolina, where she won two NCAA national championships. After a masterful performance in the NCAA Tournament, the 22-year-old was awarded the most outstanding player in this year’s championship game.

Cardoso is expected to be the No. 3 overall draft pick for the Chicago Sky, according to ESPN. She will be featured in a documentary alongside Clark coming this May.

4. Rickea Jackson

Though you don’t hear the name often, 23-year-old Rickea Jackon’s calm and poised demeanor on the court should not go unnoticed. Hailing from Detroit, Jackson was a finalist for the Cheryl Miller Award as Division I’s best small forward while playing for Tennessee, according to the WNBA, and is the fourth-leading scorer in Lady Vol’s program history.

The 6-foot-2 forward has name, image and likeness deals with Burt’s Bees and Bojangles. She is projected to be the No. 4 overall pick for the Los Angeles Sparks. according to ESPN.

5. Aaliyah Edwards

Playing under UConn head coach Geno Auriemma is no easy task. The 6-foot-4 forward from Kingston, Ontario, helped UConn to three NCAA Final Four appearances. Edwards was the youngest member of the Canadian women’s national team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to the WNBA.

Edwards signed an NIL deal with adidas Canada, becoming the first NIL athlete of the global sports brand’s Canadian division, according to the WNBA. She is projected to be selected No. 5 to the Dallas Wings, according to ESPN.

6. Angel Reese

The Baltimore native turned “Bayou Barbie” became a sensation following Louisiana State University’s victory over Iowa in the 2023 NCAA women’s basketball championship. Angel Reese, the 2024 SEC player of the year, made her WNBA draft announcement in style — with a feature in Vogue magazine. With nearly 3 million followers and big NIL deals, the 6-foot-3 forward has captivated the world at the intersection of sports and fashion. She is projected to be selected No. 8 by the Chicago Sky, according to ESPN.

The WNBA draft will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be streamed on ESPN.

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