April 20, 2023 

Who are the top WNBA draft prospects in women’s college basketball?

Ranking the top 22 prospects in women’s college basketball

There is more talent in the game of women’s basketball than ever before. The WNBA draft has not reflected that over the past three years, with a couple of shallower classes sandwiching a good one, but that’s about to seismically change. Both 2024 and 2025 could be among the handful of best classes in the history of the WNBA draft, and both lotteries may include multiple future Hall of Famers. And that’s to say nothing of the depth of the 2026 group.

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(This post was written by Em Adler, Hunter Cruse and Lincoln Shafer.)

What does all this talent look like all stacked together? And how does it compare to recent draft classes? That’s where our “future value” grading can help. On a scale of 20-80, these numbers translate to: 20 — draftable; 30 — reserve; 40 — rotation-caliber; 45 — top-end backup; 50 — average starter; 55 — above-average starter; 60 — All-Star caliber; 70 — All-WNBA caliber; 80 — MVP candidate.

So without further ado:


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(Offensive and defensive roles are per Basketball Index)

80 FV

1. Caitlin Clark, point guard, Iowa

Year: 2024*

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Height: 6’0

Defensive style: Helper

Every now and then, a basketball player comes along that is unlike anything we have ever seen before. A singular offensive engine with basically no weaknesses on that end of the ball, Caitlin Clark has been one of the best players in college basketball since the moment she arrived in Iowa City, Iowa. Her combination of on-ball skills and off-ball utility compares only to legends of the game like Stephen Curry and Diana Taurasi, and her defense has quietly improved across her three collegiate seasons. Clark is a slam dunk No. 1 pick in any WNBA draft and one of the handful best prospects in history.

Highlights:

Concerns:

70+ FV

2. Janiah Barker, big wing, Texas A&M

Year: 20251

Offensive style: Shot-creator

Height: 6’4

Defensive style: Mobile big

A 6’4 playmaker on both ends of the court happens about once in a generation. Janiah Barker looked every bit the part of “generational talent” this past spring, returning from a wrist injury that cost her two months to put up per-40-minute averages of 21.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.7 blocks on 57.4% true-shooting and 28.1% usage, the latter two ranking in the 84th and 95th percentiles among forwards, respectively, per CBB Analytics. With an elite jumper and handle and physical gifts galore, her only real weaknesses are her back-to-the-basket game and ability to find the line between physical defense and fouling. And most players improve on foul problems after their freshman year.

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3. Paige Bueckers, point guard, UConn

Year: 2024*

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Height: 5’11

Defensive style: Low activity/chaser

The last time we saw Paige Bueckers, she was arguably the best midrange shot-creator in the history of the game and dragged UConn to the national championship game despite playing on one leg. The last time we saw Paige Bueckers on two healthy legs, she was splitting USBWA Freshman of the Year honors with the No. 1 player on this board. There’s no question that Bueckers’ immaculate shot-creation could easily make her one of the couple greatest offensive guards in WNBA history; the main difference between her and Caitlin Clark is that Bueckers projects to be a value-added defender where Clark already is one. Bueckers simply has to reign in a strong tendency to overhelp off the ball.

Highlights:

Concerns:


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70 FV

4. Cameron Brink, big, Stanford

Year: 2024*

Offensive style: Versatile big

Height: 6’4

Defensive style: Mobile big

Cameron Brink is one of the most versatile big prospects in recent memory, given her superb size, length and movement patterns. Crazily enough, she joins Brittney Griner as the only college players since 2009-10 to record a 12% block rate and shoot 80% from the free-throw line (minimum five attempts per game) in the same season, per Her Hoop Stats. Brink has good form, touch and footwork on her jump shot; so if she manages to return to the 3-point success she had as a sophomore, when she shot 42.3% on 1.4 attempts per game behind the arc during the second half of the season, we’re talking about uncharted territory for a post-sized player.

Highlights:

Concerns:

60 FV

5. Olivia Miles, point guard, Notre Dame

Year: 20252

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Height: 5’10

Defensive style: Point of attack

Olivia Miles is an above-average jump shot away from being the best player in the world within the next five years. As it stands, her jumper ranks a bit below average, making her merely a future franchise cornerstone. The list of things Miles can do at an elite level is mind-boggling; beyond being the greatest playmaker the NCAA has seen in decades, she has one of the nastiest handles in the country, navigates screens and defends well in isolation and has an uncanny knack for big steals and blocks. The only things she can’t do are defend Brittney Griner in the post and hit 30% of her threes.

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6. Cotie McMahon, combo forward, Ohio State

Year: 2026

Offensive style: Shot-creator

Height: 6’0

Defensive style: Wing stopper

The Big Ten Freshman of the Year was one of the youngest players in college basketball this season. She was also one of the best players in the country down the stretch, helping to spark a run to the Elite Eight for the Buckeyes. Defense and downhill driving are what really pop off the screen when you watch Cotie McMahon play — over half her attempts came at the rim, per CBB Analytics, despite being two to three inches shorter than her defender on most occasions, and she was great defending on the ball. There have even been flashes of off-dribble and 3-point shooting (she hit 33.3% of 2.3 3-point attempts per game in the NCAA tournament) that raise her ceiling to exorbitantly high levels.

Highlights:

Concerns:

7. Azzi Fudd, off-ball guard, UConn

Year: 2026

Offensive style: Off-screen shooter

Height: 6’0

Defensive style: Low activity

At 20 years old, Azzi Fudd is already one of the best off-ball players in the world, with an immaculate biomechanical power transfer and virtually no dip in her jumper, coupled with Klay Thompson-level relocation skills. She alters any standard defensive help principles: defenders can’t afford to provide nail help or dig into the post without the fear of leaving Fudd with a sliver of space on the perimeter, truly changing the complexion of the court. Though she has had significant defensive issues, the biggest hitch in Fudd’s prospects is her injury history. She has battled multiple knee injuries, suiting up for only 55% of UConn’s games in her first two collegiate seasons. She has shown no signs of regression upon return, though, so it comes down to availability for the 5’11 guard.

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Concerns:

55 FV

8. Aaliyah Edwards, big, UConn

Year: 2024*

Offensive style: Roll & cut big

Height: 6’3

Defensive style: Mobile big

Aaliyah Edwards mixes old and new school styles at the big position. She is a highly effective post scorer, converting 75.6% of her attempts at the rim last season, which ranked in the 96th percentile among forwards, per CBB Analytics. Standout strength and mobility allow her to excel in transition, as well as being a dynamic driver from the high post with a highly effective midrange spot-up jumper to counter. On defense, she is slightly undersized at 6’3, but leverages her low center of gravity and the aforementioned physical advantages to provide value in many coverages. The only real question is whether she’s too much of a tweener to succeed or just enough of one to be dynamic at both the four and the five.

Highlights:

Concerns:

9. Laila Phelia, wing, Michigan

Year: 2025

Offensive style: Shot-creator

Height: 6’0

Defensive style: Point of attack

The Laila Phelia we saw before a Jan. 29 left leg injury was basically the perfect off-ball guard: elite shooting, shot-creation in iso, easy rim pressure and, above all else, best-in-the-nation backcourt defense. The numbers jump off the page — 17 points per game, 41.1% from three on 3.3 attempts, 4.4 free-throws, 1.5 steals and a 90th-percentile block rate, per CBB Analytics — but Phelia was most impressive shutting down the nation’s best offensive guards. There’s really only three knocks against her: that she’s only been this good for one injury-affected season, that she flashes plus finishing but is inconsistent there and that she provides zero value-added passing. The first two are a lot more likely to resolve themselves than the third.

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10. Ta’Niya Latson, point guard, Florida State

Year: 2026

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Height: 5’8

Defensive style: Helper

Ta’Niya Latson came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, scoring 20 or more points in 16 of her first 17 games. She has an exciting combination of athleticism, scoring and defensive instincts that already make her one of the best players in the country. Latson’s explosiveness allows her to get into the paint and maneuver through tight crowds with ease. Add in an unbelievable ability to hang in midair when finishing and deadly jump-passing, and you’ve got one of the most prolific scorers in the country. She had issues with overambitious driving and her point-of-attack (POA) footwork and ball-watching on defense, but there’s every reason to think those will improve over time.

Highlights:

Concerns:


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50 FV

11. Aneesah Morrow, big, N/A (DePaul transfer)

Year: 2025

Offensive style: Shot-creator

Height: 6’1

Defensive style: Mobile big

Aneesah Morrow is a truly special offensive talent, one whose game is continually expanding. As a freshman, she was an unstoppable back-to-the-basket force, splitting doubles in the mid-post and anchoring her strength to finish through contact at the rim. As a sophomore this past year, she added operating from the short corner and attacking from the baseline, and improved her midrange shooting and more than tripled her 3-point attempts. She also showed more than a few flashes of defensive playmaking in space. Morrow was overtaxed on a diminished DePaul team, so going to a program that instills both defensive buy-in and modern spacing would be beneficial to her development.

Highlights:

Concerns:

12. Saniya Rivers, wing, NC State

Year: 2025

Offensive style: Secondary ball-handler

Height: 6’1

Defensive style: Point of attack

Saniya Rivers simply has no ceiling. She is a long, explosive athlete with a riveting handle, craftiness, length and increasingly frequent flashes of shot-making and on-ball creation. Rivers is similar to 2023 first-rounder Jordan Horston: jumbo-sized creation, dazzling lift on jumpers and elite defensive playmaking and versatile coverage. Rivers at this point can do most anything on defense. Her offensive development could truly go in any direction — more playmaking, more at-rim finishing, more jump shooting — so the sky’s the limit.

Highlights:

Concerns:

13. Sonia Citron, wing, Notre Dame

Year: 2025

Offensive style: Secondary ball-handler

Height: 6’1

Defensive style: Wing stopper

A great shooter and finisher who can defend multiple positions at a high level, good navigating through screens and moving without the ball, Sonia Citron is the kind of player that can fit seamlessly into any system. She has also shown some scalability, stepping into roles of increasingly higher usage after injuries to Dara Mabrey and Miles, and the on-ball ability she showed during the NCAA tournament will only help her. At this point, Citron is still a lot more “tools” than “skills”; her on-ball craft and ability to defend over ball screens do need to improve for her to reach another level. But the tools? The tools are elite.

Highlights:

Concerns:

45 FV

14. Maddie Scherr, wing, Kentucky

Year: 2024*

Offensive style: Utility wing/secondary ball-handler

Height: 5’11

Defensive style: Helper

Maddie Scherr might have the best hand-eye coordination and defensive footwork of any guard in Division I, which together with her impeccable closeouts and switchability explains why she became just the 15th guard in the Her Hoop Stats era to average 2.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in a single season. She also ranked around the 90th percentile among guards in both assist rate and assist-to-turnover ratio, per CBB Analytics, and was a great threat both off the catch and off the dribble. The only issue was serious offensive reluctance. Scherr too often passed instead of taking clear openings for pull-up shots or drives into the paint, which was made all the more jarring by Kentucky’s dearth of scoring talent. Should she clear that mental hurdle without losing efficiency, she’ll be at least a 60 FV.

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Concerns:

15. Shyanne Sellers, combo guard, Maryland

Year: 2025

Offensive style: Secondary ball-handler

Height: 6’2

Defensive style: Point of attack

Shyanne Sellers has worked her way into our top 15 because of her impressive playmaking on both ends and unique size for a POA player. She can defend any guard in the country, with footwork and length and disruptive hands that frustrate even the best. The issue has been that sometimes that defense simply… doesn’t show up. Sometimes, that footwork is uncoordinated and she offers little resistance to handlers getting downhill. But what always shows up is the offense: she stepped into a larger role as a sophomore, increasing her scoring and playmaking volume significantly. Her pure passing ability is often unrivaled, she shot 38.5% on catch-and-shoot threes, per Synergy, and her pull-up middy has become a great weapon — all of which portend success even if her struggles accounting for good help defenders limits her on-ball usage.

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Concerns:

16. Charlisse Leger-Walker, point guard, Washington State

Year: 2024*

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Height: 5’10

Defensive style: Helper

One of the most versatile offensive players in the country, Charlisse Leger-Walker can score efficiently from a wide variety of play types while also being one of the most dynamic passers in the country. She’s not at the same level defensively, but she sees the floor incredibly well and has good instincts as a helper. She is also strong enough to hang with larger players who might otherwise think they have a mismatch. Her playmaking is perhaps her best singular skill, which is a rare quality for a player that shoots and moves without the ball as well as she does.

Highlights:

Concerns:

17. Jacy Sheldon, off-ball guard, Ohio State

Year: 2024

Offensive style: Slasher

Height: 5’10

Defensive style: Helper/wing stopper

Jacy Sheldon is a walking paint touch with elite burst and lateral quickness and a savant-like feel for attacking on both ends of the floor. She’s a versatile offensive guard, able to lead a transition break, operate a great pick-n-roll (PnR) and attack from the second side, while also providing excellent pressure from off-ball movement. Ohio State’s blitz of a defensive press can make it more difficult to see the WNBA translation of Sheldon’s defense, where she’s wreaked havoc with her activity level and athleticism for years. Her ability in the halfcourt improved significantly last year, though, affirming projections she would develop into a plus defender in the W.

Highlights:

Concerns:

18. Te-Hina Paopao, point guard, South Carolina (Oregon transfer)

Year: 2024*

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Height: 5’9

Defensive style: Helper

Te-Hina Paopao is the platonic ideal of a point guard: steady PnR creation, shot-making, tempo-setting and capable off-ball defense. The former Duck shot a career-best 42.4% on 5.5 attempts per game from beyond the arc last season — including 58.9% on 8.1 attempts over her last nine games — has excellent touch on floaters and can hit an open teammate from anywhere. A 14th-percentile free-throw rate among guards, per CBB Analytics, needs improvement to raise her offensive ceiling. Backside freelancing on defense kneecaps an otherwise value-added off-ball defensive game as well

Highlights:

Concerns:

19. Kiki Rice, point guard, UCLA

Year: 2026

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Height: 5’11

Defensive style: Point of attack

Kiki Rice’s game is all POA. She is an exceptional ball screen operator, who understands how to use angles, set up drives and manipulate defenders to create efficient offense. On defense, she capitalizes on excellent size and strength to disrupt offensive actions on screens or going downhill. The complete lack of help defense is fine when you’re as good defending the POA as Rice. But despite her sometimes mind-boggling finishing and foul-drawing, she will need to round out her offensive game: she shot just 21.7% from three and 31.0% on non-paint twos with a very rough jumper form.

Highlights:

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20. Georgia Amoore, point guard, Virginia Tech

Year: 2024*

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Height: 5’5.5

Defensive style: Chaser

What is there to say about Georgia Amoore that her lengthy highlight reel doesn’t already convey? She is quite possibly the best perimeter shot-creator in college basketball, regardless of gender, and moves so well off the ball that defenses have started guarding her as if she’s continuously got a live dribble. She’s even added a pull-up middy and floater to her repertoire. Despite her height, she gets to the rim when it’s open and defends well both on and off the ball. But the unknowable question is whether that’s going to be enough to make up for her height against WNBA defenders.

Highlights:

Concerns:

21. Yarden Garzon, combo forward, Indiana

Year: 2026

Offensive style: Movement shooter

Height: 6’3

Defensive style: Helper

Yarden Garzon this season became the fifth freshman in the HHS era to shoot at least 45.8% on 4.8 3-point attempts per game. She’s also the tallest player on that list by three inches, and no one 6’3 or taller has come within 2.5 percentage points at the WNBA level, per Sports Reference. Suffice it to say, Garzon is uniquely talented. A compact jumper and advanced feel for off-ball movement prove her season was no fluke, and excellent help instincts and shot-contesting make her a true star of a stretch four. To improve on an already polished game, she’ll need to turn flashes of excellent driving-and-finishing into consistent showings and to clean up her POA footwork on the other end.

Highlights:

Concerns:

22. Jayda Curry, combo guard, Louisville (Cal transfer)

Year: 2025

Offensive style: Secondary ball-handler

Height: 5’5

Defensive style: Chaser

Despite the numbers, Jayda Curry is a standout with impressive perimeter shot-creation skills. She was forced to do a lot of heavy lifting for a subpar Cal team, but will be able to slot into a more natural role at Louisville. She should be able to showcase her off-ball shooting with the Cardinals and continue to show her live-dribble passing chops and isolation shot-making. That combination should allow her, even at 5’5, to be a high-level offensive player in the ACC. She has also shown some skill as an off-ball defender, especially chasing shooters around screens.

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Honorable Mentions — 40 FV

Mara Braun, off-ball guard, Minnesota

Year: 2026

Offensive style: Movement shooter/shot-creator

Highlights:

Height: 6’0

Defensive style: Wing stopper

Concerns:

Nika Mühl, point guard, UConn

Year: 2024*

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Highlights:

Height: 5’11

Defensive style: Point of attack

Concerns:

Sarah Andrews, point guard, Baylor

Year: 2024*

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Highlights:

Height: 5’6

Defensive style: Helper

Concerns:

Celeste Taylor, off-ball guard, (Duke transfer)

Year: 2024

Offensive style: Slasher

Highlights:

Height: 5’11

Defensive style: Point of attack

Concerns:

Maddy Westbeld, big wing, Notre Dame

Year: 2024*

Offensive style: Versatile, playmaking big

Highlights:

Height: 6’3

Defensive style: Helper

Concerns:


* Player has at least an additional year of NCAA eligibility beyond 2023-24 and could return to college instead of entering the 2024 draft.

1. Despite being a freshman this past season, Barker has said that she intends to declare for the WNBA draft after her junior year in 2025.

2. Miles matriculated before the spring semester 2021, so she will finish the 2023-24 school year with seven semesters completed. An injury that may force her to miss almost the entire upcoming season seems to make it likely she’ll return to Notre Dame for 2024-25.

Written by Hunter Cruse

Hunter Cruse covers the Atlanta Dream and the WNBA Draft for The Next.

3 Comments

  1. Sharon on April 21, 2023 at 5:45 pm

    Angel Reese,???

    • Erik Rusulis on April 22, 2023 at 12:01 pm

      It’s because Angel Reese is really not that good of a ballplayer other than having a really good wingspan and really tall. She’s not really that good of a person she only has a good shot in the paint she’s just really good at causing drama and talking to her self up to make it seem like she’s a better ballplayer than she really is. If you watch the finals again, she isn’t really the reason why they won she’s just really good at making herself look good on her social media, pages and interviews and the only reason why people are talking to her a lot is due to all the drama

  2. Kenny G on April 25, 2023 at 8:45 pm

    My boy Lincoln is getting his chance! Great read, it helped me understand a bit more in the field of women’s basketball.

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