April 21, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Washington Mystics training camp primer and Ivy League update

Natalie and Jenn discuss the upcoming WNBA season in D.C. and take a look at the latest moves in the Ivy League

The WNBA season is just four weeks away! On the latest episode of the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast, host Natalie Heavren had Washington Mystics beat reporter Jenn Hatfield on to discuss the WNBA Draft, the team’s free agency moves and the start of training camp. They also take a look at Jenn’s other beat, the Ivy League, and the offseason moves in the college ranks.

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As Jenn points out, the Mystics are returning their top five scorers from last season in Elena Delle DonneAriel AtkinsNatasha CloudMyisha Hines-Allen and Shakira Austin. They also added guards Brittney Sykes and Kristi Toliver and center Amanda Zahui B. in free agency so they took a slightly different approach to the 2023 WNBA Draft.

“They essentially divided them up to have to be with an eye toward the future and one for someone who could help immediately this season if she makes the roster,” Jenn said.

With the fourth overall pick, the Mystics selected Stephanie Soares of Iowa State and then traded her to the Dallas Wings in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick and a first-round pick in 2025.

“As the Mystics’ current core naturally gets a little older, some free agent decisions are coming up. He calculated that having those future draft assets would be much more valuable to him than having them this season,” Jenn said.

The other two picks were 5’7 Greek guard Elena Tsineke from the University of South Florida and 5’11 Spanish guard Txell Alarcón, who will not join the team this season. Alarcón is just 19 years old.

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In the third segment, Natalie and Jenn turned their attention to the Ivy League to discuss the transfer portal where players like Columbia’s Jaida Patrick and Yale’s Camilla Emsbo are on the move.

“We’ve got a lot of Ivy players in the portal as grad transfers because the Ivy League generally does not allow graduate students to compete, so any players who graduate with remaining eligibility need to spend that eligibility outside the conference,” Jenn explained. “And the number of players who are in that situation has increased during the COVID era, because the Ivy League didn’t play in 2020 or 2021. So with that said, we’ve got over a dozen players in the portal from the Ivy League as grads. Five commitments so far and three of those players have committed to power six programs.”

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