April 11, 2023 

Phoenix Mercury draft Miami standout Destiny Harden and USC standout Kadi Sissoko in 2023 WNBA Draft

Harden and Sissoko are unlikely to make the 2023 Mercury roster, but they are intriguing picks for Phoenix

The WNBA third-round picks rarely see the floor.

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With just 144 spots in the 12-team league, later-round picks have a tough time securing roster spots. In the 2021 and 2022 WNBA Drafts, just six players out of the 24 third-round picks have appeared in a WNBA game.

While the likelihood of the 2023 Phoenix Mercury draft picks making the roster is slim, they did draft a couple of terrific college players with their only two picks, both in the third round of the draft. At pick No. 27, the team drafted forward Destiny Harden out of Miami. And at pick No. 29, Phoenix drafted forward Kadi Sissoko from USC.

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“We are very pleased with the results of this year’s draft,” said Phoenix general manager Jim Pitman in a press release. “We had both Destiny and Kadi rated high on our draft boards and are thrilled to have acquired players of their caliber with our picks. We are excited to get them both into camp and see what they can do here in Phoenix.”

Harden was a key member of the 2022-23 Hurricanes team that secured a No. 9 seed in the Greenville 2 region of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. Playing in 33 of Miami’s 35 games, Harden was the team’s second-leading scorer, with a scoring average of 11.9 points per game. She was the Hurricanes’ leading rebounder, averaging 5.9 per game. She helped lead Miami to a Cinderella run to the Elite Eight before losing to eventual champion LSU. Her biggest performance was in the second-round upset of No. 1 seed Indiana, where she scored 18 points and hit the game-winner.

“When they hit the shot to tie the game, I actually didn’t know what type of play the coaches were going to have drawn up for us,” said Harden after the win over Indiana. “It’s a lot of people on my team that played good today, so everybody could have gotten that game-winning shot. But it was the exact same play as last year, so I probably should have known it was going to come to me. But no, I just thank the coaches for trusting me, the players for trusting me, and it feels good to come through for them and send us to the Sweet 16.”

Harden will be competing with two-year WNBA veteran forward Kylee Shook as well as Sissoko for a roster spot. Shook was signed to a training camp contract earlier this offseason after two seasons with the New York Liberty in 2020 and 2021. She took last season off for personal reasons.

Sissoko was USC’s leading scorer in 2022-23, averaging 15.4 PPG. She also was second on the Trojans in rebounding with 6.4 RPG. She helped USC make the tournament as a No. 8 seed. South Dakota State eliminated the Trojans in the first round. She will also be competing with Shook and Harden for a roster spot.

Written by Jesse Morrison

Jesse Morrison covers the Phoenix Mercury for The Next. A native of Roanoke, Va., Jesse moved to Arizona in 2017 to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, graduating in 2021 with a degree in sports journalism. Outside of The Next, Jesse works for Arizona Sports, co-hosting an Arizona State podcast, producing a radio show and writing for their website.

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