Seven ACC Student-Athletes Selected in 2022 WNBA Draft

Seven ACC Student-Athletes Selected in 2022 WNBA Draft

GREENSBORO, NC ( – For the 17th consecutive year, the Atlantic Coast Conference had at least one student-athlete selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft, as the 2022 edition was held Monday evening. That streak is the most of any conference and the next closest is eight.

The ACC had seven student-athletes selected in the WNBA Draft, which tied for the most of any conference.

Louisville forward Emily Engstler was the first ACC player taken in the draft when she was selected by the Indiana Fever with the fourth pick in the first round. Engstler was named a First Team All-ACC Selection and led the Cardinals to the Final Four. In addition to claiming Associated Press All-America honorable mention, the New York native was a Cheryl Miller Award Finalist (given to the nation’s top small forward) and a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Semifinalist.

Cardinals teammate Kianna Smith was drafted with the 16th pick in the second round by the Los Angeles Sparks, as Louisville was one of just two programs with multiple selections among the top 16.

NC State’s Elissa Cunane was selected by the Seattle Storm with the 17th pick in the second round and Georgia Tech’s Lorela Cubaj followed with the 18th pick also by the Storm before the selection was traded to the New York Liberty.

Kayla Jones of NC State was the 22nd overall pick in the second round by the Minnesota Lynx and Virginia Tech’s Aisha Sheppard was drafted with the 23rd pick by the Las Vegas Aces. Notre Dame’s Maya Dodson was the conference’s seventh selection at 26th overall by the Phoenix Mercury.

The ACC led all leagues with 27 players on WNBA rosters and 22 players on WNBA Playoff rosters last season. The ACC’s 11 former student-athletes on the four semifinal playoff teams (Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Las Vegas Aces and Phoenix Mercury) were also the most of any conference.Duke’s Lexie Brown and Louisville’s Dana Evans won the 2021 WNBA Championship as members of the Chicago Sky.

The WNBA will tip off its 26th season on Friday, May 6, with a full weekend of action featuring all 12 teams. The television and streaming schedule this season includes a combined 123 games across CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network (40 games), NBA TV (46), Prime Video (17) and Facebook Watch (20).


round pick Name Team School Position
1 4 Emily Engstler Indiana Fever Louisville Forward
2 16 Kianna Smith Los Angeles Sparks Louisville Guard
2 17 Elissa Cunane Seattle Storm NC State Center
2 18 Lorela Cubaj Seattle Storm (Pick traded to the New York Liberty) Georgia Tech Forward
2 22 Kayla Jones minnesota lynx NC State Forward
2 23 Aisha Sheppard Las Vegas Aces Virginia Tech Guard
3 26 Maya Dodson Phoenix Mercury Our Lady Forward/Center

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