Wings pick Texas center Charli Collier No. 1 overall in WNBA draft

4/15/2021 9:28:05 PM EST

The Dallas Wings selected Texas center Charli Collier with the first pick in the 2021 WNBA draft Thursday.

Collier averaged 19 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in her junior season. Texas upset two higher-seeded teams on its way to reaching the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament; Collier put up 16 points and 11 rebounds in the Sweet 16 to help the Longhorns beat Maryland.

The 6-foot-5 native of Mont Belvieu, Texas, will stay in her home state to begin her professional career.

"My heart is racing right now because I worked so hard for this moment," Collier said in an interview on ESPN's telecast. "There's a lot of people that have a lot of things to say about me, but you can never question my work ethic. No matter (if you) hate me or love me, you still gotta respect me either way."

Dallas acquired the No. 1 pick from the New York Liberty in a three-way blockbuster trade in February.

On the clock again at No. 2, which was their original first-round pick, the Wings selected 6-5 Finnish forward Awak Kuier. The 19-year-old Kuier has been playing professionally Italy, where she averaged 8.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game this season.

Dallas was the first team in WNBA history to own the top two overall draft picks of the same draft.

The Atlanta Dream chose NCAA tournament standout Aari McDonald with the third overall selection. The 5-6 Arizona guard, who averaged 20.6 points and four assists in her senior season, helped lead the Wildcats to the national championship game and is the first Arizona player to be taking in the first round of the WNBA draft.

West Virginia point guard Kysre Gondrezick, 5-9, went fourth overall to the Indiana Fever, and 5-11 Arkansas shooting guard Chelsea Dungee went fifth to Dallas.

The remainder of the first round:
6. New York Liberty: Michaela Onyenwere, forward, UCLA
7. Los Angeles Sparks: Jasmine Walker, forward, Alabama
8. Chicago Sky: Shyla Heal, guard, Australia
9. Minnesota Lynx: Rennia Davis, forward, Tennessee
10. Los Angeles Sparks: Stephanie Watts, guard, North Carolina
11. Seattle Storm: Aaliyah Wilson, guard, Texas A&M
12. Las Vegas Aces: Iliana Rupert, center, France

The Storm later traded Wilson to the Fever in exchange for the contract of guard Kennedy Burke.

A few players projected to be high draft picks slipped out of the first round. The Wings used the top pick in the second round on Louisville guard Dana Evans, and Rutgers guard Arella Guirantes went with the 22nd overall pick to the Sparks.

1. Dallas Wings -- G Dana Evans, Louisville
2. Las Vegas Aces -- G Destiny Slocum, Arkansas
3. Atlanta Dream -- C Raquel Carrera, Spain
4. Chicago Sky -- F Natasha Mack, Oklahoma State
5. New York Liberty -- G DiDi Richards, Baylor
6. Seattle Storm -- G Kiana Williams, Stanford
7. Indiana Fever -- F Unique Thompson, Auburn
8. Connecticut Sun -- G DiJonai Carrington, Baylor
9. Connecticut Sun -- G Micaela Kelly, Central Michigan
10. Los Angeles Sparks -- G Arella Guirantes, Rutgers
11. Seattle Storm, F N'dea Jones, Texas A&M
12. Indiana Fever, F Trinity Baptiste, Arizona
1. New York Liberty -- G Valerie Higgins, Pacific
2. Indiana Fever -- G Chelsey Perry, Tennessee Martin
3. Atlanta Dream -- G Lindsey Pulliam, Northwestern
4. Los Angeles Sparks -- F Ivana Raca, Wake Forest
5. New York Liberty -- G Marine Fauthoux, France
6. Connecticut Sun -- G Aleah Goodman, Oregon State
7. Indiana Fever -- G Florencia Chagas, Argentina
8. Phoenix Mercury -- C Ciera Johnson, Texas A&M
9. Indiana Fever -- G Maya Caldwell, Georgia
10. Los Angeles Sparks -- G Aina Ayuso, Spain
11. Seattle Storm -- F Natalie Kucowski, Lafayette
12. Las Vegas Aces -- G Kionna Jeter, Towson

--Field Level Media


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