As we enter the Final Four of March Madness, Brandeis women’s basketball has garnered unprecedented attention. A historical Monday night on April 1 featured matchups between University of Connecticut’s Paige Bueckers and University of South California’s JuJu Watkins and between Louisiana State University’s Angel Reese and University of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, with the latter duel attracting record-breaking viewership of women’s college basketball. 12.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the Reese vs. Clark showdown in the Elite Eight, and ESPN reported that 14.2 million viewers watched the UConn vs Iowa Final Four matchup. The electric game garnered the most views of any basketball game — college or professional. Thanks to these college superstars, there are arguably more women’s basketball fans now than ever before. 

The 2024 Women’s National Basketball Association Draft will be held on April 15. Clark, Reese and Brink have all declared that they entered the draft. As a dedicated fan of the WNBA and women’s college basketball, I present my personal prediction of the top five picks of the 2024 WNBA draft. 

No. 1 - Indiana Fever: Caitlin Clark

This pick does not warrant much explanation. Clark has been the sensation of women’s college basketball since her debut, when she dropped 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the University of Iowa. The Indiana Fever might not have been successful in the past few seasons, but they have recruited some talents, such as sharpshooter Katie Lou Samuelson and drafted former University of South Carolina star Aaliyah Boston. Clark is the obvious No. 1 pick in this draft class for what she has accomplished in her college career — three-time scoring leader, two-time Naismith College Player of the Year, First-team All-American every season, all-time Division I leader in scoring … the list goes on. And, just in case the Fever needs other reasons to draft Clark, her staggering long-range shooting ability can create space for Boston to score more efficiently in the paint, while her amazing court vision can easily locate shooters like Samuelson and Lexie Hull off transitions. It will be exciting to see what Clark can do in the WNBA, and she is sure to have a future impact on women’s basketball.

No. 2 - Los Angeles Sparks: Rickea Jackson

Rickea Jackson is a 6’ 2” senior forward playing for the University of Tennessee. She averaged 20 points and eight rebounds in the 2023–24 season. Jackson can score from posting up, pulling up for mid-range jump shots and driving to the paint off a catch. While she is not a great ball handler, her ability to attack the basket and score is arguably the best of this draft class. 

Jackson, however, is a somewhat contentious pick. Following my article ranking best women’s college basketball players in 2023, I am once again going against the predictions from ESPN and CBS Sports, who both chose Brink as the No. 2 pick for the Los Angeles Sparks. The Sparks are absolutely winning the 2024 WNBA draft with their No. 2 and No. 4 picks. They do need some size in the paint, but it was the lack of an aggressive scorer at the wing that prevented the Sparks from major success last season. Their guard position is stacked with talents such as Zia Cooke and Lexie Brown, but these guards struggled to penetrate the defense and get into the paint in the 2023 season. The Sparks are going to be left with either Brink or South Carolina center Kamilia Cardoso to choose from with their No. 4 pick. I would risk losing Brink to draft Jackson to add to the team’s offensive caliber, especially after the departure of Most Valuable Player in 2016, Nneka Ogwumike. 

No. 3 - Chicago Sky: Cameron Brink

If any team can get Brink with a No. 3 pick, it is a no-brainer for them to choose this defensive powerhouse over any other options in this draft. The Chicago Sky was eliminated in the first round of playoffs by the defending champions, the Las Vegas Aces, last season. Defense in the paint was a major problem for them during the series and throughout the entire 2023 season. By drafting Brink, the 2024 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, the Sky will be able to upgrade their rim protection and find a replacement for center Morgan Bertsch, while shooter Maria Mabrey and former all-star Diamond DeShields provide scoring energy from the perimeter. 

No. 4 - Los Angeles Sparks: Kamilla Cardoso

It is the Sparks’ turn to choose again! And Cardoso is the optimal choice for the squad. She is a 6’ 7” center from the University of South Carolina and averages 14 points and nine rebounds this season. Her outstanding height will immediately place her as the second tallest player in the WNBA, just behind Olympic Gold Medalist Brittney Griner. Another advantage of Cardoso, thanks to her height, is that she can score under the basket with limited space to operate. She is not a stellar offensive rebounder. However, if she gets the ball in the restricted area, it is likely that she can give you a bucket with ease. Cardoso will bring the Sparks some great defense around the rim and would be an immediate offensive threat in the paint. 

No. 5 - Dallas Wings: Aaliyah Edwards

The Dallas Wings need a good traditional point guard to direct the traffic on offense. Unfortunately, this is not something that this draft class has to offer. Other analysts have predicted that the Wings will trade this pick away for a point guard or other assets. However, if the Wings want another system player who can add value to their defense, Aaliyah Edwards from UConn will be a great pick at the No. 5 place. After four years playing under legendary coach Geno Auriemma, Edwards excels in being at the right place at the right time. Whether it is setting a solid screen for a scorer or stepping up to protect the paint, Edwards has been the foundation of UConn women’s basketball during her collegiate career. I would not be particularly surprised if the Wings decided to add her to the roster with their No. 5 pick. 

Prospects of Reese, one of the brightest stars in women’s college basketball, do not look good in the WNBA draft. This is mainly because of her offensive deficiency — marked by her 47% field goal percentage and 11% accuracy from three this season. Her well-known rebounding talent will also likely be less influential when faced with WNBA-level rebounders. I predict that Reese will be drafted at the No. 6 to No. 8 in this class. 

The 2024 WNBA draft class is filled with future superstars. Other names worth mentioning include Jacy Sheldon (Ohio State University), McKenzie Holmes (Indiana University), and Dyaisha Fair (Syracuse University). Tune in on ESPN on Monday, April 15, to celebrate these college basketball players’ successful careers and congratulate them on their entrance into the WNBA.