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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

On April 15, the long-awaited WNBA draft took place at the Brooklyn Academy of Arts. After the record-breaking women’s basketball season and the NCAA Tournament, all eyes were on the draft. The final game of the tournament brought in a whopping 18.9 million viewers. Shattering records once again, this is the first time in history that the women’s final game has beaten the men’s in viewership. Because it was the final game for many beloved players, everyone awaited the news of who would enter the draft, and where they would end up. 

The draft consists of three rounds, with 12 players picked each round. A total of 36 players will be joining the WNBA following the event. The first four picks are decided by a lottery system. The teams with the overall lowest cumulative score from the past two seasons are able to enter the lottery. The four were Indiana, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Phoenix. The eight teams not entered in the lottery are then ranked from worst to best. 

For a NCAA player to enter the draft, they have to be a graduated senior, or turning 22 the same year as the draft. However, if they are an international player, their only requirement is to be turning 20 the year of the draft. An NCAA player has the ability to withdraw up until five days before the draft is held, whereas teams can trade draft picks up until the day before the draft. The complete list of rules for the draft can be found on the official WNBA website. 

It was no surprise that after Caitlin Clark’s remarkable season, she was the first overall pick. Clark has changed women’s baskets for the better, gaining new respect for the sport as a whole, and bringing in a new demographic of viewers. With 3,951 points scored throughout her college career, she broke the record of highest scorer in Division 1 history, for both men and women, beating Peter Maravich’s previously set record of 3,667 points set in 1967-1970. Clark has been a trailblazer and is well deserving of her spot on Indiana Fever. After Clark’s latest cameo on SNL, in response to Michael Che’s blatantly sexist jokes, she has gained even more stardom, showing everyone that women’s basketball is just as respectable and entertaining– if not more– than men’s. 

After news broke over her starting salary, widespread outrage followed. Clark’s contract states that she will be paid $76,535 in her first year. Although this will increase as the years go on, it is abysmal. The average man’s salary for their first year in the NBA is $10.5 million. It has been made clear time and time again that women’s sports are seen as secondary, even though it is women who are continuously evolving the sport and calling for change. President Joe Biden even tweeted that it is an insult to have such a large wage gap. It’s past time for these athletes to be paid their worth. 

After the public discovery of the large pay gap between the two U.S. national soccer teams, the women’s team demanded equal pay, and after an uphill battle, was eventually granted it. I can only hope that the current and future WNBA players won’t have to endure the same long process and that their contracts will be adjusted accordingly and swiftly. Soon enough, these athletes will be smashing the patriarchy, just as they do world records. 

The rest of the first-round picks were as many of us expected, with the second overall pick being Cameron Brink. The Los Angeles Sparks used their first lottery picks to secure her. She is expected to quickly become a WNBA defensive star, as she was the Naismith defensive player of the year. Chicago Sky picked Kamilia Cardoso for third overall. She was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four and helped South Carolina secure the National Championship. 

The Los Angeles Sparks picked Rickea Jackson from Tennessee and Mississippi State, as the fourth overall pick. The fifth overall pick was the Dallas Wings, choosing Jacy Sheldon from Ohio State University. Sixth overall went to the Washington Mystics, picking Aaliyah Edwards from the University of Connecticut. The seventh overall pick was back to Chicago Sky, picking Angel Reese from Louisiana State University. The eighth overall pick was the Minnesota Lynx, choosing Alissia Pili. Ninth was the Dallas Wings once again, choosing Carla Leite. Tenth went to Lelia Lacan, who was offered a spot on Connecticut Sun. Finally, the eleventh and twelfth overall picks went to Marquesha Davis and Nyadiew Puoch, receiving spots on the New York Liberties and the Atlanta Dreams, respectively. Kate Martin was there supporting her teammate, Caitlin Clark when she was picked to join the Las Vegas Aces, the best team in the WNBA. Although I was aware that there was a chance she could be drafted, it was a surprising pick, but nonetheless just as deserved. 

Paige Bueckers went viral for her positive and entertaining reactions in response to her teammates and competitors being drafted. People were saying she was reacting like a “proud mom,” recording and cheering nonstop! Although Beuckers is 22 this year, she opted to return to college at UConn after gaining another year of eligibility due to an ACL injury. It can be safely assumed that for the 2025 draft, she will be the first overall pick.  

The exciting WNBA season will begin on May 14. I can guarantee more records will soon be broken, and the popularity will continue to grow following the debut of Caitlin Clark and Cameron Brink. I’m excited to continue to follow their growing careers both on and off the court.

Cassidy Burry is originally from northern California and is a current freshman at Pace University. She is majoring in Communications and Media and planning on picking up a minor in journalism. She is a member of Her Campus Pace. Throughout her childhood she has collected various magazines, and Vogue in particular has been a great inspiration in her decision to pursue journalism. Cassidy loves spending time with kids. Over the summer she was a summer camp counselor, at Camp Winnarainbow. Before that she worked at a school program. That involved taking kids, ages four through seven, to different parks, beaches, and other locations native to northern California. They would focus on teaching the kids the importance of the environment and how to leave it better than we found it. They regularly would clean up the beaches and parks they visited. Cassidy has always had a love for her community and giving back. She spent a large majority of her time in high school volunteering at a kitchen and garden that grew and produced meals. These meals would go to patients and their families that were suffering from chronic illnesses and diseases. They would be curated to help aid with their healing and recovery process. In her free time she enjoys all forms of art. She has a special interest in fiber arts, specifically crocheting and knitting. She loves poetry and reading all types of books. Cassidy has a deep love for music ranging from all genres. She was actually named after the song “Cassidy '' by the Grateful Dead. She has found that being named after that legendary band has brought meaningful connections to her everyday life. For the majority of her childhood she played competitive soccer. And now that she is no longer playing herself, she looks forward to the Women’s World Cup every four years. She hopes that women in sports will gain more recognition in the future, and will not be seen as second to men’s sport.