Mystics land No. 1 overall pick in 2022 WNBA draft

The Washington Mystics have landed the first overall pick in the WNBA draft for the second time in franchise history.

The Mystics were one of four teams involved in the draft lottery and had the third best chance — 17.8% to get the top pick — and with star guard Natasha Cloud in attendance, the Mystics bucked the odds on Sunday.

“This is a huge moment for us,” Mystics coach and general manager Mike Thibault said. “I remember 10 years ago sitting and watching Sheila Johnson’s face when I was still not with the team, when the team had the best odds, and she was sitting there so sad when they got the fourth pick. … So this is a changer for us.”

This marks the first time Washington has won the WNBA draft lottery; when the Mystics had the first pick in the 1999 draft, but there was no lottery back then. Chamique Holdsclaw was the Mystics’ pick.

“We’ve been studying very carefully eight to 10 players and I don’t know who we’ll pick,” Thibault said. “We’re open to anything right now. I think the biggest thing is that you have to pick the best player.”

NaLyssa Smith of Baylor could go No. 1. A few minutes after her fifth-ranked team lost to Michigan, Smith said she’d be thrilled to go to Washington.

“That would be great. I have family in D.C., too,” she said. “That’s where my dad’s from. That’s looking pretty right now.”

The Mystics already have a loaded roster that suffered through one of the worst runs of injuries in Thibault’s storied career. Former MVP Elena Delle Donne missed most of the season while recovering from back surgery. There were games when Thibault barely had enough healthy players to field a team.

New York will pick fifth, followed by Dallas, Chicago, Minnesota, Seattle, Indiana, Las Vegas and Connecticut. The Lynx acquired Phoenix’s pick via New York and Seattle. The Fever got Minnesota’s No. 10 pick.

Lottery odds are based on the cumulative records of the two most recent regular seasons (2020 and 2021). With a cumulative record of 12-42, the Fever had the best shot at No. 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Rob Woodfork

Rob Woodfork is a versatile broadcaster with a broad range of experience. He can be heard in in WTOP's traffic center and on the Sports Desk and his byline is on as a web writer/editor and sports columnist.

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