Advertisement

WNBA draft: Chicago Sky pick South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso at No. 3 and LSU’s Angel Reese at No. 7

The Chicago Sky ushered in a new era for the franchise Monday, selecting a pair of national champion frontcourt stars in the first seven picks of the WNBA draft.

The Sky took South Carolina center Kamilla Cardoso with the No. 3 pick and added LSU forward Angel Reese at No. 7. The 6-foot-7 Cardoso is fresh off a star-making performance in the NCAA Tournament for the champion Gamecocks, while Reese — one of the most popular stars in women’s basketball — led the Tigers to the national title in 2023.

Few players bring a dominant presence in the paint like Cardoso. The Brazilian native averaged 14.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in her first season as the Gamecocks’ primary option after Aliyah Boston departed for the WNBA a year ago.

Earlier this year, the selection of Cardoso at No. 3 might have seemed like a slight reach for the Sky, who will need to develop her offensively to build her into a more versatile player. But after she averaged 16.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in five NCAA Tournament games, it’s clear Cardoso can make an immediate defensive impact at the highest level.

The 6-3 Reese is a proven presence on the boards, averaging 18.6 points and 13.4 rebounds in her senior season with the Tigers. She will have work to do for her success to translate to the WNBA — especially on the offensive end, where she needs to expand her shooting range — but her rebounding ability should carry over quickly.

A strong partnership with new Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon could be a key to unlocking Reese’s potential.

The Sky acquired the No. 3 pick from the Phoenix Mercury in February in a blockbuster trade for three-time All-Star Kahleah Copper. The trade signaled a shift in the Sky’s approach to building a roster under a new front office and coaching staff helmed by general manager Jeff Pagliocca and Weatherspoon.

The Sky since parted with other roster mainstays such as Rebekah Gardner, leaving only five returning players from the 2023 season. And with only one player — guard Dana Evans — left from the franchise-record-setting 2022 season, the Sky are undergoing a rebuild after recouping necessary draft stock lost in recent seasons.

The Sky traded up from No. 8 to No. 7 with the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday, also acquiring forward Nikolina Milić while sending forward Sika Koné, their 2025 second-round pick and the right to swap 2026 first-round picks to Minnesota. They initially acquired the No. 8 pick in February from the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for Julie Allemand, the rights to Li Yueru and a third-round pick in 2025.

The Indiana Fever selected Iowa star Caitlin Clark with the No. 1 pick in a highly touted draft class. The Sparks picked Stanford’s Cameron Brink at No. 2 and Tennessee’s Rickea Jackson at No. 4.

The Sky also have the No. 13 pick, the first selection in the second round.

The Sky’s 2024 season begins May 4 at Minnesota, with the home opener scheduled for May 7 against the New York Liberty.

_____