WNBA Draft grades: Indiana Fever score top marks with Aliyah Boston, Grace Berger picks

The Indiana Fever picked from the top spot in Monday's WNBA draft for the first time in franchise history. After selecting Aliyah Boston from South Carolina with the No. 1 pick, the Fever went with IU's Grace Berger at No. 7 overall.

But Indiana wasn't done. It also got Ohio State's Taylor Mikesell, LSU's LaDazhia Williams and South Carolina's Victoria Saxton. So where do the Fever's draft picks stack up, according to the national media?

Doyel: Top WNBA pick Aliyah Boston worthy Fever successor to Tamika Catchings

WNBA draft: Fever make 'obvious choice' with Aliyah Boston at No. 1

M.A. Voepel, ESPN: A

"Add Boston to an interior that already has last year's first-round picks — NaLyssa Smith, Emily Engstler and Queen Egbo — and you have the makings of a strong group of post players on both ends of the court.

"With Berger, the Fever get strength, toughness, defense and playmaking at the point guard spot — and someone who will bring in fans, as she was such a popular player at nearby Indiana University. Mikesell is one of the best 3-point shooters in the draft, and she played for an Ohio State team that was strong defensively.

"It's been a really tough past few years for Fever fans after the retirement of franchise legend Tamika Catchings and some subsequent moves and draft picks that didn't work out. But this team could be headed back to the postseason if all goes well."

Sabreena Merchant, The Athletic: A

"Taking Boston is the easy choice, but it’s also the right decision for this franchise, and Indiana would have had to mess up pretty badly with its other picks to not get an A.

"Luckily, the Fever didn’t. Berger is a slight reach at No. 7, but a number of front offices expressed interest in the Hoosiers guard, validating GM Lin Dunn’s decision to scoop her up with the team’s second pick. She fills a playmaking void on the team, fits into Dunn’s defensive ethos and is a hometown star who might be able to bring in some new fans. Mikesell is a necessary spacing threat, while Williams can compete with Queen Egbo for a final frontcourt spot. It’s still unclear what Saxton’s best position is, considering she defends wings about as well as she defends bigs but can’t really score from any area of the floor. However, even if she doesn’t make the final roster, her selection at No. 25 gives South Carolina five players taken in this draft, matching Notre Dame (2019) and Tennessee (1999 and 2008) for the most in WNBA history."

Doyel: Top WNBA pick Aliyah Boston worthy Indiana Fever successor to Tamika Catchings

Jack Maloney, CBS Sports

"Boston, A+: No surprise here. Boston has been the projected No. 1 pick for well over a year and the Fever made that official. Boston was a dominant interior presence in college at South Carolina, where she was a three-time unanimous First Team All-American, two-time Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and 2022 Naismith Player of the Year. She has all the physical tools and skills on both sides of the ball to be a franchise player and help turn around a Fever franchise that has not made the playoffs since 2016.

"Berger, B: The Indiana Hoosier star stays in state at No. 7 to the Fever. Berger isn't much of an outside threat, but she's a tough, efficient, versatile guard with good size at 6 feet tall. She may not have the upside of some other players, but she should be a reliable contributor right away. Solid pick-up for the Fever."

Mitchell Northman, USA TODAY Sports

"Boston, A: Aliyah Boston has long been expected to the No. 1 overall pick in this WNBA Draft. She won the Lisa Leslie Award – given to the top center in women’s college basketball – each of the four seasons she was at South Carolina, and was the consensus National Player of the Year in 2022, the same season she led the Gamecocks to a national championship. The Fever didn’t mess around here and didn’t argue with common sense. Boston is a player the franchise should be able to build around for the next decade, and she’ll benefit from playing in a league that has a defensive three-seconds rule. Defenses won’t be able to totally collapse on Boston like they did when she was in college.

"Berger, A-: This Hoosier gets to stay home and fills a big need for the Fever. Berger is a solid perimeter defender, and she was also — arguably — the best pick-and-roll point guard in women’s college basketball this past season. Her 5.8 assists per game ranked 19th in the country and she also shot 40.7 percent from 3-point range. Pairing Berger with Aliyah Boston could be the start of something special in Indiana."

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: WNBA Draft grades: Indiana Fever get high marks for Aliyah Boston pick