Las Vegas Aces pick A’ja Wilson No. 1 in WNBA draft

The Las Vega Aces made South Carolina star forward A’ja Wilson the top pick in the WNBA draft on Thursday night.

Wilson was named Most Outstanding Player when she led the Gamecocks to a national title in 2017 and was the consensus national player of the year this past season. She’s also a three-time first-team All-American and three-time SEC Player of the Year.

The Aces, who moved from San Antonio to Las Vegas this winter, were picking at the top of the draft for the second straight season after finishing with an 8-26 record.

The Indiana Fever took Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell with the second pick, while the Chicago Sky took Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams with the following two picks.

DeShields, the daughter of retired baseball player Delino DeShields, played in Turkey last season after graduating early from Tennessee. Williams helped UConn to two NCAA titles over four years with the Huskies.

The Seattle Storm selected UCLA guard Jordin Canada with the fifth pick.

UConn forward Azura Stevens was selected sixth by the Dallas Wings, followed by Texas guard Ariel Atkins to the Washington Mystics at No. 7.

Wrapping up the first 10 picks were Mississippi State guard Victoria Vivians to the Fever at No. 8 with their second pick of the first round, Duke guard Lexie Brown at No. 9 by the Connecticut Sun and UConn guard Nia Nurse to the New York Liberty at No. 10, making her the third Connecticut player taken in the opening round.

The Los Angeles Sparks picked 19-year-old Russian star center Maria Vadeeva with the 11th pick and the Phoenix Mercury took Oregon State center Marie Gulich at No. 12 to close out the first round.

The WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, who did not have a first-round pick after trading it to Phoenix last month for guard Danielle Robinson, made their first selection with the No. 5 pick in the second round, taking South Korean center Ji-Su Park with a pick they acquired from Seattle in February for restricted free agent forward Natasha Howard.

Former President Barack Obama’s niece, Leslie Robinson, was drafted with the 10th pick of the third and final round by the New York Liberty. Her father, former first lady Michelle Obama’s older brother Craig Robinson, is vice president of player development and G League operations for the New York Knicks.