Washington Mystics secure No. 1 pick in WNBA Draft

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Washington Mystics head coach Mike Thibault watches as his team plays the Minnesota Lynx at a WNBA basketball game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. The Lynx won 93-75. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDVM) – On Sunday night, the Washington Mystics landed the first overall pick in the WNBA Draft Lottery, the second time in franchise history the team has held the No. 1 pick.

“This is the perfect way for us to kick off our 25th season.” said Head Coach Mike Thibault. “After the last two years with the bubble, the absences, the injuries, and the illnesses, and the same thing this past year – what we went through; it felt like we needed a break to kind of jump start us.”

With a cumulative record of 12-20 in the regular season, the Mystics had the most chances to land the top pick in this draft. The team missed the playoffs for the first time in four years, and just the second time under Mike Thibault.

“Does the draft pick plus whatever we do in free agency; does that solve it?” said Thibault, “Does it mean that you go get a veteran player to go with this group? I don’t know that, but its exciting as a staff to be able to kind of figure that out.”

In the draft, the Mystics have the option between Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard, and Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith. Howard is a two-time first-team all-American and a two-time SEC player of the year. Smith was an all-American and the consensus Big 12 player of the year last season. She leads the nation at 13.2 rebounds per game and ranks 17th in scoring at 20.4 points.

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