Taylor Mikesell Poised to Be Ohio State’s First WNBA Draft Pick Since 2018

By Dan Hope on April 10, 2023 at 8:35 am
Taylor Mikesell vs. Tennessee
Joseph Scheller/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY Network

It’s been five years since Ohio State has had a player selected in the WNBA draft. That will change Monday night.

Taylor Mikesell is among 15 players who will be in New York for Monday night’s 2023 WNBA draft, an indication of her standing as one of the top prospects in this year’s draft class.

With only 12 picks in each round, mock drafts leading up to the WNBA draft have been split on whether Mikesell will be a late first-round pick or an early second-round pick. Her Hoops Stats’ Gabe Ibrahim has Mikesell going to the Indiana Fever with the No. 7 overall pick, while Just Women’s Sports’ Rachel Galligan has Mikesell going to the Dallas Wings with the 11th pick of the first round. ESPN’s M.A. Voepel and Winsidr’s Matt Cohen both have Mikesell going with the second pick of the second round (No. 14 overall) to the Los Angeles Sparks. Sports Illustrated’s Clare Brennan and CBS Sports’ Jack Maloney did not include Mikesell in their one-round mock drafts.

Either way, Mikesell is safely in line to become the first player to finish her career at Ohio State and be selected in the WNBA draft since Kelsey Mitchell and Stephanie Mavunga were both chosen by the Fever in 2018. If Mikesell is one of the top 12 picks, she’d be Ohio State’s sixth first-round WNBA draft pick ever, joining Mitchell (No. 2 overall in 2018), Tayler Hill (No. 4 in 2013), Samantha Prahalis (No. 6 in 2012), Jantel Lavender (No. 5 in 2011) and Jessica Davenport (No. 2 in 2007).

Ohio State’s All-Time WNBA Draft Picks
Year Round Pick Team Player
2018 1 2 Indiana Fever Kelsey Mitchell
2018 2 14 Indiana Fever Stephanie Mavunga
2017 2 13 Connecticut Sun Shayla Cooper
2016 2 24 New York Liberty Ameryst Alston
2013 1 4 Washington Mystics Tayler Hill
2012 1 6 Phoenix Mercury Samantha Prahalis
2011 1 5 Los Angeles Sparks Jantel Lavender
2008 3 41 Phoenix Mercury Marscilla Packer
2007 1 2 San Antonio Silver Stars Jessica Davenport
2007 3 33 Seattle Storm Brandie Hoskins
2006 2 28 Connecticut Sun Debbie Merrill
2003 2 13 Connecticut Sun Courtney Coleman
2002 4 55 Orlando Miracle Tomeka Brown
2001 3 41 Washington Mystics Jamie Lewis
1999 Player Allocation   Minnesota Lynx Katie Smith
1998 Expansion Draft 8 Cleveland Rockers Adrienne Johnson

Mikesell is positioned to likely be one of the first 15 players selected in the WNBA draft thanks to her two excellent seasons as a Buckeye after transferring to Ohio State from Oregon. After averaging 11.5 points per game across her first three collegiate seasons (two at Maryland, one at Oregon), Mikesell took her game to new heights at Ohio State, averaging 18.6 points per game in 2021-22 and 17.2 points per game in 2022-23.

Mikesell was the top 3-point shooter in all of women’s college basketball in her first year as a Buckeye, when she made 47.5% of her 3-point attempts, good for 3.6 3-point makes per game and the nation’s best percentage beyond the arc. She finished fourth in the country in 3-point makes per game (3.2) and eighth in 3-point percentage (41.4%) this past season, all the while taking on additional responsibilities that sometimes included playing point guard as Jacy Sheldon – who was also projected to be a first-round pick in this year’s WNBA draft before deciding to return to Ohio State for her extra year of eligibility – missed most of the regular season with a foot injury.

Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff says the team who drafts Mikesell will be happy it did both because of her ability to score and shoot the ball and because of the personal qualities she will bring to her new team.

“One, you're gonna get an outstanding young woman who's going to be a great fit to your culture. She's gonna work incredibly hard and just raise the standards of your entire organization with her work ethic,” McGuff told Eleven Warriors in March. “And then three, she has a skill that she does better than almost anyone. And there's something to be said for, we know what she's gonna bring on a nightly basis.”

Mikesell transferred to Ohio State because she believed McGuff’s offensive system would enable her to play to her strengths and achieve her goal of playing in the WNBA, and it worked out just as she hoped it would.

“I think this was the best decision I could have made coming back here,” Mikesell said in March. “I think it’s been my favorite years of my entire career, just being able to come back here; just having gone through what I went through, being able to come back here, it’s meant so much more to me. If I had to do it again, I would do it again in a heartbeat if that meant I got to be here at the end.”

Not including Mikesell, the only Ohio State player currently on a WNBA roster is Mitchell, who is entering her sixth year in the league with the Fever. Should the Fever, who hold four of the first 17 picks in this year’s draft, including the No. 1 overall pick, use one of those picks to draft Mikesell on Monday night, Mitchell will surely be among those celebrating the selection.

“Man, that would be great,” Mitchell said in January when asked about the possibility of the Fever drafting a Buckeye. “I'm a Buckeye for life, so I’m an advocate for any athlete that comes from Ohio State University … I'm an advocate to see one of our own be in that draft, for sure.”

Mikesell will be one of two former Ohio State players at the WNBA draft on Monday night, though the only one who actually finished her career as a Buckeye. Dorka Juhász, who played three seasons for Ohio State from 2018-21 before transferring to UConn, is also projected to be a late first- or early second-round pick.

The 2023 WNBA draft, which includes 36 total picks across three rounds, begins at 7 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN.

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