Aari McDonald among the top prospects chosen by the Dream in the 2021 WNBA Draft

The Atlanta Dream selected three top prospects in the 2021 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, headlined by guard Aari McDonald, who was selected No. 3 overall Thursday night.

With the No. 15 overall pick, the Dream drafted forward Raquel Carrera (Spain) and then picked guard Lindsey Pulliam (Northwestern) with the No. 27 overall pick.

“We are excited with how this draft played out for us,” said head coach Nicki Collen. “We identified players who fit our system, with high character and a team-first approach, as well as fit our long-term plans. Aari [McDonald], Raquel [Carrera] and Lindsey [Pulliam] are winners on and off the court.” 

TUCSON, ARIZ. — Women’s basketball photo day. Sept. 30, 2020. Photo by Mike Christy / Arizona Athletics

McDonald, who led Arizona to its first NCAA Finals appearance in 2021, earned Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year this past season. The 5-6 guard is a two-time All-American who averaged 21.7 points and 5.9 assists over her three years with the Wildcats. During Arizona’s incredible run to the NCAA Championship game this past season, McDonald averaged 24.8 points over six games, including 33 against Indiana in the Elite Eight. She is the first Wildcat to ever be drafted in the first round of a WNBA Draft. 

“With Aari [McDonald], we were very much in a ‘best available’ situation,” Collen said. “We just really felt like the combination of who she is, how she plays, the pace that she plays, [and] the energy that she plays with, makes her a good fit.”

During her three years in Tucson, McDonald received numerous accolades. She was a three-time All-Pac-12 selection and a three-time Pac-12 All-Defensive member. She was also named the 2020 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award winner, awarded to the best collegiate shooting guard. 

Prior to her time in Arizona, McDonald began her career at the University of Washington, where she was named to the 2017 Pac-12 All-Freshman team.

Carrera, a 6-3 forward from Spain, is currently playing for Valencia BC in Spain-Liga Dia. She is averaging 6.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 29 league games so far. In EuroCup play, she averaged 6.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game. For her play, she earned Semifinals Top Performer honors for carrying her team to their first EuroCup Women Final. 

“Raquel [Carrera] was a personal favorite of mine,” Collen said. “I’ve watched her play with Valencia all season long and she never takes a bad shot, she has range from the three-point line. She’s someone that won’t come over this season, she’ll be training with the Spanish National Team, through EuroBasket and then the Olympics… We kind of knew at 19 [years old] what she’s capable of. I feel like when I watch her play she makes good decisions, she makes open shots, [and] she makes her teammates better.”

Photo: S.J. Carrera/Northwestern Athletics

Pulliam, a 5-10 guard, is known by many as “Pull-Up Pulliam” for her ability to take the ball off the dribble and launch her signature shot. She averaged 16.5 points and 4.2 rebounds over her four-year career in Evanston. She earned All-Big Ten honors in all four seasons and was the fastest player in Northwestern women’s history to reach 1,000 pts. Her 2,025 total points rank third all-time in the Northwestern career charts behind Anucha Browne and former Dream forward Nia Coffey.

“Lindsey Pulliam, I think as a junior, was probably one of those players high on people’s lists for Big 10 Player of the Year. [She’s a] really good midrange player, has made three’s. She’s someone who will challenge us at camp and will have a chance to prove herself.” 

Season tickets for the 2021 season are available now by calling 877-977-7729 or visiting www.atlantadream.net. More ticketing information and arena protocols will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Atlanta Dream will tip-off their 14th season in the WNBA in May 2021. The organization, who will play its home games at the Gateway Center Arena @ College Park, has qualified for the WNBA Playoffs in nine of its first 13 seasons.

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