Jewell Loyd stole the show with a game-high 31 points in Notre Dame's big win at Maryland on Monday. And Alyssa Thomas looked like an unstoppable force at times for the Terrapins.
But Curt Rallo of the South Bend Tribune also reported that New York Liberty coach and general manager Bill Laimbeer was impressed by Fighting Irish guard Kayla McBride, who might not have stood out as much on Monday but has taken on a bit more responsibility this season in the absence of alumnus Skylar Diggins.
Against Maryland, McBride scored 20 points, including a deep 3 with 11 seconds left to give the Irish their four-point margin of victory.
"I think McBride played with a lot of confidence," Laimbeer said. "She's playing solid basketball this year. She's taught herself to handle the ball a little bit better than she has in the past. That's a big step up for her for the next level. She gained a lot of confidence playing with USA Basketball. That really helped her out as far as knowing that she can play at a higher level.
"McBride will be in the top seven, easily. Achonwa will be a little lower pick."
There's still a considerable amount of uncertainty about how the first round might pan out. The top three prospects have been pretty clear in the eyes of most since the beginning of the season. After that, things could depend on team needs and how WNBA medical staffs evaluate knee injuries to Duke's Chelsea Gray in consecutive years. We'll get to Achonwa a bit later, but McBride really has started to separate herself from the rest of the pack.
Statistically speaking, McBride's dramatically improved ball handling and scoring efficiency are a large part of what has solidified her as one of the top prospects for the 2014 WNBA Draft. Yet her biggest strength is still her elite scoring ability: as of right now, she's shooting 48.9% from both 2-point and 3-point range. Her ability to score from all over the court so efficiently as one of her team's primary options is very promising.
If McBride somehow slips out of the top seven, it's likely that some lucky general manager will have a steal on their hands.
For more on draft prospects, check out our 2014 WNBA Draft prospect watch storystream.
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- Sparks Watch Day 28: Thoughts from Larry Burnett
- UConn's block record, Stefanie Dolson and the 50-50 club