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10 WNBA Draft-eligible players to keep an eye on during the 2023-24 season

You already know about the nation’s biggest names: Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Paige Bueckers and so on. There’s a lot more depth in the 2024 WNBA Draft class than just those oft-mentioned players, though. Let’s discuss some players who could use the 2023-24 NCAAW season to better their chances of going pro.

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 15 Womens Missouri at South Carolina
It’s Kamilla Cardoso’s turn to start for the South Carolina Gamecocks, which will give her the opportunity to raise her WNBA Draft stock.
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Have you started thinking about the 2024 WNBA Draft yet?

If so, you’re probably already familiar with the biggest prospects. There’s going to be plenty of analysis on what players like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese will be able to bring to the WNBA (should they declare for the 2024 Draft) in the coming months. But there are plenty more prospects to discuss between now and then. Here are 10 WNBA-Draft eligible players who we’ll be keeping our eye on during this NCAA season and what they can do to put themselves in better draft position.

Ohio State v Connecticut
UConn wing Aubrey Griffin may not be as frequently mentioned as some of her teammates, but her physical tools make her a WNBA Draft prospect worth keeping your eye on this season.
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Aubrey Griffin (UConn Huskies)

After missing her entire junior season with a series of injuries, Griffin broke out in 2022-23, averaging 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. Given the sheer amount of star power on UConn, she’s not going to be the most talked about Husky, but Griffin has excellent size for a wing at 6-foot-1 and her perimeter defense is crucial to her team’s success. Should Griffin maintain her 2-point scoring efficiency (59.6 percent as a redshirt junior) and improve her 3-point shooting (29.1 percent), she’ll become quite an appealing player to WNBA scouts.

Charlisse Leger-Walker (Washington State Cougars)

Perhaps it’s the Pac-12 effect, but even after scoring nearly 2,000 points in three seasons, Leger-Walker remains one of Division I’s best-kept secrets. Shifty off the bounce and with the ability to shoot off screens, Leger-Walker has a skillset that should intrigue plenty of WNBA coaches, especially if they account for her role as Washington State’s primary scorer (27.8 percent usage rate as a junior). Another Cinderella run, like the one the Cougars went on in the 2023 Pac-12 Tournament (in which Leger-Walker was named Most Outstanding Player), certainly could help her case, too.

Kamilla Cardoso (South Carolina Gamecocks)

The next in line on a long list of impressive frontcourt players coached by Dawn Staley, Cardoso’s size alone (6-foot-7) will catch more than a few eyes looking for the next physically imposing interior presence. Cardoso has come off the bench during her time at South Carolina, but with Aliyah Boston, Laeticia Amihere and Victaria Saxton now all in the pros, she’ll have a bigger role for South Carolina. Should Cardoso sustain some of her rate statistics (20.8 offensive rebounding rate and 9.5 block rate last season) while playing starters’ minutes, she’s going to put up some eye-popping numbers.

Charisma Osborne (UCLA Bruins)

We already profiled Osborne as a WNBA Draft prospect last season. At the time, she was putting up career-best numbers across the board, but a shoulder injury suffered in late December put a hold on Osborne’s senior campaign. Statistically, she wasn’t the same after she returned from it. Osborne ultimately chose to return to UCLA for a fifth season; the 5-foot-9 guard will have an opportunity to not only improve on her 2-point shooting from last season (44.1 percent), but also get her 3-point shooting (29.2 percent) back to where it needs to be for her to be considered a top-tier prospect at the position.

Jewel Spear (Tennessee Lady Vols)

One of the most gifted shooters in the country, not many players shoot an easier ball than Spear, who got up 511 3-pointers in her last two seasons at Wake Forest. The degree of difficulty on many of these shots was perhaps higher than it needed to be, which hindered Spear’s individual efficiency. By playing alongside other all-conference-level talents at Tennessee in Rickea Jackson and Tamari Key, she should see less attention from defenses, in which case her abilities as an outside shooter will be on full display.

Dre’una Edwards (Baylor Lady Bears)

Edwards’ first season at Baylor was mired in controversy as the 6-foot-0 forward was ruled ineligible to play after transferring from Kentucky. With all of that now behind her, Edwards can remind the country just how talented of a player she is; an athletic combo forward who can attack the glass (2.9 offensive rebounds per game as a junior) and score the ball effectively (16.8 points per game on 52.1 percent shooting from the field). There’s a lot to like about Edwards’ game at the next level if she can replicate those numbers at Baylor.

Kiki Jefferson (Louisville Cardinals)

Jefferson was one of the best players during her time in both the CAA and the Sun Belt (James Madison switched conferences prior to her senior season), and she’ll now be looking to make a similar impact as a graduate transfer in the ACC. At 6-foot-1, Jefferson is tough to stop going downhill, and earned better than 30 percent of her points at the free throw line in each of her last two seasons (7.4 and 7.7 free throw attempts per game as a junior and senior, respectively). While it’s an unfortunate truth that mid-major stars don’t get the attention that those playing in Power Five conferences do, Jefferson can use this to her advantage if she carries her strong play over to Louisville.

Te-Hina Paopao (South Carolina Gamecocks)

The Oregon teams Paopao was a part of never reached their full potential, but she made the All-Pac-12 First Team twice, shooting 38.4 percent on 3-pointers and recording a cumulative assist/turnover ratio of 1.92 in her three seasons there. So it’s easy to see why the Gamecocks would be excited about her decision to transfer. If there’s one program that draws attention to its players as future pros, it’s South Carolina. Even if Paopao decides to stay for her extra season of eligibility next year, expect the hype train to pick up quickly for the talented young combo guard.

Ashley Owusu (Penn State Nittany Lions)

Things didn’t quite work out for Owusu in her lone season at Virginia Tech, and she’s now back in familiar territory: the Big Ten. When the 6-foot-0 guard began her collegiate career, she was one of several big names on a stacked Maryland squad. Now, she’ll be a veteran presence for a rebuilding Penn State program that hasn’t posted a winning record since 2017. There’s a big opportunity for Owusu here—not just to dazzle with flashy passing and downhill rim attacking, but also to showcase leadership from the point guard position.

Jakia Brown-Turner (Maryland Terrapins)

Brown-Turner seemed destined for collegiate stardom after a productive sophomore season at NC State (13.5 points, five rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game; All-ACC First Team), but she wasn’t able to match those numbers as an upperclassman. The rangy forward will be betting on herself as a graduate transfer at Maryland, and perhaps the Terrapins’ uptempo style will fit Brown-Turner’s game better than NC State’s methodical, 4-out-1-in system did.