The Washington Mystics selected center Shakira Austin from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) with the third overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft. The team also selected guard Christyn Williams from the University of Connecticut with the 14th overall pick.
“Shakira is a terrific talent that can play both post positions and she can be a big part of our future,” said Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault. “She is one of the rare young players who can make an immediate impact on the defensive end of the court – she works at it, can block shots and rebound, and she is a great communicator.”
On offense, she can face up or play on the block,” Thibault continued. “A major plus for her is that she doesn’t have the pressure of having to be an immediate go-to player. She can learn from our veterans and coaching staff throughout the course of the season and grow her game at the right pace. Welcome to the Mystics, Shakira!”
Austin (6-5) averaged a team-high 15.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals per game while shooting .463 from the field as a senior at Ole Miss in 2021-22.
She finished the year with 10 double-doubles, the second consecutive season she has accomplished this feat. She was also named a First-Team All SEC in 2021-2022, the eighth Rebel to earn consecutive First-Team All-SEC honors.
The 21-year-old Austin leaves Ole Miss having totaled over 1,000-career rebounds and became just one of seven active players last season in Division I to accumulate 1,500 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.
She earned numerous accolades as a senior, being named a Gillom Trophy Award Winner; SEC All-Tournament Team; Lisa Leslie Award Top-10 Finalist; AP Honorable Mention; All-America Honorable Mention and WCBA Honorable Mention.
Austin is tied for the highest pick to be drafted in Ole Miss history (Armintie Herrington, 2007) and is the first Rebel selected since 2010.
Williams (5-11) averaged 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 33 games played her senior season at UConn. The Little Rock, Arkansas, native was named the 2022 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award winner, awarded to the nation’s top shooting guard, and the 2022 BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
She was also named a First Team all-conference selection for the third straight year. Williams leaves UConn ranked 15th in school history in career points, totaling 1,850 career points.
“Christyn Williams is the kind of player that we were hoping that would be at the 14th pick when we made the trade,” stated Thibault. “She is an effective offensive player both on and off the ball. She can create her own shot and get good shots for her teammates. She can also defend all three perimeter positions. This is an exciting pick for us, and we look forward to seeing Christyn soon.”