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Edwards highlights Canadians to watch in the WNBA this season


Aaliyah Edwards is set to embark on her first year as a professional after a successful NCAA career at UConn.

Edwards was a two-time All-American with the Huskies and averaged career highs in points (17.6) and rebounds (9.2) as a senior as UConn reached the Final Four in this year’s March Madness tournament.

She parlayed that success into being selected sixth overall by the Washington Mystics in April, becoming the second-highest drafted Canadian in WNBA history, second only to Stacey Dales who went third overall to the same franchise in 2002.

The 21-year-old joins a Mystics team that has undergone significant change since the end of last season. Elena Delle Donne announced she will be taking the 2024 season off while point guard Natasha Cloud departed as a free agent to the Phoenix Mercury. Veterans Stefanie Dolson and Brittney Sykes signed as free agents to bring a veteran presence to the team.

Edwards, who hails from Kingston, Ont., is a big addition to a team that has two-time All-Star Ariel Atkins and 2022 third-overall pick Shakira Austin in place. The Mystics finished as the seventh seed in the WNBA last year but lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year.

Here are the other Canadians set to suit up in the WNBA in 2024.

Kia Nurse – Los Angeles Sparks

Nurse joins her fourth team in four seasons played having spent time with the New York Liberty (2020), Phoenix Mercury (2021), Seattle Storm (2023) and now the Sparks.

She was dealt to Los Angeles along with the 2024 fourth-overall pick (Rickea Jackson) as the Storm cleared up cap space to sign Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith in free agency.

Los Angeles Sparks

After a down season in her only year in Seattle, where she averaged a career-low 5.9 points and 2.3 rebounds, Nurse is aiming for a bounce-back season.

Much like Seattle last year, the Sparks have seen a lot of personnel change as they rebuild. Losing franchise stalwart Ogwumike, they added college stars Cameron Brink and Jackson with the second- and fourth-overall picks in the draft and brought in Aari McDonald and Julie Allemand via trade.

Laeticia Amihere – Atlanta Dream

Drafted eighth overall by Atlanta in 2023 after four years at South Carolina under Dawn Staley, Amihere made the Dream’s final roster as a rookie, where she appeared in 21 games, averaging 2.7 points.

A younger team last season, the Dream went heavy on bringing in veterans in the off-season, adding Tina Charles, Aerial Powers and Jordin Canada to a roster that already boasted Rhyne Howard and Allisha Gray.

Atlanta Dream

Along with the other players on this list, the Mississauga, Ont., native is expected to be a key player for Canada at the Summer Olympics in Paris.

The 22-year-old previously won a national championship with South Carolina in 2022.

Bridget Carleton – Minnesota Lynx

Carleton has established herself as a reliable player off the bench for head coach Cheryl Reeve in Minnesota since arriving in 2019 and is expected to continue that role this season.

The 26-year-old forward averaged 3.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 38 games last season, averaging just over 15 minutes a game.

Chicago Sky Minnesota Lynx

The Chatham, Ont., native was the centre of attention at last year’s WNBA preseason game in Toronto when Minnesota took on the Chicago Sky in the first-ever WNBA game in Canada as the lone Canadian in the game.

This will be her sixth season in the WNBA.