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Canadian Aaliyah Edwards selected sixth by Washington Mystics

Selected sixth overall by the Washington Mystics in the 2024 WNBA Draft, Aaliyah Edwards becomes the second-highest drafted Canadian ever in the league.

Aaliyah edwards selected sixth by washington mystics 2024 wnba draft
Aaliyah edwards selected sixth by washington mystics 2024 wnba draft

Kingston, Ontario’s Aaliyah Edwards made history on Monday night, becoming the second-highest drafted Canadian in WNBA history when she was selected sixth overall by the Washington Mystics.

Edwards, a dominant force for the University of Connecticut Huskies, trails only legend Stacey Dales, who was selected 3rd overall by the same Mystics franchise in 2002.

“Mad love from Canada,” said Edwards during her Draft interview. “I’m just really grateful to make an impact here in the States and to open the door to all of the little girls who wish they could be in my position and will be in my position in the future.”

A force to be reckoned with on both ends of the court, the six-foot-three forward capped off a stellar collegiate career with a season for the ages. Averaging a career-high 17.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, she finished her career with a whopping 1,861 points, 1,020 rebounds in 139 games.

These impressive numbers weren’t the only markers of her success. Edwards cemented her place in UConn history, ranking 15th in program history for career points and eighth in career rebounds. Her impact extended beyond individual stats, as she also recorded 35 career double-doubles, placing her sixth in the school’s record books.

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Throughout her four seasons with the Huskies, Edwards steadily improved her game, culminating in a career-high 17.6 point average. This scoring ability ranks second-highest by a Canadian entering the WNBA, just behind Bridget Carleton’s remarkable 21.7 points per game in her senior season at Iowa State.

Her accolades speak for themselves: 2024 AP All-America Honorable Mention, 2024 All-BIG EAST First Team, 2024 USBWA Second Team All-America, 2024 WBCA All-America, 2024 NCAA Tournament Portland 3 Region All-Tournament Team and a 2024 Wooden Award All-America selection.

As the youngest prospect in this year’s draft, this selection marks a significant moment for Canadian women’s basketball. Edwards is the second straight Canadian drafted in the first round, following Laeticia Amihere’s selection by the Atlanta Dream in 2023.

Overall, a total of 15 Canadian women have been selected in WNBA Draft history, with nine of those selections coming since 2013. With Edwards joining the league, Canada will boast 20 players who have played in the WNBA, the second-most of any country behind Australia’s impressive 41.

Connecticut huskies aaliyah edwards 2024 final four media day
Connecticut Huskies all-time great Aaliyah Edwards showing off her Uconn pride at the 2024 Final Four media day – Photo: ESPN

Edwards’ journey to the WNBA wasn’t without its challenges. Despite helping the Huskies to three Final Fours in her four years, they faced tough competition and came up short in crucial moments.

In her freshman year in 2021, the Huskies fell (69-59) to Arizona in the national semi-final. The following year, they encountered a formidable opponent in South Carolina (64-49) in the national championship game, highlighting the fierce competition at the collegiate level.

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This season, their quest for the title was halted in a thrilling 71-69 national semi-final matchup against the Iowa Hawkeyes, led by the talented number one overall pick Caitlin Clark.

The Mystics have found themselves a gem in Aaliyah Edwards. Her well-rounded skill set, tireless work ethic, and winning pedigree make her a perfect fit for a team that finished 19-21 a year ago.

Washington will play without two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, which adds pressure and expectations to the team’s young talent pool. Canadian basketball fans will be eagerly watching Edwards’ pro career blossom in the nation’s capital.

“We are really excited to draft Aaliyah Edwards,” said Mystics General Manager Mike Thibault. “We needed to select a player who complements Shakira Austin in our front court. Her competitiveness, high-end defensive motor and fast improving offensive game will fit well with what we are trying to build for our culture and future success.”

“Bring all the Canadians to Washington.” she concluded after being reminded that it’s a short flight from Canada to the American capital.

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