Canadian star Aaliyah Edwards picked 6th in WNBA draft 

On a memorable Monday evening at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Aaliyah Edwards, a former standout from the University of Connecticut, lived out a dream many athletes aspire to but few achieve. The first-team All-Big East forward was selected by the Washington Mystics as the No. 6 pick in the WNBA draft, marking a significant milestone in her already impressive basketball career.

Clad in a white, sleeveless dress and her trademark braided yellow streaks, tears flowed as she realized a lifelong ambition. “She said my name, and that’s when the waterworks started happening,” Edwards recalled. “Just super grateful for this moment and this opportunity.”

Aaliyah Edwards and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert

The Mystics’ selection of Edwards comes at a pivotal time for the team, which is undergoing significant changes. Washington has been busy reshaping its roster following the departures of stars like Elena Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud. The addition of 6-foot-5 center Stefanie Dolson in the off-season and two first-round picks in the upcoming 2025 draft highlight their strategic rebuild.

Edwards, who hails from Kingston, Ontario, brings to the Mystics a strong collegiate record from a program renowned for developing WNBA-ready talent. At U-Conn., she averaged career highs of 17.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. Known for her powerful 6-3 frame, Edwards is expected to complement well with fellow forward Shakira Austin, as she is adept both inside the paint and in the midrange area.

“One of the things going into this league that I want to do is just expand my game,” Edwards shared. “Might be asked to play a different role, but I’m open to it. I see myself as a versatile player and impacting in any position that I’m asked to play in.”

General Manager Mike Thibault was enthusiastic about her potential, noting her exceptional finishing skills at the rim and strong defensive capabilities. “Aliyah’s last step will be able to stretch her game to the three-point line. That’s not a consistent, comfortable thing for her yet, but it’s something she practices,” Thibault explained. “We are really excited to draft Aaliyah Edwards. 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.”

Throughout her U-Conn. career, Edwards not only achieved high stats but also garnered multiple accolades, including AP All-America honorable mentions and a finalist spot for the 2024 Wooden Award. Her prowess was on full display during the NCAA tournament, where she scored 24 points against USC in the Elite Eight and racked up a career-high five steals against Iowa in the Final Four.

As Edwards prepares for her rookie season in the WNBA, her journey from U-Conn. to the professional stage reflects not just her aspirations but also a beacon of hope for young Canadian athletes aiming to make their mark on the world stage. With Edwards on their roster, the Mystics are not just investing in a talented player, but in a vision of competitive resurgence and dynamic team play.