Last week, the WNBA announced that Washington Mystics center Shakira Austin was named to the All-Rookie team. She was the third pick in the draft, where she averaged 8.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Among rookies, she averaged third in scoring and second in rebounds. In addition, Austin finished with the sixth-highest field goal percentage for the 2022 WNBA season among all players.
What is equally, if not even more impressive was that Austin was initially expected to be a reserve player. But she quickly found a spot in the starting lineup and never relinquished it for the rest of the season.
The Mystics, with Austin, formed the WNBA’s top defense of the 2022 regular season where she formed a solid unit with Ariel Atkins, Natasha Cloud and Alysha Clark. It is unfortunate that Washington’s playoff run ended in the first round to the Seattle Storm, but the future is certainly bright for Austin indeed.