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2023 Mystics Media Day: Elena Tsineke admires Ariel Atkins; talks draft night feelings

The Mystics selected Tsineke in the second round with the 20th overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft

2023 Washington Mystics Media Day Photo by Kenny Giarla/NBAE via Getty Images

Many players show up to the WNBA Draft with hopes of being drafted right there in the building. Others have hope, but part of them feels players may get selected before they do. As some may know there are 144 spots in the WNBA split by 12 teams with about 12 roster spots.

In the WNBA Draft, there are 36 total picks so the odds are pretty low for some since most roster spots are secured by veterans. Well not for University of South Florida and guard and Greece native Elena Tsineke who was picked in the second of the draft with the 20th pick by the Washington Mystics.

Tsineke wasn’t expected to be picked that early. She wasn’t even at the draft as she was home surrounded by family members.

“I had no idea I would be on this board in general. I just thought I would be last picked, maybe third round maybe second round, but when I saw my name up there it was no way,” Tsineke said. “There’s girls literally right there invited and my name is getting called before them. It’s just such a blessing honestly.”

Despite Monday being the first day of training camp for the Mystics, Tsineke still felt adjustments had to be made for her throughout the process but she’s fearless no matter where she is or what she’s doing. When she practices or is on the court, she makes it known that she’s not scared of anybody.

“Honestly I think I’ve been prepared for this moment and I belong here,” she said. “The way of the game here is way faster than college so I have to really adjust and it actually fits my game as well so I don’t think it would be too difficult, but it’s also going to be challenging.”

Players of the Mystics no matter who puts on the uniform have always stated how warm and welcoming the team can be. That makes it easier for rookies and even veterans to feel comfortable knowing they’re in a good space to play their game and progress and evolve. An example is newly acquired forward/center Amanda Zhaui B. who mentioned the emotions she felt when coming to D.C. and how it felt like home and there was so much love.

That aurora given by Washington draws players in and makes them feel comfortable and at ease. Tsineke felt that way about Ariel Atkins who she admired and loved to be around. “She’s a great player,” she said. “I love her defense like she’s jumpy and I just watch her feet...just having her as my teammate I can really learn a lot of things from her.”