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2023 Mystics Media Day: Shakira Austin shines overseas going into sophomore season

From third overall pick to All-Rookie to gold medalist to Israeli champion and MVP…

2023 Washington Mystics Media Day Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

It has truly been a journey for Shakira Austin once her name was called at the 2022 WNBA Draft as the third overall pick. As a rookie, she averaged 8.7 points and grabbed 6.7 rebounds starting 32 of the 36 games in the season.

From there she made the All-Rookie WNBA Team and in the Fall won a gold medal with Team USA in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. You would think then she’d have a break but instead not long after she went overseas to play for the Elitzur Ramla in Israel.

Now Austin is in her second year with the Mystics hoping to take her confidence and dominant play from overseas into this season. Downfall that sticks out was she mentioned how plays weren’t made for her last season nor during her time with the Israeli team. That never stopped Austin from being who she is and doing her thing.

“I’m going to get mines regardless. I feel like for me it’s just playing with confidence and being aggressive and being dominant,” Austin said. “I don’t need plays. I didn’t really get plays called for me in Israel when I was overseas. I’m scoring off the strength of being aggressive and taking over knowing the person guarding me can’t guard me.”

Austin even voiced how she didn’t even want to play overseas and how her focus was staying home. Once she got there, however, she felt that she was there for a reason and everything also happens for a reason.

“God has a purpose for everything and I tried to just make the most of the opportunity...I really just got straight to it,” Austin said. “My confidence was at a thousand coming off a gold medal and I just wanted to get back to my bag and show I could do it on a professional level and not just college.”

She showed just that as Austin averaged 19.9 points and 12 rebounds helping her team become Israeli champions for a second consecutive time in the Premier League and also locking down MVP.

The hope is that Head Coach Eric Thibault will utilize Austin more on the offensive end adding more of a threat to opponents. With this Mystics team, anyone can come out guns hot and ready to go. But with Austin she’s made it clear verbally and on the court that she has what it takes and will prove it at any given moment.