Jackie Young had 24 hours after Notre Dame’s excruciating title-game loss to Baylor to decide whether to declare for the WNBA Draft or return for her senior season.
On Wednesday, her decision to forgo her final year of eligibility paid off handsomely as the Las Vegas Aces made the 6-foot guard the draft’s first overall selection.
Young, a Princeton, Ind., product, averaged 14.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.29 steals per game in her junior season with the Irish.
“It was definitely a hard decision,” Young told ESPN’s Holly Rowe after being selected. “I just have to thank Coach (Muffet) McGraw and her staff for the three years that they gave me. It was the best three years of my life. I just thought this was the best move for my family and I.”
The Pride of Princeton Miss Jackie Young is the No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 WNBA Draft. Young is now a Las Vegas Ace.— Travis David (@TDavid_21) April 10, 2019
Here’s the reaction in Princeton... pic.twitter.com/jIPQJQfviv
At the time of her arrival, she was all-time career scoring leading in Indiana high school hoops — boys or girls. Young was a McDonald’s All-American, Indiana Miss Basketball and Naismith National High School Player of the Year.
Young is the second Notre Dame player to be taken first overall in the WNBA Draft. Jewell Loyd, who also left a year early, was No. 1 in 2015. She plays for the Seattle Storm.
The Aces are perennial basement dwellers in the women’s league. This is the third consecutive year they are picking first. The former Utah Starzz / San Antonio Stars are coached by Bill Laimbeer, a 1979 graduate of Notre Dame and a member of the Detroit Pistons during the “Bad Boys” era. They also have guards Kayla McBride ’14 and Linsday Allen ’17 on their squad.
Four picks after Young, the Dallas Wings selected Young’s fellow guard, Arike Ogunbowale. The Wings also employ Skyler Diggins-Smith ’13, who was drafted third overall by the team then known as the Tulsa Shock.