Commentary

Australian Opals' Alanna Smith, Ezi Magbegor drafted first round WNBA

Updated: April 10, 2019, 11:57 PM ET
By AAP

Opals forward Alanna Smith has become the fifth Australian to be selected inside the top-10 of the WNBA Draft.

Smith was selected No.8 by the Phoenix Mercury, who are coached by Opals boss Sandy Brondello.

The 22-year-old wasn't the only Opals ace selected in the first round of the draft with 19-year-old Ezi Magbegor taken at No.12 by Seattle Storm, the reigning champions.

Smith and fellow 193cm-tall forward Magbegor both represented Australia and won a silver medal at last year's World Cup under Brondello.

"(The World Cup) gave me a lot of confidence playing under Sandy and playing with the Australian team was helpful for me," Smith told ESPN after her selection.

"I learned so much and it translated well into the college season for me and I think it's going to help me in the league as well."

The Hobart native joins Lauren Jackson, Kelsey Griffin, Alison Lacey and Liz Cambage on the list of Australians picked within the top after an outstanding college campaign for Stanford.

The first international recruit in Stanford's women's basketball history, Smith averaged a team-high 19.4 points per game, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks to earn 2nd Team All-American honours.

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

She will play with American superstars Diana Tarausi and Brittney Griner at the Mercury.

A versatile player with an ability to shoot from range, Smith joined three WNBA MVP's as the only players to tally 1,600 points, 200 blocks and 150 threes in their Division 1 college careers - after Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart.

Magbegor emerged as a star when named tournament MVP as Australia won the Under-17 World Championships in 2016.

She was WNBL rookie of the year in 2017/18 playing for Canberra Capitals and increased her output for the Melbourne Boomers last season.

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