Mock drafts are an inexact science, which is even more the case with the WNBA this year. As always, there's the uncertainty of which draft-eligible juniors might leave early. But because of COVID-19's impact on the 2020-21 season, the NCAA's eligibility waiver allows seniors to come back for another year.
Texas' Charli Collier, a draft-eligible junior who is coming off a 30-point, 19-rebound game Saturday against Texas Tech, remains in the No. 1 spot she held in ESPN's mock draft in December. And the other first-round picks we listed then have played well, too.
But these five seniors -- who rightly or wrongly didn't make our previous first-round mock draft -- have improved their draft stock.
Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas
Nobody will say it's a great UConn defense this season, but it's still the Huskies. And Dungee scored 37 points on them in the No. 19 Razorbacks' 90-87 victory Thursday. If eyes weren't already opened to her WNBA potential, that game did it. The 5-foot-11 guard, who played her freshman season at Oklahoma, is a fifth-year senior who has 11 games of 30 or more points in her three seasons at Arkansas. She's averaging an SEC-best 22.2 PPG.
Kysre Gondrezick, West Virginia
After playing her freshman season at Michigan, the 5-9 guard transferred to West Virginia and is leading the Mountaineers in scoring at 21.4 PPG. West Virginia has won eight in a row, and Gondrezick is coming off a 30-point game against TCU on Saturday. Her mother, Lisa, was on Louisiana Tech's 1988 national championship team, and her late father, Grant, and late uncle, Glen, both played in the NBA. Gondrezick's father died on Jan. 7 at age 57, and she has been playing in his honor.
Chelsey Perry, UT Martin
The 6-2 forward is averaging 25.7 PPG and 8.0 RPG for the Ohio Valley Conference-leading Skyhawks (10-3, 9-1). She is shooting 52% from the field and 42.6% from 3-point range (23-of-54). Some WNBA personnel have been watching her for a while. She left Saturdays' game with what is described as a minor hip injury and is listed as day-to-day. It's hoped she will get a chance to play Monday (ESPNU, 5 p.m. ET) against Southeast Missouri State, which is tied for second in the OVC.
Aisha Sheppard, Virginia Tech
The 5-9 guard had two marquee performances this past week, both against No. 2 NC State, with 24 points in a loss and 28 in a victory. Then Sunday, she scored 16 in a victory over North Carolina. Sheppard is averaging a career-high 19.3 PPG this season, and she is the Hokies' all-time leader in 3-pointers with 282. Someone with that shooting stroke should garner WNBA interest.
Jasmine Walker, Alabama
The 6-3 forward has blossomed into one of the SEC's best post players, with strength and moves in the paint, but also a 3-point touch. She has made 174 of 475 career attempts from long range (36.6%), and this season is 47 of 114 (40.9%). Walker who started her career at Florida State but transferred after five games, is averaging 20.1 points and 10.2 rebounds, both career highs.
Player of the week: Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas
No. 19 Arkansas' victory over No. 3 UConn on Thursday was preceded by a tough loss to No. 22 Georgia on a last-second shot on Monday. Dungee and her fellow Razorback veterans didn't let that get them down; they were ready to face UConn. And then, after a slow start Sunday, they got things in gear to beat Auburn. Dungee's averages for the three games: 26.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
The 37 points against UConn was the centerpiece.
"I knew what a huge opportunity it was," Dungee said after that victory. "I think this will propel us through the rest of the season."
A shout-out also to Middle Tennessee's Anastasia Hayes, who had 42 and 35 points in victories against UAB on Thursday and Saturday, respectively; she is the Division I scoring leader at 28.6 PPG.
Team of the week: West Virginia
The Mountaineers (13-2) returned to the AP poll at No. 24 this past week, now have won eight in a row and are in second place (7-2) behind Baylor (7-1) in the Big 12. West Virginia's third victory in this stretch -- a 92-58 shellacking of then-No. 17 Texas on Jan. 9 -- seemed to bolster the Mountaineers' confidence. That could be tested this week, though, as they have to face Iowa State at home Wednesday and then travel to Texas on Saturday for a rematch.
Coach of the week: Mike Neighbors, Arkansas
The SEC is brutal enough. After coming off a loss to South Carolina on Jan. 18, Neighbors might have gone looking for an easier opponent to add to the Razorbacks' schedule after Vanderbilt canceled its season. But he asked his team if it wanted to face UConn, and the Razorbacks did. It might seem like it's all reward after their upset victory, but there was some risk for Neighbors in this, too, because it could have been Arkansas' seventh loss. But in a "go big or go home" decision, he went big.
Win of the week: Virginia Tech
The Hokies were so close to beating No. 2 NC State on Jan. 24 only to see a double-digit lead slip away in the final 4½ minutes. In the rematch Thursday, the Wolfpack's buzzer-beating 3-pointer forced overtime. Crushing, right? Nope. The Hokies' responded by setting a record for most overtime points (26) by a Division-I women's team. That 83-71 victory was a potential season-changer for the Hokies, and they followed it Sunday by beating North Carolina 73-69.