Ariel Atkins selected by Washington Mystics in first round of WNBA Draft

Filed under: Sports,UT Women's Basketball |

Atkins is the third-highest WNBA Draft pick in Texas women’s basketball history.

Ariel Atkins – photo by – Duncanville Pantherette and senior Texas guard Ariel Atkins was selected by the Washington Mystics with the seventh pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft, which took place on Thursday in Manhattan, N.Y.

Atkins, who watched the draft in her hometown of Duncanville, Texas, with family and friends, was the 10th player in program history to be selected in the WNBA Draft and the fifth first-round pick in UT history. At No. 7 overall, she was the third-highest drafted player in program history, behind Edwina Brown (2000, No. 3) and Tiffany Jackson (2007, No. 5). The Longhorns have had a WNBA first-round draft pick in two of the last three seasons (Imani McGee-Stafford, 2016, No. 10).

“Our goal was to find a wing player that could be a scorer and a defender,” Washington Mystics Head Coach and General Manager Mike Thibault said. “I think that her basketball I.Q. and energy level is off the charts and I think that she proved over the course of her time at Texas that she is a very dynamic and efficient player.”

Atkins was a three-time All-Big 12 Conference player and a four-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 teams. She played in 121 career games with 100 starts, scoring in double figures on 81 occasions. Her career free-throw percentage of 83.1 ranks fourth all-time in UT history, her career free-throw percentage of 83.1 ranks sixth all-time in UT history and her career scoring total of 1,497 points is 20th in program history.

Atkins started all 35 games for the Longhorns this past season, leading her team with 14.9 points per game and 2.5 steals per game. She scored in double figures 29 times, including eight 20-plus-point performances. Atkins was the only player in the Big 12 Conference to rank among the league’s top-20 in the eight statistical categories of points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, steals per game, assist-to-turnover ratio, field-goal percentage, three-point field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage. She ranked second in the Big 12 in steals per game (2.5) and three-point field goal percentage (.420).

“I’m just extremely excited about the opportunity that lies ahead for her,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “I just feel so proud for somebody who has put so much work in and has paid so much attention to her work-ethic and wanting to be better every day. To see her get rewarded with this and, in particular so high – I think that was probably a little unexpected by everybody, but not by all of us who know Ariel.”