Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
After the initial shock last week that the Washington Mystics had traded the No.1 Pick in the WNBA Draft to the Atlanta Dream, tonight was redemption for most of the shock in that they picked up a local girl, gone big in Shakira Austin from Ole Miss.
While Austin is no stranger to this area, she also played two seasons at Maryland from 2018-2020, before packing her bags from her home in Fredericksburg, VA and taking her talents to Ole Miss, where she flourished and became a better player than she was during the first two seasons in College Park.
Austin averaged 15.2 points and 9.0 rebounds for the Rebels in 2021-22.
She has the potential to make a big impact immediately in the fully healthy Mystics offense, who last year struggled to find the one player late in the game in the absence of Elena Delle Donne.
“Shakira is a terrific talent that can play both post positions and she can be a big part of our future. She is one of the rare young players who can make an immediate impact on the defensive end of the court – she works at it, can block shots and rebound, and she is a great communicator. On offense, she can face up or play on the block,” said Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault. “A major plus for her is that she doesn’t have the pressure of having to be an immediate go-to player. She can learn from our veterans and coaching staff throughout the course of the season and grow her game at the right pace. Welcome to the Mystics, Shakira!”
Austin is the sixth-ever Ole Miss product to be selected in the WNBA draft and the first since Bianca Thomas in 2010.
The team also selected guard Christyn Williams from the University of Connecticut with the 14th overall pick.
The Mystics finished the 2021 season with a 12–20 record.