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Amna Subhan | NCAA.com | August 27, 2022

We looked back at the college careers of the 7 No. 1 overall picks in the historic WNBA series

A'ja Wilson's top highlights from South Carolina's 2017 title run

The Las Vegas Aces vs. Seattle Storm series in the WNBA semifinals will be a star-studded — and record-breaking — event. Seven No. 1 overall picks will take the court — the most ever in the playoffs in WNBA or NBA history.

The veteran of the group is Sue Bird, who was drafted in 2002 out of UConn. That means the series will showcase 33% of the league's total No. 1 overall draft picks going back to Bird's selection.

Here is a look a the college careers of the seven No. 1 overall picks, in chronological order: 

1. Sue Bird — UConn (2002) 

Before her illustrious WNBA career that’ll wrap up this season, Sue Bird was a Huskies standout. Bird played just eight games in her freshman season after suffering a torn ACL but rebounded to have an over 20-year-long playing career. That includes winning WNBA titles in three different decades.

In the following seasons, Bird took the world by storm by winning two NCAA tournament national championships. After all these years, Bird still holds UConn’s all-time record for 3-point field-goal percentage (.459) and free-throw percentage (.892). 

After announcing retirement, Bird’s legendary career will come to a close, as she and the Storm look for their fifth title. 

2. Tina Charles — UConn (2010) 

Over 30% of the Storm’s roster stems for UConn roots, and Tina Charles is no exception. Like Bird, Charles won two NCAA national champions donning Huskies blue. 

When the Huskies finished 39-0 in 2010 with the NCAA tournament trophy, Charles won the Wooden Award, among other accolades. She ended her collegiate career as UConn’s women’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. While the scoring record has since been cracked, she remains the most prolific rebounder. 

Charles joined the Storm late midseason after leaving the Phoenix Mercury in hopes to secure her first WNBA championship. 

MORE PLAYOFFS: Here are the colleges of every Division I player in the WNBA playoffs

3. Jewell Loyd — Notre Dame (2015) 

Drafted No. 1 in 2015 by the Storm, Loyd has played her entire career in Seattle, tasting the ultimate victory in the big leagues after coming short in college. 

At Notre Dame, Loyd and the Irish made it two back-to-back national title games but lost in both. In her third and final season she became the ACC player of the year and earned her second straight ACC tournament MVP award. She ended her college career with more than 1,900 points.

4. Breanna Stewart — UConn (2016) 

Breanna Stewart rounds out the final Storm and UConn player. Stewart is perhaps the most decorated player out of the bunch looking at college careers. 

After winning four consecutive NCAA national championships with the Huskies, she eased into Seattle’s system seamlessly, winning two WNBA championships within her first four years in the league alongside Bird and Loyd. 

In college, Stewart won three straight Naismith and Associated Press player of the year awards and Final Four Most Outstanding Player — the only player in history to earn more than one MOP honors. Stewart ranks second in UConn history in points — her 2,676 trail only Maya Moore.

🏆 HISTORY: The 8 players who went No. 1 in the WNBA draft right after reaching the NCAA title game

5. Kelsey Plum — Washington (2017) 

Another Huskies player, only this time a Washington Huskie, will be featured in the series — NCAA women's basketball's all-time leading scorer: Kelsey Plum. 

At Washington, Plum broke several NCAA records alongside the all-time scoring record, including the single-season record and a 33-year-old career made free throw record. She became the first Washington men’s or women’s player to be drafted first overall.

Plum was drafted No. 1 by the San Antonio Stars the year before moving to Vegas.

6. A'ja Wilson — South Carolina (2018) 

Vegas drafted A’ja Wilson after she got her start at South Carolina by winning the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament title. 

Wilson left the Gamecocks program as the all-time leader in points, blocks, made free throws and free throw attempts. For three years running she won SEC player of the year, the first in conference history. While scoring at a high clip, she also won SEC Defensive player of the year twice. 

Similar to her role at South Carolina, Wilson leads the Aces in blocks and rebounds while second in scoring to Plum. Wilson will look to become a WNBA champion by avenging a Finals loss in 2020 to the Storm. 

7. Jackie Young — Notre Dame (2019) 

Jackie Young completes the seven No. 1 picks between the two teams. The Aces drafted Young in 2019 after her junior year at Notre Dame. 

Within those three seasons, she won a NCAA national championship and two ACC tournament titles. She broke the school record for most double-doubles as a guard from a program with the likes of former teammate Arike Ogunbowale, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Jewell Loyd. 

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