- The Washington Times - Friday, April 13, 2018

The Washington Mystics selected University of Texas guard Ariel Atkins with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft Thursday night.

A 5-foot-11 shooting guard from Duncanville, Texas, Atkins was a four-year contributor for the Longhorns and an All-Big 12 first-team selection three times. Atkins averaged 14.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game during her senior year at Texas and was second in the Big 12 with 89 steals.

“My initial thought was I’m extremely blessed and extremely excited,” Atkins told reporters. “My parents were jumping around. To kind of go through what I went through in college, it’s definitely an extreme blessing.”

Mystics coach Mike Thibault sees Atkins as a “quintessential two-three” and praised her for her efficiency and performance on both ends of the floor.

“We had a pretty lengthy debate over the last week. There were three players at that pick that we liked a lot,” Thibault said. “The overall offensive, defensive speed, the ability to pick up things and do them quickly, I thought was really important.”

Thibault told Atkins he wants her to expand her 3-point range.

Atkins will join a Mystics roster that features Elena Delle Donne, Tayler Hill, Kristi Toliver, Krystal Thomas and 2017 first-round pick Shatori Walker-Kimbrough.

Washington also drafted Louisville forward Myisha Hines-Allen in the second round (19th overall) and Duke guard Rebecca Greenwell in the third round (31st overall).

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