Phoenix Mercury trade first round selection to bolster backcourt, secure Walker-Kimbrough

The Phoenix Mercury traded their first round pick for Shatori Walker-Kimbrough of the Washington Mystics and bolstered their backcourt. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Mercury selected Virginia guard Jocelyn Willoughby 10th overall in the first round of the 2020 WNBA Draft Friday. However, she did not stay for long.

The Mercury traded the reigning ACC scoring leader to the New York Liberty for point guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough.

“I was in shock but excited,” Willoughby said on a media conference call about the trade. “It was an emotional night going from a veteran team to a young team. Both have a lot to offer.”

Walker-Kimbrough, 24, played 17.1 minutes per game for the championship-winning Washington Mystics last season. On Wednesday, she was part of a three-team trade that sent Tina Charles to New York.

She has yet to find a consistent scoring touch in the WNBA, but she displayed elite shooting in college.

At Maryland, she led the NCAA in three-point shooting percentage with a 54.5% clip. She made the All-Big Ten First Team three times from 2015-2017.

Phoenix continued to bolster its backcourt with its second- and third-round selections. It drafted guards Te’a Cooper from Baylor and Stella Johnson from Rider respectively.

Cooper broke out as a 3-point threat as a grad transfer last season, hitting 41.5% of her outside shots. She earned an All-Big 10 First Team nod.

Johnson is a two-time MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Player of the Year winner. She led the nation in scoring last season with 24.8 points per game. According to the Rider News, she is the first player in Rider history to get drafted to the WNBA.

With the Mercury’s “big three” of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and newly acquired Skylar Diggins-Smith, it is clear they took to draft night to add playmaking guards with the ability to shoot and space the floor.

Alexander Weiner

Sports Reporter, Phoenix

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