Iowa's Monika Czinano selected by LA Sparks in third round of WNBA draft

Kennington Lloyd Smith III
Des Moines Register

Iowa women's basketball has reached new heights over the last few seasons, and Monika Czinano has been at the center of it all.

Czinano, who was a freshman understudy to program legend Megan Gustafson, became a historic player herself as the fifth Iowa women's player to eclipse 2,000 points and help lead the Hawkeyes to their first national championship game appearance this season. She left the program as one of the best post players in the country; her efficiency in particular stands out as she led the country in field goal percentage (67%) over her last two seasons.

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Now, she'll have an opportunity to play in the WNBA. Czinano was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks in the third round of the WNBA draft Monday night with the 26th overall pick. She's the 15th draftee in Iowa women's basketball history and the first since Kathleen Doyle in 2020 (second round, Indiana Fever).

Iowa center Monika Czinano was drafted by the LA Sparks in the third round of the WNBA draft Monday.

The Watertown, Minnesota native is a four-time Big Ten All-First Team selection and two-time All-America honorable mention. She's the program leader in games played (150), field goal percentage (67%), ranks second all-time in field goals (952) and third all-time in points (2,224). Alongside guard Caitlin Clark, they are the first duo to surpass 2,000 career points in the same season in Big Ten women's basketball history.

Czinano's draft buzz surged during Iowa's historic NCAA Tournament run in which she averaged 16 points and six rebounds against a litany of notable opponents and post players, including No. 1 overall draft pick Aliyah Boston (South Carolina) and LSU's Angel Reese. Last week, Indiana Fever general manager Lin Dunn gave a public endorsement of Czinano's professional potential.

On Monday night, Iowa center Monika Czinano (25) became the 15th Hawkeye selected in the WNBA Draft. She was a third round pick by the LA Sparks.

"No fear, physical, strong, high energy," Dunn said. "The thing for Monika is, she just needs to get selected by the right team that has a spot open for her and it's all about what team picks you. It's not really the first or second round. But is there a spot there for you?"

Czinano will get that opportunity in Los Angeles, a team that posted a 13-23 record last season and is led by former WNBA all-stars Chiney Ogwumike and Nneka Ogwumike.