The 2020 WNBA Draft was like no draft before it. Due to social distancing, athletes watched at home with their families and WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced draft selections from her home. There were some fun elements, such as a virtual orange carpet for which draft hopefuls showed off their draft day fashion choices.

The TV presentation had a solemn beginning as Engelbert paid tribute to late former NBA commissioner David Stern, integral to the launch of the WNBA. As anticipated, she also spoke of Kobe Bryant and those who perished with him in a helicopter crash in January. Lastly, Engelbert announced three honorary draft picks, Gianna Bryant and her teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester.

For the first time in franchise history the New York Liberty held the first pick, and to no one’s surprise they selected Sabrina Ionescu of the University of Oregon. A player of historic accomplishments, including being the NCAA leader in career triple-doubles (26), Ionescu is also a two-time winner of the Wade Trophy, two-time Wooden Award winner and the 2020 recipient of the Naismith Trophy.

“Being a part of a younger team and just trying to learn from them and seeing where I fit in, what role I’m going to play, is exciting,” said Ionescu. “Bringing a competitive spirit that I have.

“Being able to enter an offense where it’s been really similar to what I’ve been playing with the last four years is exciting,” she added. “I’m just excited to continue to grow my game in that aspect…I’ve been working for this for my entire basketball career and am just super excited to be able to see that come to fruition.”

Two days before the draft, the Liberty announced the trade of Tina Charles to the Washington Mystics. Other strategic trades followed, which gave the Liberty a bounty of draft picks. At the end of draft night, the Liberty had added six players to the roster: Megan Walker, Jazmine Jones, Kylee Shook, Leaonna Odom and Jocelyn Willoughby.

Willoughby grew up in New Jersey and came to New York Liberty games as a teenager. “To see everything come full circle, it’s really humbling and I feel so blessed to be in this position and have this opportunity,” said Willoughby.

“I feel ready, but as I said in college and even to a greater degree now, it’s always about continuing to work, and being confident in my game but always knowing that there’s room to grow and improve,” she continued. “Being willing and ready to put in the work to do what’s necessary at the next level.”