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WNBA draft will be virtual event this season due to pandemic

NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA draft will be a virtual event this year.

The league announced Thursday that its draft will still be held April 17 as originally scheduled, but without players, fans or media in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The WNBA draft is a time to celebrate the exceptional athletes whose hard work and dreams are realized with their selections in the draft,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. “Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees, and everyone connected to our game as well as the general public is paramount.”

Logistics of the draft are still being worked out with ESPN although Engelbert confirmed she would announce the picks that night on the league’s broadcast partner’s network. She just isn’t sure where she’ll be doing it from; it could be her house, the league offices or another location.

The New York Liberty have the No. 1 pick and are expected to draft Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, who won the AP women’s college basketball player of the year earlier this week.

“Everything is still the same as it was before as far as the excitement goes of having the No. 1 pick,” Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb said in a phone interview. “We’re still waiting for directives from the league as far as war room and things like that and how the draft will work.”

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