Iowa State forward/center Stephanie Soares will enter the 2023 WNBA Draft after the NCAA denied her waiver for an additional year of eligibility, the program announced Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Soares was seeking an additional year after playing in 13 contests for Iowa State before tearing the ACL in her left knee on Jan. 8.
- She had injured the same knee while playing at The Master’s University in California. Soares won NAIA Player of the Year twice during her four years with the Mustangs.
- The 2023 WNBA Draft will be held on April 10 in New York.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
What does Soares’ absence mean for ISU?
The fact that Soares won’t be returning to Ames is a blow for the Cyclones. While key guards Emily Ryan and Lexi Donarski will both be back on campus, Soares was projected to be the team’s focal point in the frontcourt next year.
Iowa State will need to find a prolific rebounder — or develop one — as Ashley Joens averaged 9.7 rebounds per game this season and is turning pro, and Soares added 9.9 rebounds per game in her limited action. No other Cyclone averaged more than 5.5 rebounds per game. — Pickman
How does she fit in the upcoming draft?
Soares is a bit of a wild card in the upcoming draft. She is athletic and capable of stretching defenses while standing at 6-foot-6. She shot around 30 percent from three on nearly three attempts per game for the Cyclones, but she is also relatively unproven. She played just 13 games with the Cyclones before suffering her season-ending injury.
Considering her experience level, it’s hard to imagine a WNBA team using a first-round pick on her, but a team could also draft her this April and have her not count against their salary cap and roster headcount as she rehabs the ACL injury which will presumably keep her out the entire WNBA season. For that reason, she could be the kind of selection that provides future value no matter where she is selected, especially if her rehab is successful. — Pickman
Soares joined the Cyclones ahead of the 2022-23 season. Her arrival gave Iowa State a boost and made the program the favorite to win the Big 12 conference. However, Soares tore her ACL in a game against Oklahoma and underwent season-ending surgery. The Brazil native ended her lone season with the Cyclones averaging 14.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game.
Iowa State finished the year at 11-7 and lost to Toledo in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
(Photo: David Butler II / USA Today)
Read More: Iowa State’s Stephanie Soares to enter WNBA Draft after eligibility waiver 2023-03-22 19:53:18