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Kamilla Cardoso

Chicago Sky pick Kamilla Cardoso third overall in WNBA Draft

Four Latinas picked in WNBA draft

Almost as soon as ESPN’s Holly Rowe mentioned the many sacrifices Kamilla Cardoso made on her way to the WNBA Draft, the Brazilian center was overcome with emotion.

Seven years after arriving in the United States by herself to pursue her basketball dreams, Cardoso was the third overall pick in the WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky.

“I had a goal to be here tonight and give my family a better life,” Cardoso told Rowe during the ESPN broadcast. “So I’m just so thankful that I was able to be here.” 

Cardoso, a 6-foot-7 center, helped South Carolina cap a perfect season with the national championship over eventual No. 1 pick Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Kamilla Cardoso leads Latinas

The Indiana Fever picked Clark first overall at the WNBA Draft, which was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Then the Los Angeles Sparks picked Stanford power forward Cameron Brink second.

“Yeah, I feel like that was the dream,” Cardoso told the media Monday night. “But honestly, no, I didn’t really expect this. I’m just so proud that I am here right now. I know little Kamilla, when I was 13 years old, is also proud. I’m just excited to be here and happy.”

Cardoso was the first of four Latinas picked in the three-round, 36-pick draft. Ohio State guard Celeste Taylor was the 15th overall pick and third of the second round. The 2024 Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year was picked by the Fever.


Kamilla Cardoso helps South Carolina win title

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Taylor was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2023 with Duke before transferring to Ohio State as a graduate assistant. She, Cardoso and Notre Dame freshman Hannah Hidalgo of the ACC each won a Defensive Player of the Year award this season.

Taylor’s defensive skills definitely appealed to the Fever. She could have gone into the draft last year, but she went to Ohio State as a transfer student.

Taylor joins Clark at Fever

“Yeah, obviously very, very big defensive-minded kid,” Taylor said. “But at the same time, I’m willing to do whatever it is that a team needs me to do. I’m willing to come in there and impact. I’m really big on community. 

“So just getting my hand in the community and continuing to be who I am and continuing to make an impact in every stop that I’ve had.”

Two picks later, the New York Liberty picked Arizona power forward Esmery Martinez, a native of the Dominican Republic. The Fever picked Leilani Correa in the third round with 27th overall pick. Like Taylor, the 6-foot Correa is a guard with stellar defensive skills.

“It’s been an amazing day,” Cardoso said. “It was my first time over there. Just a nice view.

“Getting my hair done and my makeup done was also amazing. Getting here, getting drafted was amazing. It’s just been a really special moment for me, and everything is going just like I dreamt of.”

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