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Mercury select UCLA PG Charisma Osborne, Nebraska SG Jaz Shelley in 2024 WNBA Draft

© Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

After having a quiet 2024 WNBA Draft early on, the Phoenix Mercury had a busy third round to bolster its depth at the guard position.

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With two picks in the draft, Phoenix selected UCLA point guard Charisma Osborne with the 25th pick and Nebraska shooting guard Jaz Shelley at No. 29.

Standing at 5-foot-9, Osborne played 152 games across five seasons (2019-23) for the Bruins. The California native averaged 14.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 32.9 minutes per game.

Last season, UCLA (27-7) finished third in the PAC-12 and made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA women’s tournament. The 23-year-old averaged 13.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 rebounds in 34 games during her final year of college basketball.

According to ESPN women’s basketball analyst Charlie Creme, his pre-draft analysis of Osborne stated that she is defensively skilled and possesses a noteworthy playmaking ability.

“Defense comes first with Osborne, but she’s also a high-end rebounding guard and a willing distributor. Shooting is the question mark. Osborne’s 41.3 FG% in her final year at UCLA was the best of her career,” Creme said.

The California native was a four-time All-PAC-12 (2021-23) and two-time PAC-12 All-Defensive Team (2021, 2024) honoree.

Like Osborne, Shelley played five seasons in college as well. The Australian averaged 10.7 points, 4.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 155 games split between Oregon (2019-21) and Nebraska (2021-24).

“A good passer with big assist numbers – 5.6 APG in three seasons at Nebraska – Shelley’s success was predicated on her ability to shoot from deep,” Creme said about Shelley. “That lacked consistency, and her 3-point percentage dropped to a three-year low (33.7%) in 2024.”

The Cornhuskers were 22-13 last year and were runner-ups in the Big Ten tournament, suffering a 94-89 defeat to 2024 No. 1 overall WNBA Draft pick Caitlin Clark and Iowa in overtime. Nebraska made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Shelley was voted three times (2022-24) into the second-team All-Big Ten by the media, twice (2022, 2024) in the second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and made the media’s 2022 Big Ten All-Defensive Team.

Phoenix did have the No. 3 pick going into the draft, but it was included in a trade to the Chicago Sky in exchange for Kahleah Copper. With the pick, Chicago chose South Carolina center Kamilla Cardoso.

The Sky also had the Mercury’s second-round (13th overall) pick from a separate deal, selecting Gonzaga shooting guard Brynna Maxwell.

To kickstart the 2024 WNBA season, the Mercury will head on the road to face the Las Vegas Aces on May 14 at 7 p.m. PT.

Mercury ready for 2024 WNBA Draft, possess two third-round picks

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Reporter Alec Cipollini covers Phoenix Sports News for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account, @AlecCipollini

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