Atlanta Dream scores three international players from WNBA draft, will play against Reese and Clark

Australia's Nyadiew Puoch, left, poses for a photo with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being selected 12th overall by the Atlanta Dream during the first round of the WNBA basketball draft on Monday, April 15, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The surge of interest in women’s basketball in recent years has led to record-breaking viewing numbers and made social media celebrities out of young college athletes such as Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark.

The same level of excitement and energy was present at the WNBA Draft on Monday night in Brooklyn, New York, as the 12 teams in the league picked their rookies for the upcoming season.

The draft had 36 total draft picks, so the Atlanta Dream had the opportunity to secure three players — one in each round.

The team selected forward Nyadiew Puoch with the 12th overall pick in the first round. Puoch is a 19-year-old Australian player who won the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) Championship with the Southside Flyers earlier this year.

The Dream’s next pick, 20th overall, was Isobel Borlase — another Australian native who previously played for the Adelaide Lightning in the same league as Puoch.

“Borlase is a young player with good experience on both the professional level and the international stage with the Australian national team,” said Dan Padover, general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations, in a statement released by the team. “She is a tough guard with size and will continue to develop her outside game.”

The third-round pick was Matilde Villa, who previously played for Reyer Venezia, a professional women’s basketball club in Italy.

In a recent press release, Dream head coach Tanisha Wright was enthusiastic about what she thinks the rookies will bring to the team.

“We’re super excited to be able to add these young talented players,” said Wright. “We like what we’ve seen them do at such a young age and we expect them to grow their game into the future.”

The team has improved their record each of the last three seasons, going 8-24 in 2021, 14-22 under new head coach Wright in 2022 and 19-21 in 2023. They made the playoffs for the first time in five years, losing to the Dallas Wings in the first round.

The Dream begins the 2024 season on May 15 with an away game against the Los Angeles Sparks, followed by their first home game (third overall for the season) against the Dallas Wings on May 21.

There will be plenty of interest when Clark and Reese come to town to take on the Dream. Clark’s Indiana Fever play here on June 21 and Aug. 26, and Reese’s Chicago Sky are in town on July 2 and Sept. 17.

And the WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces will take on the Dream in Atlanta on May 31 and July 12.

“We can’t wait for the upcoming 2024 season to get another chance to play in front of these great fans in Atlanta,” said Wright in a December 2023 press release. “While our team made great strides last season, we look forward to another exciting year with our young core as we take the necessary steps forward in becoming a championship contender.”