Charli Collier goes No. 1 overall in 2021 WNBA draft

Taylor Hawthorne

In preparation for the 2021 WNBA Draft, Charli Collier’s mom, Ponda, posted a photo of a young Charli laying in the back seat of the car holding a basketball as she slept.

Tonight she got to watch her young dreams become a reality.

The former Texas standout center was selected No. 1 overall by the Dallas Wings on Thursday night, becoming the first ever Longhorn to be selected with the top pick.

“I still can’t put it into words,” Collier said. “This right here is a testament to all of my hard work. It’s amazing as a basketball player to see what you’ve been working for for so long come true.”

Collier joined just two other players in WNBA history, Jewell Lloyd and Jackie Young, to go first overall in the draft as a junior.

The offensive backbone for Texas averaged 19 points and 11.3 rebounds in the 2020-21 season while racking up the second-most double-doubles in Division I player history. Collier helped put Texas women’s basketball back on the map with an Elite Eight run in the 2021 NCAA tournament.

Collier’s ability to grab rebounds and bank shots both in the paint and around the arc makes her a threat in the Wings’ scheme, which desperately needs depth in the paint.

Much like the Texas basketball program in Collier’s junior season, the Dallas Wings are a very young team. Dallas had three of the first five picks in this year’s draft.

Although many draft pundits had Collier as a sure lock to go No. 1 overall, she said the butterflies kicked in as WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert started to announce the first pick.

“I just reacted how I felt,” Collier said. “I feel like the best is still yet to come.”