Where are my OGs at? When I (Raptors HQ Editor-in-Chief, Chelsea Leite) started writing for Raptors HQ back in 2021, one of my first posts was a fantasy roster for a potential Toronto WNBA team. Since the fall of 2021, A LOT has changed in the landscape of the WNBA, including its potential for expansion.
Toronto seems to be top of mind for an expansion team (read more about that here) so I thought it would be fun to make a NEW Raptors HQ Fantasy roster — including all the newer WNBA stars, NCAA prospects coming up, and still including some fan favourites from the original.
For comparison, check out the first edition here
NCAA Prospects — Who’s got next?
The earliest Toronto could probably see a WNBA team is most likely for the 2025 season. The WNBA Draft landscape is a little clouded this year, knowing it’s the last year that NCAA players can use their extra “COVID Year.” When the pandemic hit and NCAA play was affected, every player in the system at the time was given an extra year of college eligibility. As we are cycling out of that era, there are still a few players who would be up for the 2024 WNBA Draft who many opt to stay in college until 2025 instead.
That being said, here are some of the top draft prospects who could come out in 2025, that would be incredible additions to a Toronto WNBA Roster:
Caitlin Clark (G) - University of Iowa Hawkeyes
Caitlin Clark is arguably one of the most exciting prospects in basketball right now. The guard, who is about to go into her fourth year at Iowa, had a March Madness run for the ages in 2023. Her Hawkeyes eventually lost in the final to Louisiana State University, but the Caitlin Clark hype isn’t going anywhere.
One of the top prospects even out of high school, Clark opted to stay close to home and play under coach Lisa Bluder at Iowa. She’s won every sort of college basketball award from Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, to the Nancy Lieberman Award and Dawn Staley Award (multiple times).
In her junior year (2022-23) she averaged 27.8 points per game (PPG), 8.6 assists per game (APG), and 7.1 rebounds per game (RPG). She routinely shoots a logo-three, can light it up from far far far away, and she knows it. Her confidence and gritty game play make her a fascinating player to watch on the court.
Whichever WNBA drafts her is getting a generational franchise player, and having her in Toronto would be treat.
Paige Bueckers (G) - University of Connecticut Huskies
Paige Bueckers was the number one prospect coming out of high school, and she ultimately decided to go to UConn and play under Geno Auriemma. After a dominant freshman season where she won both Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year, Paige has unfortunately suffered from injury. In her sophomore season, she missed most of the season with a leg injury. She then had to sit out her entire junior season after undergoing surgery to repair her ACL.
She seems a little more likely to stay in college until 2025 to get the most out of her college playing career, but you never know. Going into her senior year now, fans are excited to see a healthy Paige Bueckers play with her star-studded teammates including Azzi Fudd, Canadian Aaliyah Edwards, and Nika Muhl.
Regardless of how much she has played in her previous three years at UConn, Paige is an extremely exciting prospect when you think about her future in the WNBA. She is not only an incredible scorer, but her basketball IQ and ability to find her teammates is unmatched in college basketball.
If Toronto were somehow able to get Paige Bueckers, it would be an incredible boost for the team.
The Canadians - Just hold on we’re coming home
One of the most exciting things to think about when talking about WNBA expansion to Toronto is the idea that Canadians could play professional basketball in their home country. That being said, let’s talk some hometown favourites that we would love to see play on a Toronto WNBA team:
Kia Nurse (G) Current WNBA Team: Seattle Storm
You know Kia Nurse — she is not only a star of the Canadian National Basketball program, but she won two NCAA championships with UConn and has played in the WNBA for the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury, and now the Seattle Storm. She also founded the Kia Nurse Elite youth basketball program here in Canada, and is an analyst for TSN’s Toronto Raptors broadcast.
As a fan favourite, Kia Nurse Toronto jerseys would fly off the shelves. It would incredible to have her veteran presence on her hometown team. Fans were definitely disappointed when her team was not a part of the WNBA Canada Game last May.
Nurse’s ability to shoot the three ball and her gritty defensive presence are an asset to any team that signs her.
Bridget Carleton (F) Current WNBA Team: Minnesota Lynx
Bridget Carleton was the sole Canadian on the floor in May’s WNBA exhibition game in Toronto. The crowd gave her a warm welcome, and she seemed ecstatic to be able to play in her home country.
Another staple of both the World no.5 ranked Canadian Basketball program, as well as the WNBA, Carleton would be another fan favourite to play in Toronto. Another defensively strong player, Carleton’s current coach Cheryl Reeve has said on record that she trusts Bridget on the court immensely.
Laeticia Amihere (F) Current WNBA Team: Atlanta Dream
Laeticia Amihere out of Mississauga is the newest member of the WNBA Canada Club. She was drafted 8th overall to the Atlanta Dream in the 2023 WNBA Draft. An NCAA champion for Dawn Staley’s South Carolina Gamecocks, Amihere is a forward who can drive strong to the basket.
Canadian and South Carolina fans alike have been disappointed with Amihere’s lack of playing time in her rookie season in Atlanta. The Dream have a young roster, so minutes can be hard come by sometimes.
If the young Canadian were to play in Toronto, she would be heavily embraced by her hometown crowd. Maybe Canada would get come visitors from South Carolina as well. More expansion teams means more chances to develop young talent, and what better place to develop a young Canadian than IN Canada?
Natalie Achonwa (F) Current WNBA Team: Minnesota Lynx
Natalie Achonwa, who is currently the Captain of the Canadian Women’s National Team, would also be a great prospect to lead the Toronto WNBA Team. Think about it — veteran presence, knows the city, has an established fan base? It’s great.
She is a strong presence down by the rim, and could pair well with many of the guards already mentioned. Achonwa was not able to play with Minnesota in the Canada game this May as she missed the entire 2023 season on maternity leave. She had her first son this Spring, and already seems to be gearing up to come back to the WNBA next season.
Aaliyah Edwards (F) University of Connecticut Huskies
Aaliyah Edwards is another Canadian that has made her mark at UConn — last season she had a breakout year averaging 16.5 PPG, 2.8 APG and 9.5 RPG for the Huskies. She is incredible on the pick and roll, can strongly drive to the rim, and has become a scary presence on the glass.
She is another draft prospect who could declare for the WNBA in 2024 or 2025. Already projected to be a first round pick, Edwards has an exciting career ahead. She’s already an Olympian and has represented Canada at many levels.
Edwards could be a staple on a Toronto WNBA team for years to come.
WNBA Talent - Running through the 6ix
Now, lets take a look at some current WNBA talent we’d love to see playing in Toronto day in and day out:
Kahleah Copper (F) Current WNBA Team: Chicago Sky
Kahleah Copper gained a ton of Canadian fans when she came with the Chicago Sky to play in Toronto last May. Toronto has a past with embracing basketball talent out of North Philly, so why not add Copper to that list?
She is a WNBA Champion, All-Star, WNBA Finals MVP, and one of the WNBA’s biggest stars. Kahleah is incredibly crafty with the basketball, finding anyway to get to the rim and finish a play. She drives her team night after night and was able to lead the Chicago Sky to the playoffs this season despite an up and down season.
Marine Johannes (G) Current WNBA Team: New York Liberty
Marine Johannes is simply a walking bucket. The guard out of France has the ability to shoot from anywhere on the floor, no matter what. Off-balance? It’s in. Contested? Nothing but net. Her flashy finishes and magical assists make her one of the coolest basketball players to watch.
Johannes is currently a fourth option guard for the New York Liberty, and many fans discuss how she could be better used on a team that could play her more. She could be the perfect fit for a Canadian team — up and coming star, puts on a show — she even speaks French!
Aliyah Boston (F/C) Current WNBA Team: Indiana Fever
Aliyah Boston is star. In her rookie season, she led the LEAGUE in field goal percentage. She won a National Championship with the South Carolina Gamecocks. She is going to be a huge presence in the WNBA for years to come, on and off the court.
She was a WNBA All-Star in her rookie year and has been the obvious choice for Rookie of the Year all season long. She averaged 14.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 2.2 APG for the Fever this season.
Boston would be embraced by Canadian fans for her immense talent, lovable and humble personality, and bright sense of style.
Karlie Samuelson (G) Current WNBA team: Los Angeles Sparks
Karlie Samuelson has been on and off WNBA rosters for years, and it’s a crime. This year, she was given a full season contract with the Los Angeles Sparks and showed why she deserves a place in the WNBA for years to come.
Samuelson is sharp shooter. That girl can let it fly. In the 2023 WNBA season, she had a 42.6% three point shooting percentage. She scored 7.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 2.0 APG. With her experience both in the WNBA and overseas, Karlie Samuelson is a experienced guard with strong shooting. Maybe the Raptors should give her a call.
Who would you add to this list of potential Toronto players? Let us know! Maybe the next time we do a WNBA Toronto Roster piece it will be an ACTUAL roster for a real expansion team!