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A'ja Wilson top pick of WNBA draft by Las Vegas Aces

By DOUG FEINBERG - AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — A’ja Wilson is thrilled for the chance to head to Las Vegas.

The South Carolina star was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft by the Aces on Thursday night.

“It’s such a great feeling, just an amazing way to cap off my collegiate career,” Wilson said. “My heart was pounding before she announced the pick.”

The 6-foot-5 star admitted she has only been there once, but already knows the Nevada city slogan.

“What happens in Sin City stays in Sin City,” Wilson said laughing.

The Aces, who moved to Las Vegas from San Antonio this past winter, had the first pick for the second straight season.

Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell went second to the Indiana Fever. Indiana also took Victoria Vivians with the eighth pick, giving coach Pokey Chatman a strong young core to build around.

The Chicago Sky took Diamond DeShields, who spent the season playing professionally in Turkey, and Gabby Williams of Connecticut with the next two picks.

“I’m excited to see what we can do,” DeShields said.

UCLA guard Jordin Canada was selected fifth by the Seattle Storm. She’ll get a chance to learn from Sue Bird.

“I love Sue Bird, she’s one of my role models,” Canada said.

Azura Stevens, who decided to forego her final year of eligibility at UConn, was taken sixth by Dallas. Washington drafted Ariel Atkins of Texas seventh. Lexie Brown was picked ninth by Connecticut.

New York took Kia Nurse 10th, marking the third UConn player to be taken in the opening round. It’s the second time in three seasons that three Huskies were drafted in the first round. UConn players went 1-2-3 in 2016.

“It’s really cool that we were all here for each other,” Williams said.

Los Angeles drafted 19-year-old Russian star Maria Vadeeva with the 11th pick. She’s the first foreign player who didn’t play at an American college to be taken in the first round since 2012.