Atlanta Dream select Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard with No. 1 pick in 2022 WNBA draft

The WNBA draft is back in person this year and excitement is high. With a total of only 144 roster spots in the league, the pressure is on for prospects to cement their name in WNBA history. 

The night at Spring Studios in New York City started with details on the situation of WNBA star Britney Griner and her detainment in Russia.

"Please know that getting her home safely continues to be our number one priority," WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said.

With the first pick, Atlanta Dream selected Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard from the University of Kentucky. Last week, the Dream acquired the top pick from the Washington Mystics in order to select Howard, a three-time first-team All-American.

"This is a sigh of relief and a dream come true in this moment," Howard said.

Following the Dream's selection of Howard, the Indiana Fever - who had four first-round selections - made Baylor forward NaLyssa Austin the second overall pick and the Washington Mystics picked Ole Miss center Shakira Austin at No. 3.

The WNBA season tips off on May 6, with training camps opening later this week.

2022 WNBA draft selections

Round 1

1. Atlanta Dream (from Washington Mystics) -- Rhyne Howard, G, Kentucky

2. Indiana Fever -- NaLyssa Smith, F, Baylor

3. Washington Mystics (from Atlanta Dream) -- Shakira Austin, C, Ole Miss

4. Indiana Fever (from Los Angeles Sparks) -- Emily Engstler, F, Louisville

5. New York Liberty -- Nyara Sabally, F, Oregon

6. Indiana Fever (from Dallas) -- Lexie Hull, G, Stanford

7. Dallas Wings (from Chicago Sky) -- Veronica Burton, G, Northwestern

8. Las Vegas Aces (from Phoenix Mercury) -- Mya Hollingshed, F, Colorado

9. Los Angeles Sparks (from Seattle Storm) -- Rae Burrell, G, Tennessee

10. Indiana Fever (from Minnesota Lynx) -- Queen Egbo, C, Baylor

11. Las Vegas Aces -- Kierstan Bell, G, Florida Gulf Coast

12. Connecticut Sun -- Nia Clouden, G, Michigan State

Round 2

13. Las Vegas Aces (from Indiana Fever) -- Khayla Pointer, G, LSU

14. Washington Mystics (from Atlanta Dream) -- Christyn Williams, G, Connecticut

15. Atlanta Dream (from Los Angeles Sparks) -- Naz Hillmon, F, Michigan

16. Los Angeles Sparks (from Washington Mystics) -- Kianna Smith, G, Louisville

17. Seattle Storm (from New York Liberty) -- Elissa Cunane, C, North Carolina State

18. Seattle Storm (from Dallas Wings) -- Lorela Cubaj, F, Georgia Tech (rights traded to New York Liberty)

19. Los Angeles Sparks (from Chicago Sky) -- Olivia Nelson-Ododa, F, Connecticut

20. Indiana Fever (from Phoenix Mercury) -- Destanni Henderson, G, South Carolina

21. Seattle Storm -- Evina Westbrook, G, Connecticut

22. Minnesota Lynx -- Kayla Jones, F, North Carolina State

23. Las Vegas Aces -- Aisha Sheffard, G, Virginia Tech

24. Connecticut Sun -- Jordan Lewis, G, Baylor

Round 3

25. Indiana Fever -- Amesha Williams- Holiday, C, Jackson State

26. Phoenix Mercury (from Atlanta Dream) -- Maya Dodson, F, Notre Dame

27. Los Angeles Sparks -- Amy Atwell, G, Hawai'i

28. Minnesota Lynx (from Washington Mystics) -- Hannah Sjerven, C, South Dakota

29. New York Liberty -- Sika Koné, C, Mali

30. Dallas Wings -- Jasmine Dickey, G, Delaware

31. Dallas Wings (from Chicago Sky) -- Jazz Bond, F, North Florida

32. Phoenix Mercury -- Macee Williams, F/C, IUPUI

33. Seattle Storm -- Jade Melbourne, G, Australia

34. Indiana Fever (from Minnesota Lynx) -- Ali Patberg, G, Indiana

35. Las Vegas Aces -- Faustine Aifuwa, C, LSU

36. Connecticut Sun -- Kiara Smith, G, Florida

Contact Analis Bailey at aabailey@usatoday.com or on Twitter @analisbailey.