Former Hawkeye Waived by WNBA Team Less Than a Month After Being Drafted
Barely a month after hearing her name called at the 2023 WNBA Draft, a shining star of the Iowa Hawkeye women's basketball team has been waived by the team that drafted her.
Monika Czinano is in search of a new home in the WNBA after being released by the Los Angeles Sparks. Czinano was drafted in the third round (26th overall) in April. She was one of three Hawkeyes to be selected in the draft this year. Iowa State's Stephanie Soares went fourth overall to the Dallas Wings, where she'll be reunited with Ashley Joens, who was also selected by Dallas with the 19th pick.
Broadly speaking, the WNBA Draft has far more women in the mix than there are roster spots on teams. In other professional leagues, it's rare for relatively high draft picks (first - fourth round) to be waived before the start of the season. However, for the WNBA, it is unfortunately common place.
As a result, Czinano will be in search of a new home ahead of the season starting this Friday, May 19th.
The Watertown, MN native is a four-time Big Ten All-First Team selection, as well as Iowa's leader in games played (150), field goal percentage (67%), ranks second all-time in field goals (952), and third all-time in points (2,224), per Hawk Central. Her and Caitlin Clark made a dynamic duo as they surpassed 2,000 career points this past season, the first of their kind in Big Ten women's basketball history.
Czinano capped off her final year as a Hawkeye strong, with an average of 17.1 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists.
Meanwhile, the Hawkeye women are in search for a new crop of young athletes to put them in position to finally claim the championship title. With Caitlin Clark still in the lineup, however, anything is possible.
If you're looking for a comparable story, Megan Gustafson, the Hawkeyes all-time leading scorer, was waived by the team who drafted her (the Dallas Wings) before their first game in 2019. After stints with a couple teams, Gustafson is now set to be a part of the Phoenix Mercury for the second year in a row. There is hope for Czinano. Here's hoping opportunity comes sooner rather than later.