Arizona Women's Basketball

Arizona’s Esmery Martinez & Helena Pueyo selected in second round of WNBA Draft

Arizona forward Esmery Martinez was the No. 17 pick overall by the New York Liberty in Monday’s WNBA Draft, and her teammate Helena Pueyo was selected as the No. 22 pick by the Connecticut Sun.

Both picks were in the second round of the draft.

Martinez is the first Dominican Republic-born player selected in the WNBA draft.

Katie Benzan, who was undrafted in 2022, made history becoming the first player from the Dominican Republic to play in the WNBA. She debuted with the Washington Mystics on May 8, 2022.

Martinez was an honorable mention selection in the All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Defensive teams.

She averaged 11.1 points and 6.3 rebounds a game this season. She also shot 43.5 percent from the field and 78.1 percent from the free-throw line.

Pueyo, a 6-foot native of Spain, finished her Arizona career with a school-record 312 steals, which is also the fifth-most in Pac-12 annals. She had a program-record 110 steals this year.

Pueyo was a two-time Pac-12 All-Defensive team selection.

Pueyo averaged a career-best 9.7 points with 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 48 percent from the field this season.

After Kailyn Gilbert left the team late in the season, Pueyo averaged 15.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 3.9 steals and 1.3 blocks in the last eight games. She shot 56.9 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from 3-point range in that span.

This is the third time Arizona has featured two WNBA draft picks in the same year.

LaKeisha Taylor (Indiana Fever) and Elizabeth Pickney (Sacramento Monarchs) were each selected in the fourth round of the 2002 draft and Aari McDonald and Trinity Baptiste were chosen in the 2021 draft. McDonald was the No. 3 overall pick by the Atlanta Dream and Baptiste was taken in the second round by the Indiana Fever.


Adia Barnes (1995-98) Sacramento Monarchs (Round 4, Pick 33) – 1998

Marte Alexander (1995-98) Los Angeles Sparks (Round 3, Pick 47) – 2000

Reshea Bristol (1998-2001) Charlotte Sting (Round 4, Pick 50) – 2001

LaKeisha Taylor (1999-2002) Indiana Fever (Round 4, Pick 49) – 2002

Elizabeth Pickney (1999-2002) Sacramento Monarchs (Round 4, Pick 60) – 2002

Dee-Dee Wheeler (2000-05) Los Angeles Sparks (Round 2, Pick 26) – 2005

Ify Ibekwe (2007-11) Seattle Storm (Round 2, Pick 24) – 2011

Davellyn Whyte (2009-13) San Antonio Silver Stars (Round 2, Pick 16) – 2013

Aari McDonald (2018-21) Atlanta Dream (Round 1, Pick 3) – 2021

Trinity Baptiste (2020-21) Indiana Fever (Round 2, Pick 24 ) – 2021

Jade Loville (2022-23) Seattle Storm (Round 3, Pick 33 ) – 2023

Esmery Martinez (2022-24) New York Liberty (Round 2, Pick 17) — 2024

Helena Pueyo (2019-24) Connecticut Sun (Round 2, Pick 22) — 2024


Former South Carolina 6-foot-1 forward Sahnya Jah, a freshman who is a former four-star recruit out of Alexandria, Va., announced her commitment to Arizona from the transfer portal on social media Monday afternoon.

Jah appeared in 16 games for South Carolina, which won the national championship with a 37-0 record, before she was suspend Feb. 8 by coach Dawn Staley for conduct detrimental to the team.

She averaged 3.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per game.

“Respect it,” Jah wrote in her caption of her Instagram post with a #BearDown hashtag.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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