Irish's Young leaving early for WNBA draft

Notre Dame guard Jackie Young is foregoing her final year of eligibility at Notre Dame and will enter the WNBA draft, which takes place Wednesday in New York City.

Young's Irish team lost 82-81 to Baylor in the national championship game on Sunday, and she said afterward that she hadn't made up her mind yet. But she had to let the WNBA know within 24 hours and announced on social media around 7 p.m. ET Monday that she was entering the draft.

Young was the No. 2 pick overall to New York in espnW's latest mock draft and might even go No. 1 to Las Vegas. She seems a general consensus to be a lottery pick.

Young struggled with her shot on Sunday, going 1-of-8 from the field and finishing with four points against Baylor, but she did have six assists and nine rebounds. This season, Young averaged 14.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. She was also a starter on last year's national championship squad for Notre Dame and averaged 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Young's versatility and ability to impact the game in multiple ways is a big part of her appeal at the next level, along with her 6-foot size, her strength and her athleticism at the guard spot. She has been Notre Dame's top perimeter defender the past two seasons.

Young's departure to the WNBA means all five of the Irish starters from this season's team are gone. The others are seniors Arike Ogunbowale, Jessica Shepard, Brianna Turner and Marina Mabrey, all of whom are also expected to be selected in Wednesday's draft (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

Young follows another former Irish guard, Jewell Loyd, in leaving early. Loyd did so in 2015 as a junior following a national championship game loss and was the No. 1 pick by Seattle that year. She was the 2015 WNBA rookie of the year and a starter on the Storm's WNBA championship team in 2018. Like Loyd, Young is eligible to go early to the WNBA because she turns 22 in the same calendar year as the draft.

Oregon junior Sabrina Ionescu was also eligible for this year's draft for the same reason, but she announced Saturday that she is staying for her senior season with the Ducks. Oregon fell to eventual national champion Baylor in Friday's national semifinals.