CHICAGO (April 15, 2021) – The Chicago Sky has selected Shyla Heal with the eighth overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft Presented by State Farm, which aired this evening virtually on ESPN.
“We are very excited to have Shyla coming to Chicago,” said Sky General Manager and Head Coach James Wade. “We’ve been watching her for quite some time to see how she matured since the time she first became a professional basketball player. And now that she’s only the young age of 19 we think that the future’s bright for her.”
A native of Kogarah, New South Wales, Australia, Heal enters the WNBA with multiple years of professional experience from down under. She began playing professional basketball at the age of 14 after signing as a development player for the South East Queensland Stars. Heal earned WNBL Player of the Year honors following a season where she averaged 25.3 points and 7.3 assists per game with the Townsville Fire in 2020.
“Once we talked to her, she just blew us off the charts,” Wade said. “She loves basketball. She does things that normal 19-year-olds won’t do.”
Heal is the daughter of former NBA player and one of Australia’s most distinguished basketball players, Shane Heal. While playing for Australia at the FIBA U17 Oceania Championship in 2017, she took home the gold medal for the Sapphires at the age of 16. Heal is now one of nine Australians to be selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft.
The Sky also selected Natasha Mack with the 16th overall pick in the Draft. The former Oklahoma State forward was named as the WBCA Defensive Player of the Year in 2021 while also taking home Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors. In addition, Mack received unanimous vote recognitions for both the 2021 Big 12 All-Defensive Team and Big 12 All-First Team. During her 2020-21 campaign for Oklahoma State, Mack recorded a school-record of 112 blocks, which led the country and also shattered her previous record of 97 blocks during the 2019-20 season. She led the Cowgirls with 19.8 points per game and was only one of two players on Oklahoma State to average double-digit points during the season.
Prior to her time in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Mack played at Angelina College in her hometown of Lufkin, Texas. She earned first-team All-America honors as a sophomore while also becoming the first Roadrunner to receive an All-American recognition and be named a National Player of the Year.