WASHINGTON, DC – Washington Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault announced that guard Ariel Atkins has signed a multi-year extension with the team effective in 2022.
A guard from the University of Texas, Atkins (5-11, 167) was selected in the first round (7th overall) of the 2018 WNBA Draft. In addition to helping lead Washington to back-to-back WNBA Finals appearances and a championship in 2019, Atkins has earned All-Defensive Team honors in each of her three WNBA seasons.
“Ariel has been a great contributor to our success from the time she stepped on the court her rookie year,” said Thibault. “Her growth as a player and a leader over her first three seasons has been important to our growth as a team. Her leadership on and off the court during last summer’s trying season was impressive and we are excited to watch her continued improvement as a player over the next several years. Ariel is an excellent role model and representative of the Mystics in the D.C. community and this is an important next step forward for us.”
During the 2020 season, Atkins set new career highs in every statistical category including points per game (14.8), rebounds per game (2.9), assists per game (2.4) and steals per game (1.8). She also shot 43.8 % from the field, 41.1% from the three-point line and 88.6% from the free throw line, all career-bests. Atkins was also one of the leaders in the WNBA bubble to bring awareness on social justice matters. Her three-year playoff averages include 11.4 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game and 2.2 assists per game.
“Coach T, everyone in the Mystics organization, and Monumental Sports & Entertainment as a whole have given me every opportunity to grow,” stated Atkins. “I also get to play in front of the most passionate and electrifying fans in the WNBA. I believe in what we do here, that’s why I signed an extension with the Mystics.”
During her time with the Longhorns, Atkins helped lead the team to four NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances. She increased her output in virtually every category, averaging a career and team–best 14.9 points per game, 3.2 assists per game and 2.5 steals per game during her senior year.