The Indiana Fever selected Emily Engstler with the No. 4 pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft. Here are 5 things to know about the 6-1 Louisville forward.
Collecting winners:Fever begins new era on draft night with a star, surprise, steal and hometown hero
More:5 things to know about NaLyssa Smith, Fever’s No. 2 pick in draft
Engstler is a ‘tough New York City girl’
Engstler is known for his defense, averaging 2.7 steals and 1.8 blocks per game for Louisville during his senior season, helping the Cardinals to the Final Four.
“Emotionally, Emily’s just that tough New York City girl,” Louisville sophomore Hailey Van Lith said. “Teams may try to beat us up and be physical with us, but I know she has my back, and she knows I have hers.”
Louisville coach Jeff Walz says Engstler’s instincts are “off the charts.”
“She can read people’s eyes,” he told ESPN. “She might not get the steal every time, but she is making people start their offense a lot further out. There are a lot of things that Em does that are hard to prepare for if you’re the other coach, because I don’ you even know what she’s going to do.”
“Defense is about passion,” Engstler told Holly Rowe after being picked by the Fever. “I bring that in my game.”
Engstler played for Syracuse during his first three seasons
Engstler transferred to Louisville as a graduate transfer after averaging 9 points during her sophomore season and 10.5 points as a junior, when she was named the ACC’s Co-Sixth Player of the Year.
What Engstler says about her tattoos
“I really look at my body as a notebook. Everything I write on it or a piece I put on it shows who I am or who I love and what I love. I am a huge poetry lover and creative writer. My tattoos are like another form of that for me just on my body instead of on a piece of paper.”
She has a ‘knack for the basketball’
Here’s what ESPN analyst LaChyna Robinson said about Engstler:
“She just has a knack for the basketball. She’s great at reading defenses, anticipating. What we haven’t seen as much that I think we will see in the WNBA is she has some more offense to her game, as well. This was a kid who was a McDonald’s All American who put in the work to get her body in shape, so we know she has the work ethic.”
Her teammate Kiana Smith agrees.
“Emily amazes me every day. I think her basketball IQ and her knack for the game is just ridiculous,” she said. “It’s fun to play with her. I’m glad we have her on our team now.”
She wasn’t afraid to play with the boys as a kid — and talk trash
Growing up in New York, Engstler played CYO basketball with the boys, because the girls didn’t have a team.
“She would just get these looks, like, who’s this kid?” her mom Marilyn Engstler told The Athletic. “But it never made a difference to her. Then she would play with all these guys on Roosevelt Island. You really didn’t see any girls on the court, and (the guys) ranged from 18 to 65. But she doesn’t care. She just wants to play ball.”
Engstler said she “held her own.”
“I think they liked my grit. I think they liked my skill,” she said. “I think they liked that I wasn’t afraid to play with them or talk crap with them.”