Indiana forward Mackenzie Holmes, of Gorham, was selected with the 26th pick in the WNBA draft by the Seattle Storm on Monday night. Michael Conroy/Associated Press


Mackenzie Holmes fulfulled a personal dream when the Seattle Storm selected her in the third round of the WNBA draft Monday night.

She also made history by becoming just the second woman from Maine to be selected in the WNBA draft – the first since University of Maine scoring star Cindy Blodgett was taken in the first round (sixth overall) by the Cleveland Rockers in 1998.

Just when Holmes — a 6-foot-3 center from Gorham who’s enjoyed a record-setting career at Indiana University — will make her professional debut is still unknown.

She will not play in the 2024 WNBA season, which begins in mid-May. Holmes announced on April 10 that  she would miss the 2024 season because she is having surgery in May to correct a chronic left knee injury that has plagued her since she was a freshman at Gorham High.

Still, the Storm decided selecting Holmes was well worth the risk.


Storm General Manager Talisa Rhea praised Holmes during a post-draft news conference as “someone we can look to in the future.”

“I think for us, we see it as a developmental piece and someone we can bring in next year who’s going to have an offseason to go through the rehab process but also to have some skill development time and to come into camp next year ready to go,” she said.”I think she’s a really fundamentally sound player, a versatile big. … So we’re excited she was there at 26.”

Rhea said the team would have conversations with Holmes regarding her upcoming surgery and rehabilitation plans. The general manager sounded eager to have Holmes “coming out to Seattle and being around our team and our market and also making sure she’s getting what she needs. We’ll work through all those details but we’ll hope to have her in Seattle sometime soon.”

Holmes, 23, who is the Big Ten school’s all-time scoring leader in women’s basketball, had been pegged as a mid-second round pick in several mock drafts. As a third-round selection, Holmes’ rookie base salary will be $64,154.

Holmes, who could not be reached for comment, wrote “DREAM COME TRUE” on her X (formerly Twitter) account in response to a post from the Storm welcoming Holmes to the team.

It was the latest accomplishment for a player whose level of individual and team success is unprecedented for a basketball player from Maine.


“I’m so happy for her and the work she’s put in and just so pleased that she gets to enjoy this day,” said Laughn Berthiaume, Holmes’ coach at Gorham High. “She’s always looking to do her best to improve. That will continue at the next level and I have all the confidence her work ethic will come through.”

“As many of you know during my time as a Hoosier my career was interrupted multiple times due to a recurring issue with my knee, that has been present since my 9th grade year in high school,” Holmes said in a statement on her X account. “To ensure my body is healthy and my playing career is as long and successful as possible, I have decided to get the necessary surgery in May to prevent further issues and alleviate the pain it has caused … I will be ready for the start of the 2025 Training Camp.”

Holmes’ mother, Denise Payette-Holmes of Gorham, was watching the draft with friends, including several mothers of Mackenzie’s former Gorham teammates.

“I face-timed with her right after she was drafted and she was emotional. In a good way,” Payette-Holmes said. “I think she was appreciative of someone taking a chance on her having not had the surgery yet.”


Berthiaume said he’s sure the Storm front office saw Holmes’ work ethic – “they all do their homework,” he said – and that helped make them comfortable that Indiana’s all-time leading women’s scorer will recover from surgery and be ready to make an impact in the 2025 season against the best women’s basketball players in the world.


“Her footwork. Down low she finds a way to create some room and find an angle and is able to finish with both hands,” Berthiaume said. “She’s a great passer out of the post and is one of the most coachable people in the world.”

The draft, televised by ESPN, took place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Caitlin Clark of Iowa, the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women’s history, was the first overall selection by the Indiana Fever in the three-round, 36-selection draft. As one of the first four players chosen, Clark’s base salary is $76,535 for her rookie season. The first round also showed that the women’s game is global. France’s Carla Leite and Leila Lacan were selected ninth and 10th overall and 19-year-old Australian Nyadiew Puoch was the 12th and final first-round selection.

NCAA Oklahoma Indiana Basketball

Indiana forward Mackenzie Holmes celebrates with teammate Sydney Parrish, 33, and Chloe Moore-McNeil in the second half of an NCAA Tournament second-round game against Oklahoma on March 25 in Bloomington, Ind. AP photo

Holmes will be joining one of the WNBA’s marquee franchises. The Storm, which will be celebrating their 25th season in 2024, have won four WNBA titles including in 2018 and 2020 when former UConn star Breanna Stewart was on the team. After going 11-29 and failing to make the playoffs in 2023, Seattle signed two top 33-year-old free agents: six-time All-WNBA forward Nneka Ogwumike and point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, a four-time WNBA all-star.

The Storm’s other draft selection was 5-foot-11 University of Connecticut guard Nika Muhl of Croatia.

This past season Holmes was limited to five minutes in the Big Ten conference tournament but returned and played at a high level as Indiana won two games in the NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual national champion South Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen. Holmes scored 29 points with four blocks in a second-round win against Oklahoma State. In the 79-75 loss to South Carolina, Holmes scored 12 points and led a second-half rally after the Hoosiers trailed by as many as 22 points.

As a fifth-year graduate student, Holmes averaged 19.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and made 65 percent of her shots, earning third-team Associated Press All-American honors.


She finished her IU career as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,530 points. She also tops Indiana’s all-time list in field goals made (1,043), field-goal percentage (63.9%) and wins (123). She was a three-time All-Big Ten first-team selection and three-time Big Ten Defensive Team selection, winning the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2022-23.

The 2022-23 season was Holmes’ best from a statistical standpoint. She averaged 22.3 points and 7.3 rebounds, making 68 percent of her shots, earning first-team Associated Press All-America honors in leading Indiana to a program-record 28 wins and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.


As a high school player at Gorham, Holmes showed what became some of her trademark skills at Indiana – great footwork, uncanny marksmanship, the willingness and ability to run the floor, and infectious enthusiasm with a team-first attitude. Gorham won two Class AA state titles with Holmes and three AA South regional championships. She committed to Indiana shortly after her junior season.

Berthiaume said he never imagined his former star would be a WNBA pick but “at the same time I always knew she had tremendous work ethic. I’m just happy for her and to see how far she can take this.”

Payette-Holmes, herself a former player at the University of Southern Maine with some semi-pro experience in Ireland, said she’s not surprised her daughter has joined the highest ranks of women’s professional basketball.

“Well, it’s always been a dream of hers for sure. She just had goals,” Holmes’ mother said. “She’s always been under the radar as a player just because she’s from Maine. Some people were like she’s not going to get there, but I definitely feel she’ll be able to contribute.”

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