Ogwumike helped guide the Cardinal to the Final Four during all four of her seasons at the school, including this year's loss to eventual champion Baylor. The 6-foot-2 forward averaged 22.5 points and 10.2 rebounds this past season.
Despite finishing with the fourth-worst record in the league at 15-19, the Sparks won the draft lottery in November.
While Ogwumike's selection was almost a certainty with the top pick, the rest of the draft was a bit more of a mystery with no clear-cut choices going in.
Tennessee guard Shekinna Stricklen went second to the Seattle Storm. Notre Dame post player Devereaux Peters went third to the defending champion Minnesota Lynx.
Tulsa, which had the worst record in the league last season with just three victories, took Tennessee forward Glory Johnson fourth.
Miami's Shenise Johnson went fifth to San Antonio. Phoenix took Ohio State point guard Samantha Prahalis sixth. The New York Liberty drafted Tennessee's Kelly Cain seventh. Notre Dame's Natalie Novosel went eighth to Washington. The Mystics also took LSU's LaSondra Barrett with the 10th pick.
Connecticut chose 6-foot-8 Astan Dabo from Mali with the ninth pick. Georgia Tech's Sasha Goodlett went 11th to Indiana.