Women’s Basketball: Three Huskies selected in top 10 of WNBA Draft


Connecticut’s Gabby Williams, right, poses for a photo with WNBA president Lisa Borders after being selected as the No. 4 pick by the Chicago Sky in the WNBA basketball draft, Thursday, April 12, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Thirteen days after their collegiate careers ended in a heartbreaking fashion, Gabby Williams, Azurá Stevens and Kia Nurse were drafted into the WNBA. All three Huskies heard their names called in New York Thursday night at the WNBA Draft, signifying the beginning of their respective professional careers.

After South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson went No. 1 overall and Kelsey Mitchell went at No. 2, Williams was the first of the UConn trio to be drafted, selected at No. 4 by the Chicago Sky. Williams scored 1,582 points throughout her impressive four-year career with UConn, which concluded with an induction to the Huskies of Honor and two national championships. She is just the second player in UConn program history to record 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 assists, 300 steals and 100 blocks, joining the legendary Maya Moore.

A few picks later, the redshirt junior Stevens was selected at No. 6 overall by the Dallas Wings. Stevens played just one season with UConn after transferring from Duke and decided to forgo her last year of eligibility to enter the draft. In her one season with the Huskies, Stevens averaged 14.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 20.9 minutes per game this year.

Fellow senior Kia Nurse was the third Husky drafted in the first round Thursday night, landing in New York after being taken by the Liberty at No. 10. Nurse started nearly every game during her four-year career in Storrs, helping the Huskies win two national championships. While she’s known for her defense, Nurse also scored 1,653 points in her UConn career behind a 42.4 percent 3-point shooting percentage.

With three Huskies selected in the top 10, Stevens, Williams and Nurse became the third set of teammates to be drafted in the top 10 of the WNBA Draft in the same year. The other two sets were South Carolina’s 2017 class of Alaina Coates, Allisha Gray and Kaela Davis and UConn’s 2015 class of Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck.

UConn now has 17 former players in the WNBA, easily the most of any school. This group of Huskies will likely be joined by Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier after they finish their senior season in 2018-19.

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