'Z' Ya: Azurá Stevens declares for WNBA Draft

Connecticut's Azura Stevens (23) celebrates after scoring during the first half of a regional final against South Carolina at the a women's NCAA college basketball tournament Monday, March 26, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

UConn women’s basketball redshirt junior Azurá Stevens will forgo her final year of eligibility and declare for the WNBA Draft, according to a press release Monday from UConn Athletics.

"I'd like to thank the coaches, my teammates and the fans at the University of Connecticut for helping me grow and supporting me as a player," Stevens said in the statement. "I will miss this program and all that it has been to me. It's been a lifelong dream for me to play in the WNBA, and I'm excited for this opportunity God has presented me with."

A 6-foot-6 forward from Raleigh, North Carolina, Stevens transferred from Duke two seasons ago and only played for the Huskies one season after sitting out the 2016-17 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Stevens averaged 14.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 20.9 minutes per game in her time at UConn. Though she struggled to adjust to the team at times early in the season, Stevens ended up being a critical piece of the Huskies’ rotation by the end of the season, winning American Athletic Conference Newcomer and Sixth Player of the Year. Stevens also won the American Athletic Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said the university supports Stevens’ decision to go pro.

"We wish Azurá nothing but the best and we're going to be there to support her in any way we can," Auriemma said in the release. "Z and her family have given this a lot of thought and feel this is the right time to pursue this."

Stevens joins UConn seniors Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams as the third Husky to enter the WNBA Draft, which will take place on Thursday, April 12.


Chris Hanna is the associate sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu. He tweets @realchrishanna.