UConn women’s basketball Christyn Williams took to Washington, Olivia Nelson-Ododa to LA and Evina Westbrook were added to Seattle in 2022 WNBA draft – Hartford Courant

A trio of UConn women basketball players – Christyn Williams, Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Evina Westbrook – were selected in the second round of the WNBA draft on Monday night.

Williams was the first Husky off the board, and was collected in a 15th place by the Washington Mystics.

The 5-foot-11 guard from Little Rock, Arkansas enters the league after averaging 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists as a senior for UConn last season. She is the fourth Husky ever to be drafted by Mystics.

Although Williams admitted she had hoped to be invited to New York for the draft, she enjoyed spending the night at home.

“I’ve had a great experience in Little Rock with my family and friends waiting for my name to be called,” Williams said. “It was a dream come true and I did not want to change it for the world. I’m just super excited and grateful to be part of the league and get to work.”

Williams won the prestigious Ann Meyer’s Drysdale Award as the nation’s best shooting guard in 2021-22 and was named an All-Big East First Team selection in each of the last two seasons.

Throughout his time at Storrs, Williams demonstrated an ability to score at all three levels with downhill speed. She also developed at the defensive end with an average of 1.5 steals per game. fight as a senior.

“Here’s someone who knows how to play with or without basketball,” said Mystics coach Mike Thibault. “In the women’s game, you see many system players, and she is someone who can play in a system, but when the shot clock runs down, she can find a way to create a shot. At the defensive end, she can guard point guards, two-guards and small forwards, she will have some success in playing more positions. “

There were no Huskies in the draft last year, making Williams the first UConn player selected since 2020. That year, Megan Walker was ranked ninth for New York Liberty and Crystal Dangerfield was ranked 16th. in the second round of Minnesota. Loose.

Nelson-Ododa was assembled in a 19th place by the Los Angeles Sparks. She is the third UConn player to be drafted by the franchise through the ages.

The 6-foot-5 forward / center averaged 9.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists for UConn last season. She led the Huskies with a 59.5% shooting clip from the field and was a 2022 All-Big East First Team selection.

“I think with Olivia, it’s the consistency she’s shown throughout her career in terms of getting better every year,” Sparks coach Derek Fisher said. “When you play a high-level program like she’s done over the last four years and go to four consecutive Final Fours, she’s played a lot of basketball.”

Known for his play on the post, Nelson-Ododa averaged 1.7 blocks per game in 2021-22. The native Winder, Georgia, was named the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2020-21 and will look to establish himself in the WNBA with his skill at that end of the floor.

“She’s about winning, and that’s what we want to continue building in LA,” Fisher said.

Nelson-Ododa will join UConn alumni Katie Lou Samuelson, who signed with Los Angeles this offseason.

Westbrook went No. 21 to the Seattle Storm, joining other UConn alumni Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and Gabby Williams. She is the seventh Husky ever that the organization has drafted.

The guard from Salem, Oregon spent the first two years of his career in Tennessee, sat out a year in 2019-20 due to transfer rules and then spent the last two seasons on the field for UConn.

At 6 feet, Westbrook offers a lot of versatility as a combo guard at both ends of the floor. She averaged 9.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 2021-22. She started the first 10 games of the year before moving into an off-the-bench role for UConn.

With Monday night’s selections, there have now been 43 former UConn players admitted to the WNBA all the time since the league’s inaugural season in 1997, which is the most for any collegiate program.

Williams, Nelson-Ododa and Westbrook are all ready to officially graduate from UConn next month.

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