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UConn Women’s Basketball: WNBA Season Preview

With the 2017 WNBA season about to start, we take stock of where former UConn Huskies are at around the league.

Ian Bethune

The WNBA season kicks off Saturday evening and to nobody’s surprise, UConn has quite the foothold in the league with 14 players, the most of any school.

Here’s a look at where each of those 14 players stands heading into the new season.

Maya Moore - Minnesota Lynx

The former UConn superstar is one of the league’s highest-profile players, winning MVP in 2014 and leading the Minnesota Lynx to WNBA titles in 2011, 2013 and 2015. This season, WNBA general managers predict the Lynx to win the title again, while Moore was a popular choice to win MVP as well.

For the first time in her career, Moore took the offseason off instead of playing overseas to rest up and refine her game. Some are wondering if she’ll be able to take her game to a next level.

“I just think it's scary,” ESPN’s LaChina Robinson said via conference call. “If there is another level to Maya Moore's game, then watch out, WNBA, because she's already an elite player.”

Breanna Stewart - Seattle Storm

From one former No. 1 overall pick to another, Breanna Stewart is entering her second WNBA season after a brilliant rookie campaign. The 2016 Rookie of the Year was voted by GMs as the best player to start a franchise with.

After getting injured playing in China, Stewart was able to get some rest before the start of this season. ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo, another Husky great, is expecting Stewie to make a big jump in her sophomore season.

“I expect to see even bigger and better things from Breanna Stewart,” said Lobo. “And she was pretty darn impressive already.”

Ian Bethune

Sue Bird - Seattle Storm

While Stewart’s WNBA career is just beginning, Sue Bird’s is heading towards its conclusion. Despite being one of the older players in the league, Bird is still a premier floor general. She has the second-most assists in WNBA history and was voted the league’s best passer, the best at making her teammates better, the best basketball IQ and the best leader by GMs.

Most of the GMs seem to think Bird has a future in basketball beyond her playing days. She was also voted as the player that would make the best head coach. Could that be at UConn when Geno Auriemma decides to hang it up?

Diana Taurasi - Phoenix Mercury

Taurasi is closing in on history this season in a couple different ways. Taurasi is 178 points away from becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer, which would surpass Tina Thompson. Last season, Taurasi averaged 17.8 points-per-game, so she is on pace to break the mark in the tenth game of the season.

With just seven made three-pointers, Taurasi would pass Katie Smith for the most in WNBA history. She should be able to claim that honor fairly early in the season as well.

Stefanie Dolson - Chicago Sky

This offseason, Stefanie Dolson was traded from the Washington Mystics to the Chicago Sky as a part of the blockbuster Elena Delle Donne deal. Big Mama Stef spent the first three years of her career in Washington, where she was named an All-Star in 2015. She averaged 9.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the Mystics last year.

Bria Hartley - New York Liberty

Despite forming a formidable UConn duo in Washington with Dolson over the first three years of their careers, Bria Hartley was also moved over the offseason. The guard was traded to the New York Liberty in a three-team deal. Hartley will join former UConn stars Tina Charles and Kiah Stokes in New York.

Ian Bethune

Saniya Chong - Dallas Wings

Chong is the most recent UConn addition to the WNBA, entering as a third-round pick of the Dallas Wings. Despite long odds, Chong made the roster and will likely receive a fair amount of minutes early on.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis - Seattle Storm

With Mosqueda-Lewis in Seattle, the Storm are tied with the New York Liberty for the most former Huskies on a current WNBA roster with three. Mosqueda-Lewis is averaging 5.5 points and 12.5 minutes per game for the storm.

Kelly Faris

Unfortunately, Kelly Faris did not make the Connecticut Sun’s roster. Faris was the 11th overall pick by the Sun in the 2013 draft but has struggled to produce at the next level.

Morgan Tuck - Connecticut Sun

With Kelly Faris released, Tuck is now the only former UConn player on the local squad. As the No. 3 overall pick last season and a Connecticut fan favorite, Tuck has quickly become one of the faces of the Sun franchise. She averaged 7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game as a rookie.

Renee Montgomery - Minnesota Lynx

Montgomery teams up with Maya Moore in Minnesota, who fell to the Phoenix Mercury in Game Seven of the WNBA Finals last season. The UConn duo will be coming to Connecticut to face the Sun on Friday, May 26.

Ian Bethune

Moriah Jefferson - San Antonio Stars

Selected just one pick before Tuck, Moriah Jefferson was called the “Quickest player in the league” by Slam Magazine, who believes the floor general could become a perennial all star. Her rookie year production (13.9 PPG, 4.2 APG) offer promise for a very bright future.

Tiffany Hayes - Atlanta Dream

After signing a multi-year contract extension before the start of last season, Tiffany Hayes put together the best season of her WNBA career, averaging 15 points-per-game and dropping a playoff career-high 30 points against the Chicago Sky. She looks to build on her strong season and continue to ascend in the league.

Tina Charles - New York Liberty

Last season was the also the best of Tina Charles’ career, averaging a career-high 21.5 points-per-game. She also took home the rebounding title, grabbing 9.9 rebounds-per-game. With her performance, she was named to the WNBA First Team last season.

Kiah Stokes - New York Liberty

Along with Charles, Kiah Stokes helps form one of the best frontcourts in the league and arguably the most formidable former Husky duo in the league.