On Wednesday night, both of UConn’s seniors were drafted in the first round of the 2019 WNBA draft. Katie Lou Samuelson is headed to the Chicago Sky as the fourth overall pick and Napheesa Collier will join the Minnesota Lynx as the sixth. We took a look at where both might fit in on their new teams:
Katie Lou Samuelson, Chicago Sky
In Chicago, joining former teammate Gabby Williams and fellow UConn alum Stefanie Dolson, Samuelson adds another consistent three point threat to the Sky’s roster. Chicago already has one of the best point guards in the league in Courtney Vandersloot, who broke the single-season assist record last season. With the reigning back-to-back three point contest winner, Allie Quigley, on one wing and Samuelson on the other, the Sky will be nearly unstoppable from beyond the arc.
However, the Sky finished last season with a 13-21 record and it was not because of their offense. They struggled defensively, posting the worst defensive rating in the league and allowing their opponents to shoot over 46 percent from the field. Samuelson’s defense has improved steadily throughout her time at UConn, but she’ll need to develop that facet of her game even more to help Chicago win more this year.
Napheesa Collier, Minnesota Lynx
This off-season left Minnesota in a state of flux. Lindsay Whalen retired at the end of last season, Maya Moore announced that she is not planning to play in 2019 and whether Rebekkah Brunson will suit up for the Lynx this year is still in question.
“They’re in a transitional setting because some of their players are either retired or not playing this year,’ associate head coach Chris Dailey said after the draft Wednesday night. “I think [Collier] will have a great opportunity.”
The versatility of Collier’s game should allow her to instantly make an impact for the Lynx. Her ability to play a variety of positions and do a little bit of everything will serve as an asset in the changing Minnesota lineup. Particularly, the Lynx need help on the offensive end where they struggled last season.
Given her dominance for the Huskies this season, Collier should prove to be a player the Lynx’s opponents have to guard, which will help Sylvia Fowles to get open underneath more. Additionally, Collier herself can knock down shots from nearly anywhere inside the arc. If she can improve on her outside shot, she’ll be an even better add for Minnesota.
Both Samuelson and Collier will be in action for their respective teams in mid-May when preseason play begins. The WNBA regular season tips off on May 24th.