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Weekly Roundup: Napheesa Collier lobbying Minnesota Lynx to draft Crystal Dangerfield

All the UConn women’s basketball news you might’ve missed this past week.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In last week’s roundup, ESPN projected both Crystal Dangerfield and Megan Walker to join Napheesa Collier on the Minnesota Lynx. Now, it looks like the reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year is working to make (part of) that a reality.

According to Patrick Borzi, Collier has been “lobbying” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve to pick Dangerfield.

On the surface, that seems to be a pipe dream. Reeve herself said she considers Dangerfield a late first rounder pick, square in between the Lynx top two picks (No. 6 and No. 16 overall). Assuming Minnesota stays where they are and everyone is telling the truth, it’d be unlikely for Collier and Dangerfield to reunite.

But what if Reeve is putting up a smoke screen? In all her media interviews, the coach has downplayed Dangerfield’s draft stock. Reeve said Dangerfield will likely be the third point guard on the board — after Sabrina Ionescu and Ty Harris — and that her ceiling is as a backup.

That could all be a ploy by the Lynx to throw everyone else off their scent and prevent another team from trading ahead of them in order to nab Dangerfield. Considering Minnesota needs a point guard, Dangerfield is the second-best in the class and will likely be available to Reeve and company when their first pick comes around. While sixth might be reaching a bit, Dangerfield is almost certainly going to be an instant-impact player and will fill a position of need as well.

And for what it’s worth, more mock drafts have Dangerfield rising to a mid-first round pick — including a handful sending her to the Lynx — with the draft looming on Friday.

Walker talks exit

Megan Walker has finally broken her silence on her decision to leave UConn early for the WNBA. In her first interview since declaring for the draft, Walker spoke with ESPN’s Holly Rowe about what went into her decision.

“I considered everything,” she said. “I looked at every possible situation, even with the coronavirus happening. I looked at everything I knew I’d be happy with every possible outcome but really it came down to me wanting to fulfill my dream.

“I wanted to compete at the next level and show what I have against other pros.”

You can watch the full interview (1:43) here.

Walker finds agency

Speaking of Walker, she signed with Sports International Group agency. According to their website, they have 44 women’s basketball clients, not including their newly-signed rookies. Along with former UConn players Bria Hartley and Kia Nurse, SIG represents WNBA stars such as Candace Parker, Jasmine Thomas and Chiney Ogwumike.

Last week, Dangerfield announced she signed with Eric Wiesel of LBM Management.

Bueckers reveals new number

With Dangerfield off the WNBA, Paige Bueckers will be tasked with helping to replace her at point guard. The freshman will look at the part, at least, as Bueckers announced on Instagram that she will wear No. 5 at UConn.

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Numero cinco

A post shared by Paige (@paigebueckers) on

Bueckers wore No. 1 in high school, but Geno Auriemma has never allowed a player to wear that digit. Instead, she’ll be the sixth player in program history to wear 5, joining Dangerfield (2016-2020), Caroline Doty (2008-2013), Maria Conlon (2000-2004), Kim Better (1992-1996) and Debbie Baer (1989-1992).

New recruiting rankings

With the high school basketball season over, ESPN updated their 2020 recruiting rankings. Bueckers remains the No. 1 player in the class while Aaliyah Edwards rose from No. 26 to No. 23 and Mir McLean fell from No. 21 to No. 26. Piath Gabriel and Nika Muhl remain unranked.

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