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2020 WNBA Draft: Crystal Dangerfield selected 16th overall by Minnesota Lynx

The point guard slipped into the second round but landed in a good situation with Minnesota.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

With the 16th overall pick in the WNBA Draft, the Minnesota Lynx snagged Crystal Dangerfield. She will be joining former teammate Napheesa Collier on Cheryl Reeve’s team.

Before the draft, Minnesota head coach half-joked that Collier was “lobbying” for Dangerfield. But after the Lynx passed on the point guard at No. 6 in favor of South Carolina’s Kiki Herbert Harrigan, the dream appeared to die.

But then Dangerfield started to fall and eventually dropped out of the first round. When Minnesota’s next pick came around at 16th overall, Collier didn’t just have the chance the lobby for her former teammate, she presented the case for Dangerfield. Reeve had both Collier and Sylvia Fowles on the team’s draft conference and opened the floor for Collier to speak about Dangerfield.

“[Collier] took it very seriously when I said ‘Tell the group about her,’” Reeve told Her Hoops Stats. “She shared the qualities as a teammate and what she thought [Dangerfield] brought to the table and ultimately was pretty excited when we were able to select her.”

Though Dangerfield might’ve been disappointed to not be a first round pick, those feelings likely evaporated once she heard her name called for Minnesota. Megan Walker revealed on her Instagram Live that Dangerfield wanted to play for the Lynx and after the draft, the point guard explained why.

“I wanted to go to a good team and I’m confident I found that in the Lynx,” Dangerfield told the W.

“They’re held to a high standard and they win championships,” she later added. “It’s a winning culture and I’m happy to be a part of that. Hopefully when I get there, we can continue that.”

It’s hard to imagine Dangerfield landing in a better situation than what she has with the Lynx. Along with having some familiarity with Collier, Minnesota needs a point guard, which means Dangerfield will have minutes available to her from the jump.

The biggest knock on Dangerfield’s potential is her size at just 5-foot-5. However, with players such as the 5-foot-7 Moriah Jefferson or the 5-foot-5 Leilani Mitchell finding success in the league, Reeve isn’t worried about Dangerfield’s height.

“We have some smallish guards in our league,” Reeve said. “I think there’s been more of a turn towards smallish guards again so I was a little surprised that there was as much chatter about her size as there was. That’s not a concern for us.”

Basketball-wise, Dangerfield is as polished as they get out of college. Her high basketball IQ pairs with a strong all-around offensive skillset along with defense that steadily improved throughout her collegiate career.

Dangerfield should see the court early and often whenever play finally resumes. The Lynx lack another true point guard on the roster, which means Dangerfield will be relied on some — but certainly not completely — to run the offense.

She could help her new team the most from beyond the arc, though, where Minnesota ranked ninth in the league with just a 33 percent clip from three in 2019. As a senior, Dangerfield hit 41 percent of her three point attempts and already showed off WNBA range.

“[Dangerfield] can shoot the darn thing,” Reeve said. “That’s something people can’t accuse us of, is not improving our 3-point shooting this offseason.”

Dangerfield finished up one of the most quietly efficient careers in UConn history with a 2.73 assist-to-turnover ratio during her three years as a starter. Overall, she finished fifth on the Huskies’ all-time assists list with 597. While Dangerfield never gained any national honor outside All-American honorable mentions, she made the offense run smoothly despite heavy year-to-year turnover over the past three seasons.

Dangerfield is the 40th UConn player to be taken in the WNBA Draft and the ninth second rounder — the first since Tiffany Hayes in 2012. Together with Walker, they are the 13th pair of UConn teammates to be selected in the same draft.

UConn is now tied with Tennessee for the most WNBA Draft picks of all-time with 40. Minnesota has drafted seven former Huskies — the most of any WNBA team.