Welcome to the UConn WBB Weekly, a recap of everything that happened in the world of UConn women’s basketball over the past week.
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From the UConn WBB Weekly Premium:
From The UConn Blog:
- Chasing Perfection: UConn adds Lou number two
- Caroline Ducharme undergoes successful left hip surgery
- UConn women’s basketball 2021-22 season in review: Frontcourt
Last week’s Weekly:
- Lynx sign Napheesa Collier to multi-year contract extension (Minnesota Lynx)
- Crystal Dangerfield and Evina Westbrook were cut by the Lynx and Storm, respectively.
Ranking UConn’s top WNBA Draft prospects
The WNBA season kicks off on Friday and like every year, UConn will be will-represented. Though rosters aren’t totally finalized, there will be double-digit Huskies playing in the league this summer ranging from the legends like Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, to the mid-career stars like Breanna Stewart, to — potentially — a rookie in Olivia Nelson-Ododa.
UConn has no shortage of talent on its current roster, so its history of sending players to the next level should continue for the foreseeable future. But who’s next? And who has the best chance of turning into a star in the W?
1. Paige Bueckers
While UConn hasn’t had a player go No. 1 since Breanna Stewart in 2016, that’ll likely change with Bueckers. It’s still unclear when she’ll turn pro — she’ll be eligible to leave after next season as a junior, but could also do so after her senior year or even after her bonus fifth year — but she’s the type of can’t-miss prospect teams will be desperate to add. Bueckers likely could’ve succeeded in the W after her freshman season, so she’ll be even more well-equipped for the next level after another year or two in Storrs.
2. Azzi Fudd
Fudd might be a few years off from the draft but her talent and potential is undeniable, even after an uneven freshman season due to injury. At the very least, her 3-point shooting will play at any level but she’s also shown flashes of a strong overall offensive game. As Fudd continues to develop at UConn, it’s likely that she’ll also turn into a coveted prospect for WNBA teams. The best is still yet to come for her with the Huskies.
3. Aaliyah Edwards
Bueckers and Fudd are the top most obvious candidates, but everyone else still needs to show a significant amount of development, consistency or both to really put themselves into the conversation for the WNBA. Having said that, Edwards is the closest to breaking in.
She’s already been to the Olympics with the Canadian national team and even though she didn’t see the court much, she still experienced a professional environment. Edwards has the strength, physicality and intensity to play in the post but at 6-foot-3, she’ll need to become a better outside shooter to be an effective offensive player at the level.
4. Dorka Juhász
With a 6-foot-5 frame, Juhász’s size and strength will likely intrigue a team enough to convince them to use a second or third round pick on her, but she’ll need to prove that she can play at UConn — and do so consistently — to move up the board or have any chance at sticking. Juhász does have an quality skillset as a strong rebounder who can hit shots from the perimeter but again, she needs to do all that on a regular basis to really catch the eye of WNBA front offices.
5. Caroline Ducharme
More than anyone else on this list, Ducharme’s inclusion is based almost purely on potential. She showed flashes of what she can do for a couple months after Paige Bueckers’ injury when she led UConn in scoring but fell off at the end of the season due to a head injury. However, Ducharme is a big guard who can get to the rim and should improve as a 3-pointer shooter after making just 28.8 percent as a freshman. She also had a stretch where she thrived as a shot-blocker but still needs to get better as a one-on-one defender at the college level.
Still, there’s a lot to like about Ducharme’s game and if progresses throughout her time with the Huskies, she could easily find herself on draft boards by the time she graduates in three years.
Best of social media
Azzi Fudd’s end-of-season message:
The Bryant family sent UConn women’s basketball sneakers this past week in honor of Kobe and GiGi.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa had a strong preseason with the Los Angeles Sparks:
Meanwhile, Evina Westbrook had a game-winner for the Seattle Storm: