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15 former UConn players make WNBA opening day rosters

The Huskies' two 2023 draft picks both made their respective teams, while Evina Westbrook found a home in Phoenix.

WNBA: Preseason-Chicago Sky at Minnesota Lynx John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

An impressive 15 former UConn women’s basketball players made WNBA rosters ahead of the regular season’s opening weekend. The Phoenix Mercury lead the league with three Huskies while five other teams had two. Eight of the 12 WNBA franchises have at least one former UConn player on their roster.

The school’s two 2023 WNBA Draft picks — Lou Lopez Sénéchal and Dorka Juhász — both made their respective squads. Lopez Sénéchal joins Crystal Dangerfield on the Dallas Wings, though she’ll miss 6-8 weeks after undergoing knee surgery. Dallas selected Lopez Sénéchal with the fifth overall pick in the most recent draft.

Juhász earned a spot on the Minnesota Lynx despite being a second-round pick. She excelled during the preseason by showcasing her versatility and skill as a post player and even racked up a double-double in her professional debut during the Lynx’s exhibition opener.

Juhász joins Napheesa Collier in Minnesota’s frontcourt. Last season, Collier only returned for the last four games of the year after giving birth to her daughter, so this will be her first full campaign back.

Elsewhere, Breanna Stewart and Stef Dolson will both suit up for the New York Liberty, one of the WNBA’s two superteams along with the Las Vegas Aces — who feature Kiah Stokes. Out west, Moriah Jefferson and Evina Westbrook will team up with Diana Taurasi on the Phoenix Mercury. Westbrook made the roster despite joining later in the preseason after being waived by the Washington Mystics early in camp.

In LA, Azura Stevens and Katie Lou Samuelson are both on the Los Angeles Sparks’ roster, though Samuelson will not play this season due to her pregnancy. Up the coast, Kia Nurse is UConn’s lone representative on the Seattle Storm following Sue Bird’s retirement after last season. Back home, Tiffany Hayes and Olivia Nelson-Ododa returned to Connecticut this past offseason and are on the Sun’s opening day squad.

As for former Huskies not on rosters, both Bria Hartley and Christyn Williams are recovering from injuries while Gabby Williams’ status is in doubt due to the league’s new prioritization rule. Tina Charles and Megan Walker remain free agents.

The season begins at 7 p.m. ET on Friday when the Sun take on the Indiana Fever and the Liberty face the Mystics. The Lynx kick off against the Chicago Sky at 8 p.m. ET while the Mercury and Sparks square off at 11 p.m. ET. The Wings open with the Atlanta Dream on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET while the Aces and Storm will have to wait until 3 p.m. to begin play.