MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Lynx tonight selected Napheesa Collier from the University of Connecticut with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft. The number six pick is the team’s highest selection since the Lynx selected Devereaux Peters with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft.
Collier, a 6-2 forward, put together her best season at UCONN, setting career-highs in almost every category as a senior. She averaged a career-high 20.8 ppg on 61.2% from the field, a career-best 10.8 rpg and a career-high 3.5 apg. Collier registered 24 double-doubles her senior season, upping her career total to 48. She set a career-high six blocks against SMU on January 23 and a career-best 17 rebounds at Oklahoma on December 19. After her historic senior season, she was named the Katrina McClain Power Forward of the Year from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Missouri native stands as the fifth Husky all-time to reach 2,000+ points and 1,000+ rebounds, finishing her career with 2,401 points and 1,219 boards. Collier helped lead UCONN to the Final Four in each of her four seasons with the team, coming away as the National Champions her freshman season (2015-16). In 150 games as a Husky, Collier averaged 16.1 ppg on 60.1% shooting, 8.1 rpg and 2.5 apg.
The Minnesota Lynx tonight selected Napheesa Collier, Jessica Shepard, Cierra Dillard and Kenisha Bell in the 2019 WNBA Draft. The Lynx held the sixth overall pick (Collier), 16th (Shepard), 18th (Natisha Heideman), 20th (Dillard) and 30th (Bell) in this year’s draft. Minnesota acquired guard Lexie Brown (ninth overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft) in a trade with the Connecticut Sun for draft rights to 18th overall pick Heideman.
Brown, a 5-9 guard, played in 22 games for the Connecticut Sun during the 2018 WNBA season. She averaged 1.7 points per game in 5.6 minutes per game. During her collegiate career, she became the first player in NCAA history to earn Associated Press Third Team All-America honors at two different schools, 2017-18 at Duke and 2014-15 at Maryland. Brown reached the 1,000-career point mark in only 81 games. In just 104 career games, Brown hit 193 three-pointers. Before transferring to Duke, she played her first two seasons at the University of Maryland. In 70 games at Maryland (66 starts), she tallied 120 three-pointers, while scoring 825 points, handing out 310 assists and grabbing 127 steals.
Prior to the start of the NCAA tournament, Shepard (forward) had played and started in 32 games for the University of Notre Dame, averaging 16.5 ppg on a career-high 60.8 percent shooting from the field. After a two-year stint at Nebraska, the forward accumulated two First Team All-ACC honors and was named to the 2017-18 All-Final Four Team. Shepard joined the likes of Ruth Riley as the only two players in Notre Dame history to reach 2,000+ points and 1,000+ rebounds in their careers.
At the University of Buffalo, Dillard (guard) started all 34 games her senior season while averaging a team-best 25.2 points, a team-high 5.7 assists and 2.9 steals, while also making a team-best 105 three pointers. The guard earned First Team All-MAC honors, as well as collecting the MAC Tournament MVP title in 2019. In two NCAA tournament games, she averaged 24.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.5 steals.
Bell (guard) finished her senior season at the University of Minnesota ranked fifth in team history in scoring average (18.1), seventh in assists (371), eight in free throw percentage (75.1%) and ninth in free throw attempts (438). The Minneapolis native earned a Honorable Mention All-American (AP) nod after tying her own school record for free throws made in a season with 255, which is also tied for eighth most in a season in Big Ten history. The guard completed her Gopher career ranked second in team single-season history in free throws made (179) and 10th in field goals attempted (528) and assists (140).