Asia Durr just turned 22 last Friday. She believed that she had been dreaming even longer about what happened Wednesday night — the night she became a WNBA player.
“Honestly, I think I was sitting in my mom’s womb dreaming about his,” Durr said. “ … This is a dream come true.”
The Liberty had to feel the same way as the 5-10 guard out of Louisville. They received their reward at Nike New York Headquarters in Manhattan for posting the worst season in franchise history, adding this exceptional talent to the roster with the second overall pick in the WNBA Draft. They selected the two-time first-team All-American after Las Vegas took Notre Dame guard Jackie Young.
“It’s great to be drafted by them,” Durr said. “They’re a great franchise. Great coach [in Katie Smith]. Obviously, this was her first year there. But I’m grateful and I’m so thankful for it.”
The Liberty finished last season at 7-27, ending with a 13-game skid. They were 11th out of 12 teams in scoring (77.7 points per game), field goals made (29.4) and three-point shooting (31.7 percent).
So they obviously need more offense. Durr averaged 17.8 points per game and shot 38.5 percent on threes over her four years. After averaging 21.2 points as a senior, she claimed the Dawn Staley Award as the nation’s top guard and the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as Division I’s top shooting guard. She also can play some point.
“She’s an amazing scorer and she’s an amazing point guard as well,” said Katie Lou Samuelson, the UConn guard/forward, who went fourth overall to Chicago. “ … I think she’s going to be able to do exactly the same thing she did in college.”
The Georgia native wasn’t sweating over the thought of trying to fulfill expectations as such a high pick or trying to help lift the Liberty.
“No pressure at all,” Durr said. “I’m doing what I love.”
The Liberty went big in the second round, selecting 6-9 center Han Xu at No. 14. The 19-year-old played with the Chinese National Team in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup last year and was a 2019 Women’s Chinese Basketball Association All-Star with Xinjiang. The Liberty selected 6-3 Utah forward Megan Huff in the third round.
Young was the first of five Notre Dame players picked in the first two rounds. After Durr, Indiana chose 6-7 Mississippi State center Teaira McCowan. After Samuelson, Dallas selected Notre Dame guard Arike Ogunbowale No. 5.
UConn forward Napheesa Collier was taken by Minnesota at No. 6, and then Los Angeles chose 6-7 center Kalani Brown from national champ Baylor. Stanford forward Alanna Smith went eighth to Phoenix, and Connecticut followed by selecting Cal center-forward Kristine Anigwe.