The Dallas Wings didn’t have to look far to find a new player to build around.
With the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s WNBA draft, the Wings selected Texas star Charli Collier, a 6-foot-5 forward/center who helped put women’s basketball back on the map in Austin.
Collier, who averaged 19 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 51.1% from the field for the Longhorns in the 2020-21 season, was a WBCA All-America honorable mention, who helped lead No. 6 seed Texas to the Elite Eight of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. Her scoring average was the sixth-best in Texas program history, and she was only the fourth Longhorn to average a double-double over the course of a season — a feat she accomplished in each of the last two seasons.
Within minutes of Collier’s selection, Dallas was back on the clock, as the Wings became the first team in league history with the top two picks in the same draft.
The Wings used their second pick to select Awak Kuier, the first player from Finland to be drafted. Kuier, who was born in Cairo and emigrated to Finland with her family as a small child, has drawn comparisons to reigning Defensive Player of the Year and two-time MVP Candace Parker over the past season. The 6-foot-5, 19-year-old center currently plays professionally for Virtus Eirene Ragusa in Italy.
“Needless to say, we are thrilled with the results of the draft for our organization,” Wings president and general manager Greg Bibb said. “We took another big step forward tonight with the progress of our team. Obviously with drafting Charli and Awak we got the two best players in the draft.”
Three picks later, the Wings selected Chelsea Dungee, a 5-foot-11 guard out of Arkansas at No. 5. A WBCA first-team All American, the dynamic scorer averaged 22.3 points per game this season for the Razorbacks.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Ellen J. Horrow