NBA

Dallas Wings Takes Azura Stevens in WNBA Draft; Now Prepare for 2018 Season

NBC Connecticut

As a little girl, Azurá Stevens always dreamed of playing in the WNBA.

Her dream became a reality when she heard her name called by the Dallas Wings as the No. 6 overall pick (1st round) in last week’s WNBA Draft.

“I’m really excited, honestly. I’m just excited to get there and work with the team and the staff,” said Stevens, the University of Connecticut standout. “It’s honestly just surreal. I’ve dreamed of this moment since I picked up a basketball, so for it to actually be happening is pretty amazing.”

What was also amazing was the congrats she received from NBA star Kevin Durant who pre-recorded a video message for Stevens. She has said in interviews that she modeled her game after Durant, and was genuinely stunned by the message from the former MVP on arguably the biggest night of her life.

“Oh my God. Holy crap. That was Kevin Durant. No words honestly,” she said after watching the video message.

Stevens said she is ready to help the Wings on the defensive end of the court where they struggled last year.

“I think it’s something I’ve always been working on. I’m definitely excited to bring that aspect of my game to this team.”

The former UConn and Duke University player credits both storied college basketball programs with preparing her for the WNBA.

“I think it’s helped me be able to adjust,” she said. “Going from one program into another program, it was hard to kind of let go of everything that was there and immerse myself in a new place. So I feel really confident going into this team to be able to adapt and adjust to the new environment and the team and whatever they need me to do.”

The Wings walked into this year’s draft with three overall picks. In addition to Stevens in the first round, the team drafted Loryn Goodwin, a 5-9 guard out of Oklahoma State in the second round at 18th and Natalie Butler from George Mason in the third round at 30th.

“We are happy and very excited about our selections,” said Wings Head Coach Fred Williams. “We feel that all our selections tonight will come into training camp and compete for a spot on our roster. It’s just going to make us better for the regular season.”

Wings President and CEO Greg Bibb said the team added “size, talent, versatility and athleticism” to its roster with the draft picks. “We are thrilled about the three players we were fortunate to select in the 2018 WNBA Draft.”

Azura Stevens Photo: Dallas Wings

Wings star Skylar Diggins said she is excited to add Stevens’ “toughness” to the team and for her to have come from such a storied college basketball program at UConn.

“It’s great to have somebody who came from that program. She’s a winner, that’s what she is and its going to be great to add her into the mix, great defensively, be able to switch on the perimeter. I’ve heard a lot of great things about her so I’m really excited to have her here.


The Draft Picks

Azura Stevens: Stevens played in 37 games this year for the Huskies, earning 2018 American Athletic Conference Newcomer and Sixth Player of the Year. Overall for UCONN, she averaged 17.7 points per game and tied for the team lead with 7.4 rebounds per game. Named to the American Athletic Conference Second Team, Stevens led the Huskies with 76 blocks, while recording eight double-doubles. Before arriving at UConn, Stevens was an All-ACC First Team selection as a sophomore at Duke, and a second-team pick as a freshman. For the Blue Devils she averaged 16.2 points per, 8.8 rebounds per game and shot 52.3 percent from the field in 58 games.

Loryn Goodwin: A graduate transfer by way of UTSA, Goodwin played a key role for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, receiving honorable mention All-America status from the Associated Press and honorable mention All-American by the WBCA. She played in 32 games, leading the Big 12 by averaging 20.6 points per game and finished in the top 12 of the conference with 6.7 rebounds per game. She also led the league with five 30-point games and 20, 20-point outings.

Natalie Butler: A 6-5 center, Butler, rounds out the Dallas Wings draft class for the 2018 season. At George Mason, she was an honorable mention All-American honors from the Associated Press and Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. In her final season for The Patriots, she broke the single-season scoring record with 653 points and an NCAA D1 single-season rebounding record with 563 rebounds. Overall, she started in all 34 games with 19.2 points and 16.6 rebounds per game. On top of breaking a single-season rebounding record, she also recorded 33 consecutive double-doubles.

The Dallas Wings

The Wings begin training camp on April 29th before tipping off the 2018 regular season on May 18 in Phoenix against the Mercury. Individual tickets are on sale. Fans can purchase their tickets by calling 817.469.9464 or by visiting dallaswings.com.

The Dallas Wings are one of twelve professional teams in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The team was founded in Detroit Michigan in 1998 as the Detroit Shock. After 12 years and three championships (2003, 2006 and 2008), the team moved to Tulsa, where they were known as the Tulsa Shock. In 2016, the team played their first season in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as the Dallas Wings. The Wings play home games at College Park Center, a state-of-the-art facility located on the University of Texas at Arlington campus in Arlington, Texas.

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