by: Justin Lester and wnba.com
The college basketball season is underway, and this year’s elite teams are full of talented seniors. Here are some of the top seniors that WNBA teams will be keeping an eye on this season.
Lindsay Allen (G – Notre Dame)
While her scoring numbers don’t jump off the page, Allen has been running the show for Notre Dame since she arrived in South Bend. Heading into her final season, the senior point guard had started 112 consecutive games, a school record. Allen also recorded more assists in her first three years than any player in Notre Dame history (559). The Fighting Irish are the No. 1 team in the nation, and Allen aims to deliver their first championship since 2001.
Alaina Coates (C – South Carolina)
A double-double machine, Coates averaged 12.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game last year as South Carolina won the SEC regular-season and tournament titles. She’s a force on the defensive end – the 6-4 center ranked second among the school’s all-time leaders in blocks after her junior year (171). Coates could take on more of the scoring load this season after the graduation of now-Indiana Fever guard Tiffany Mitchell.
Nina Davis (F – Baylor)
At 5-11, Davis is a post player that may need to transition to the wing at the next level. Regardless, she’s been one of the nation’s top scorers throughout her career, highlighted by her 21.1 points per game as a sophomore in 2014-15. Davis was named to the All-Big 12 First Team in each of her first three seasons. Alongside fellow senior standout Alexis Jones, Davis will hope to lead Baylor back to the Final Four for the first time since its 2012 title-winning season.
Erica McCall (F – Stanford)
McCall had a breakout season in 2015-16, earning All-Pac-12 honors after averaging 14.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest while shooting better than 50 percent from the field. The 6-3 forward also displayed an outside touch by draining 11 of her 28 three-point attempts. When Stanford upset No. 1 seed Notre Dame in the Sweet Sixteen, she dropped a career-high 27 points.
Alexis Peterson (G – Syracuse)
Another player that thrived in last year’s NCAA Tournament, Peterson led Syracuse to its first-ever Final Four, where the Orange ultimately fell to star-studded UConn in the national title game. She scored 26 points against South Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen and 29 against Tennessee in the Elite Eight, earning regional Most Outstanding Player honors. Peterson looks to build on a junior year in which she tallied a school-record 593 points (16 per game).
Kelsey Plum (G – Washington)
Plum has been Washington’s go-to scorer since the day she stepped on campus. An All-American in high school, she lived up to the hype by setting a new school record for career points and leading the Huskies to the Final Four as a junior. Named to the preseason AP All-American team, Plum looks to build on a 2015-16 campaign in which the lefty posted 25.9 points per game (fourth in the nation).
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (G – Maryland)
Walker-Kimbrough led the nation in three-point percentage last year, shooting 54.5 percent from deep while scoring 19.5 points per contest. She and senior center Brionna Jones will be motivated to get Maryland back to the Final Four after losing to Plum’s Huskies in the second round last year. With Walker-Kimbrough as their catalyst, the sixth-ranked Terrapins are once again among the national title favorites.