Countdown to the 2016 WNBA Draft: No. 2 UConn’s Moriah Jefferson

Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire

While the hype around UConn generally revolves around senior forward Breanna Stewart, senior guard Moriah Jefferson, Stewart’s right-hand man on both sides of the court, also has a future in the WNBA.

The 5’7’ guard averaged 12.6 points per game while shooting 55.1 percent from the field. Jefferson also led the team in steals this season with 83 through UConn’s 32 games this season. She also logs the most minutes and assists on the court with 30.7 minutes per game and 5.4 assists per game.

Following the 2015-2016 season, Jefferson was named to the First Team All-Conference list and earned the 2016 AAC Defensive Player of the Year award by unanimous decision.

Since her freshman year, Jefferson has been a staple in the lineup for UConn. Jefferson averaged 17.4 minutes and played every game and even appeared in two starting lineups.

During her recruiting days, Jefferson was ranked the No. 1 guard and No. 2 overall on ESPN HoopGurlz Class of 2012. Native to Texas, Jefferson was homeschooled all through her childhood, but that didn’t stop her from winning championships with the Texas Home Educators’ Association Riders. For four straight years, Jefferson and the Riders won championships left and right.

While she might’ve lacked a traditional high school experience, Jefferson actually gained valuable playing experience. Her flexible schedule allowed for more time to hone her skills, and her team played around 50 games each year against public and private high school.

In one of UConn’s closest games of the season, Jefferson, alongside Stewart and senior Morgan Tuck, combined for 53 of UConn’s points in the team’s 66-54 win in the top ranked matchup.

Earlier in the season, Jefferson hit 500 career assists in UConn’s eighth game of the season. So far, Jefferson has notched 167 dimes this season alone. In total to date, she has 622 career assists. Current Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi holds the UConn record at 648. With the tournament coming, Jefferson needs just 26 assists to tie.

Jefferson’s biggest traits stem from her subtle plays that add up to big wins for the Huskies. While Stewart is the name that dominates the coverage of UConn, Jefferson leads the team in assists and minutes.

As a draftee who will likely go within the first few choices, Jefferson could find herself on the Connecticut Sun. Following a trade with the Atlanta Dream, Connecticut now holds back to back draft picks at the third and fourth slots.

The Sun finished last season 15-19, tied for last place in the Eastern Conference. Jefferson could be the driving force to come in for the Sun to help them find their way to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Jefferson and UConn start their final trek to the NCAA championship as they host their first round matchup versus No. 16 seed Robert Morris March 19.

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