Chelsea Dungee Was Ready for Her W.N.B.A. (and Yacht?) Moment

Chelsea Dungee Was Ready for Her W.N.B.A. (and Yacht?) Moment

- in Basketball

She went around the room, taking selfies with the teammates, coaches and fans. Arkansas, where she transferred after spending her freshman year at Oklahoma, was where she found her identity — a relentless shooter whose offensive creativity made her the leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference in the 2020-21 season, averaging 22.3 points per game. Then there’s her razor-sharp crossover, the move that she hopes will become her W.N.B.A. signature.

“I think this system has absolutely been great for me,” Dungee said of Neighbors’ program. “It’s fast paced, there’s a lot of pick-and-rolls, a lot of screening actions, and you see that a lot in the W.N.B.A.”

The draft night party served as a more fitting conclusion to her time with the Razorbacks than their last game, in which Arkansas became the seventh No. 4 seed ever to be upset by a No. 13 seed in the first round of the N.C.A.A. women’s tournament. “It was disappointing,” Dungee said. “I had to come to terms with that, let it go and move on.”

The coaching she received at Arkansas, and the community that was as willing to encourage her to shoot her shot as it was supportive of her on draft night, may have helped raise her draft stock. Before the draft, Chicago Sky Coach James Wade said that both she and her Arkansas teammate Destiny Slocum had “progressed a lot in their maturity and the way they approach the game, playing for a coach that gives them a lot of freedom and that plays a W.N.B.A. style.” Slocum was drafted in the second round by the Las Vegas Aces.

After seemingly endless rounds of interviews on Thursday, Dungee finally had time to digest her wild 24 hours. “My dream actually just came true,” Dungee said. “I’m still in shock.” She pledged that she would be back in the gym the next day, getting ready for training camp on April 25, and hopefully her first W.N.B.A. season on May 15.

“This is a celebration,” she added, not ruling out the possibility of having a little more champagne. “Afterwards, I’ll have my mind right and be ready to work.”

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