After a rocky rookie season in Chicago, Katie Lou Samuelson shares her thoughts on joining the Dallas Wings ahead of the 2020 WNBA season.
When the Chicago Sky drafted Katie Lou Samuelson with the No. 4 overall pick during the 2019 WNBA Draft, many projected that the 6-foot-3 guard would help change the fortunes of a subpar franchise.
Coming off a decorated college basketball career at the University of Connecticut, Samuelson recorded over 2,000 collegiate points for the Huskies while taking home AAC Player of the Year honors twice (2017 & 2018). She played a significant role in helping UConn reach the national championship game in 2016, but an injury sidelined Samuelson as the Huskies took home their 11th title.
Similar to her first national championship appearance, Samuelson’s rookie season did not go according to plan.
A fractured hand injury caused her to miss 14 out of a possible 32 regular-season games in 2019. When her status was active, Samuelson did not receive much playing time averaging 7.6 minutes per game. On the heels of her sophomore season — and first with the Dallas Wings — Samuelson says she has put in a ton of work to bounce back after a rocky start to her pro career.
“I’ve put in a lot of work,” Samuelson said after practice on Wednesday. “I’ve been able to train and strengthen my joints….for me to feel my best physically. Coming into my second season, I want to have a really good year. That injury was unfortunate to happen early on in the season for me, so I’ve been doing everything I can to make sure my body is at its peak performance.”
In February, the Wings acquired the California native in exchange for Azura Stevens and the Sky’s 2021 first-round pick. Dallas’ lack of perimeter shooting in 2019 made Samuelson a considerable addition to the team. While averaging 16.8 points across 140 college games, Samuelson shot 49.1 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Joining the Wings gives Samuelson a sense of comfortability by reuniting with her UConn teammate, Moriah Jefferson. The two played together on the Huskies’ last championship team in 2016. That same season, Samuelson received National Freshman of the Year honors, while Jefferson captured National Defensive Player of the Year.
In addition to Jefferson, Samuelson will also be joining her sister, Karlie Samuelson. Katie says she has already taken advice from her big sister — like what to expect from her new head coach, Brian Agler.
“It’s super fun to be back with Moriah…we picked back up where we left off even though it’s been a few years since we last played together,” she said. “As for Karlie, she has given me a lot of advice. She told me coach is though here, and will always push you to be your best.”
With the goal to get better and while building team chemistry, Samuelson and the Wings will open their 2020 season on Sunday, July 26th, against the Atlanta Dream.
(Photo Credit: Hannah Foslien, Getty Images)