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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Former Penn State women’s basketball standout Alex Bentley will open her fifth season in the WNBA tonight (May 13) when the Connecticut Sun tip off on the opening day of the association’s 2017 campaign.
Under head coach Coquese Washington, Penn State has seen four pupils drafted – Bentley, Tyra Grant, Nikki Greene and Lucas - and three more sign free agent contracts – Ariel Edwards, Kam Gissendanner and Zhaque Gray.
A two-time All-American guard during her time in Happy Valley, Bentley has played for two franchises during her four-year tenure in the WNBA, beginning her career in Atlanta and helping the Dream to the WNBA Finals as a rookie, before spending the last three seasons in Connecticut.
The 2016 campaign saw Bentley rank among the top-30 in the WNBA in points per game (12.9, 22nd), minutes played (28.8, 25th) and assists per game (2.5, 30th). She started a career-high 34 games and set career marks for points (437), rebounds (63), free throws made (51), 3-pointers made (48) and minutes played (979).
The 2015 season served as Bentley’s breakout campaign, as she earned her first career All-Star selection after ranking among the league leaders in six categories during the first half of the season. She played in 25 games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury at Tulsa on August 8. That season, she established new single-season highs in scoring average (14.7 ppg) and steals (49), while she committed a career-low 29 turnovers and her 1.1 turnovers per game were the fewest in her career. A 2015 All-Star selection, Bentley starred for the Eastern Division squad, scoring a team-best 23 points, with five made three-pointers on her home court inside Mohegan Sun Arena.
For her career, Bentley has scored 1,501 points, with 355 assists and 157 steals.
While Bentley will be the lone Lady Lion alum on an opening night roster, Tanisha Wright will be taking the year off from competition and Maggie Lucas reinjured her knee in the preseason and will miss the 2017 campaign.