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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State faithful will have rooting interest in three different WNBA franchises this season, as women’s basketball alums Alex Bentley, Maggie Lucas and Tanisha Wright will all suit up for the 2018 season when the league kicks off its 22nd season this weekend.
Bentley begins her sixth season in the WNBA and her fifth as a member of the Connecticut Sun, Lucas joins the Atlanta Dream in her fourth professional season after missing the last due to injury and Wright will to start her 14th year in the league suiting up for her third team – the Minnesota Lynx – after taking last season off.
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 Gissendannerand Zhaque Gray.
Overall, Penn State has seen 15 Lady Lions selected in the WNBA Draft, including seven picked in the first 20 selections of the event. Wright and Kelly Mazzante have each achieved the ultimate goal of winning a WNBA championship, with Mazzante winning a pair of titles in Phoenix and Wright claiming a title in Seattle.
Bentley has found a home in Connecticut, spending the last five seasons with the Sun, after being selected in the second round of the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Atlanta Dream. Last season, Bentley appeared in 31 games with nine starts for the Sun and ranked No. 24 in the WNBA with 2.9 assists per contest. She handed out 89 assists to go along with 260 points, 45 rebounds and 26 steals.
For her career, Bentley has 1,812 points, 462 assists, 277 rebounds and 193 steals. She earned her first career All-Star selection in 2015 after ranking among the league leaders in six categories during the first half of the season, before suffering an injury midway through the second half. In the 2015 All-Star Game, 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.
After helping the Indiana Fever reach the Eastern Conference Finals in back-to-back seasons to begin her professional career, Lucas suffered a knee injury early in the 2016 campaign and again prior to the 2017 season, which forced her to miss the entire year. In her fourth professional season, Lucas is hoping a change of scenery is good for the body, as she will suit up for the Dream.
In her first season as a professional, Lucas averaged 3.7 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.3 steals per game in 30 contests in 2014. She again appeared in 30 games during the 2015 season, notching 5.7 points, 0.9 assists and 0.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 37 percent from 3-point range. For her career, Lucas has 311 points, 59 rebounds, 49 assists and 21 steals in 64 games played, while shooting 89.6 percent from the free throw stripe.
In her 13th season in the association, Wright will wear her third different WNBA uniform when she suits up for the Lynx in 2018. Taking last season off to from playing, Wright last played in New York during the 2016 campaign, helping the Liberty to the playoffs and the No. 3 overall seed. That season, she average 6.7 points, 3.6 assists, 2.3 rebounds and nearly one steal in 29 games played.
A five-time WNBA All-Defensive first team honoree, Wright averages 3.6 assists per game for her career, and her 1,231 career assists rank No. 13 in WNBA history. Her 3,036 points and 1,051 rebounds make her one of only 10 WNBA players to grab 1,000 rebounds, hand out 1,200 assists and score 3,000 points in a career. Over her first 12 season, Wright is averaging 7.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.0 steals per game. The veteran has helped her organization to the playoffs in 11 of her 12 seasons on the court, including the 2010 WNBA title.