Ahead of the 2021 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, we take a closer look at some of this year’s top prospects.
Dana Evans | Guard | 5-Foot-6 | Louisville
1. The Numbers
Senior Season Stats (2020-21): 30 GP, 32.9 MPG, 20.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.27 SPG, 43.0 FG%, 35.3 3P%, 87.3 FT%
Louisville Career Stats (4 Seasons): 135 GP, 27.8 MPG, 12.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.19 SPG, 41.4 FG%, 37.7 3P%, 85.8 FT%
Evans closed out her collegiate career averaging 20.1 points, 3.9 assists and 1.3 steals during her senior season, while shooting 43% from the field, 35.3% from three and 87.3% from the free throw line. She ended the year ranked 27th in NCAA Division I in scoring, 16th in free throw percentage, tied for 17th in 3-pointers made (71) and tied for 36th in assists (117).
She scored in double figures in her first 23 games this season, bringing her streak to 40 consecutive overall. That is the longest streak at Louisville in the last 20 years, topping the 36-game streak from Cardinals legend (and 2009 No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA Draft) Angel McCoughtry.
Another key number to know for Evans is two, as she is a two-time ACC Player of the Year, earning the award in both her junior and senior seasons. She was named ACC Sixth Player of the Year as a sophomore and became the first player in conference history to go from Sixth Player to Player of the Year the following season.
2. Synergy Scouting Report
The bulk of Evans’ offensive possessions during her senior season came on spot ups (183 possessions), as the ball handler in pick-and-rolls (146), transition opportunities (142) and isolation plays (70).
She was at her most efficient in transition, scoring 150 points on 142 possessions (1.056 points per possession), with an effective field goal percentage of 53.9% as she took advantage of defenses that did not have a chance to set up in the half-court.
In the half-court, she was most efficient in isolation, scoring 67 points in 70 possessions (0.957) with a 50.9 eFG%. However, about two/thirds of her half-court plays came either on spot ups or pick-and-rolls. She scored 135 points in 146 pick-and-roll ball handler possessions (0.925 ppp) with a 50.4% eFG%, compared to 166 points on 183 (0.907 ppp) with a 46.0 eFG% on spot-ups.
Shot Chart from Synergy Sports
Looking at the defensive side of the Synergy report, we see that the most common plays that Evans defended were also pick-and-roll ball handler and spot ups. And looking at the points per possession she scored on offense, compared to what she allowed on defense really illustrates her impact.
Opposing teams scored 0.639 points per possession with a 35.6 eFG% on pick-and-roll ball handler possession with Evans as the primary defender. They were only slightly better on spot ups, scoring 0.716 points per possession and shooting 34.6 eFG%.
3. Deep 3-Point Range
Despite going through a major shooting slump starting in late February and going through much of March – she shot 9-52 (17.3%) from 3-point range over seven games that included the final two games of the season, the ACC Tournament and the first two games of the NCAA Tournament – Evans still finished among the top 20 in 3-pointers made in Division I and shot 35.3% for the season from beyond the arc.
Rather than focusing on that slump, let’s take a look at the biggest picture. She shot 38.5% from three as a sophomore (Sixth Player winner), 43.1% as a junior (43.1%) and finished her career at 37.7% as she splash 222 triples in her Louisville career – including some from well behind the 3-point line as the shot chart above illustrates and as the video below shows.
Louisville’s Dana Evans is going OFF
27 points midway through the 4th 🔥
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 29, 2021
4. Louisville Liberty?
Evans is projected as a first round selection and may be available when the New York Liberty get on the clock with the No. 6 pick. The Liberty already have three former Louisville Cardinals on their roster – Asia Durr (who missed last season due to COVID-19), Kaylee Shook and Jazmine Jones.
The New York Liberty have already become the favorite WNBA team in Louisville, but it could grow even more.
ESPN has the Liberty taking Dana Evans in its mock draft. Liberty could have Asia Durr, Kylee Shook, Jazmine Jones and Evans if this happened. https://t.co/QYeJdM08FJ
— Cameron Teague (@cj_teague) April 13, 2021
There are only two other players from Louisville in the entire WNBA – the aforementioned McCoughtry in Las Vegas and Myisha Hines-Allen in Washington.
5. What They’re Saying
Marianne Stanley (Head Coach, Indiana Fever): I think Dana has had a very good career at Louisville. She’s shown a lot of versatility playing both the point guard and the two-guard positions. She’s had a lot on her shoulders, and I think she’s someone who’s demonstrated that she’s not afraid of a big shot or a big moment, and that’s something that all the very good players have in their arsenal. They rise to the occasion. So I think from that standpoint she’s done a really good job. She’s one of the better guards in the draft. Quality guard for sure.
Rebecca Lobo (ESPN College Basketball and WNBA Analyst): I think James Wade [Head Coach/GM, Chicago Sky] has said one of the things they’re looking for is a backup at the point guard spot for Sloot [Courtney Vandersloot], and there are multiple players in this class who could help Chicago. You’ve got some good guards who might be available at that 8 spot: Aari McDonald, Dana Evans, Kiana Williams, Destiny Slocum. There’s an international presence at the point guard spot as well.
If you’re a point guard in this class, that would be a great place to go because you would definitely learn from one of the best in the game in Sloot, and you would be able to have minutes without having all of the pressure that can come from running the show right away.