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Senior Watch: Soaring With Wings

After beginning our position by position breakdown with a look at the playmakers running the point, we now shift to look at some of the top wing prospects among this year’s senior class.

Whether they are classified as guards, forwards or any combination of the two, here’s a brief look at eight of the top wing prospects putting in work this season.

Gabby Williams, Connecticut

It’s not often that a player makes the senior watch as the sixth-leading scorer on their team, but the number of points per game doesn’t measure the impact of a player like UConn’s Gabby Williams. Along with her 11.1 points, she adds 8.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.6 steals while shooting a team-best 58.1 percent from the field. On a team stacked with talented scorers, Williams gets her points efficiently and puts in work in every facet of the game.

Kia Nurse, Connecticut

Let’s jump right to Williams’ teammate and fellow Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 selection – Kia Nurse. The senior guard from Hamilton, Ontario is UConn’s third-leading scorer, averaging a career-best 15.0 points per game and shooting 56.9 percent from the field. She’s also knocked down a team-best 35 3-pointers on 48.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc, which ranks 3rd in the NCAA. Earlier this season, Nurse set a UConn record with 12 consecutive 3-pointers made over a span of three games (vs. Michigan State, Nevada and Notre Dame).

Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State

Yet another Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 pick is Mississippi State guard Victoria Vivians. The 6-1 guard is enjoying the best season of her college career, averaging career-high in points (19.4), rebounds (5.9) and assists (2.1). But the most dramatic change in her numbers comes in her shooting percentages. After never shooting over 38 percent from the field during any of her first three seasons as Mississippi State, Vivians is shooting 54.7 percent from the field this season, including 41.7 percent from beyond the arc. She’s always been a scorer (earlier this season she reached 2,000 career points), but now she’s added efficiency to her scoring, which only increases her stock.

Rebecca Greenwell, Duke

In Duke’s win over Wake Forest on Thursday, senior guard Rebecca Greenwell put her name in the record books as she became the progam’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made (254). The sharpshooter recently missed five games with knee pain, but had her best night of the season as she broke the school record and finished with a season-high 23 points. For the season, she is averaging 13.3 points and 6.0 rebounds and shooting 42.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Jaime Nared, Tennessee

Jaime Nared leads the sixth-ranked Lady Vols in both scoring (17.4), rebounding (8.8), and steals (2.4), while adding 3.0 assists per game — all of which are career-highs for the 6-2 senior out of Portland, Oregon. However, her shooting percentages from the field (39.0%) and from beyond the arc (37.8%) from her career-best marks from last season. In Thursday’s overtime loss to Texas A&M – the team’s first defeat of the season – Nared finished with 18 points and knocked down a season-high four 3-pointers.

Ariel Atkins, Texas

Texas’ Ariel Atkins is another player with the ability to stuff the stat sheet on a nightly basis. The senior guard is averaging 14.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.7 steals while shooting 54.7 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc. According to Synergy, she ranks in the 99th percentile in both spot up plays (63 points on 44 possessions with a 71.3 eFG%) and put-backs off offensive rebounds (25 points in 16 possessions with a 71.4 eFG%). Yet another Wooden Award Midseason selection, and with good reason.

Tyler Scaife, Rutgers

On Wednesday, Tyler Scaife became just the third player in Rutgers women’s basketball history to score 2,000 career points and has former Scarlet Knights star and WNBA Top 20@20 selection Cappie Pondexter in her sights (218 points away) as the program’s second-leading scorer ever. The redshirt senior guard is averaging 20.8 points (19th in the NCAA) to go with 2.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals for a Rutgers squad that made it back to the Top 25 for the first time in nearly three years. The word “redshirt” is one to discuss, as Scaife overcame open heart surgery last year and worked her way back to the court for her final college season.

Katelynn Flaherty, Michigan

Katelynn Flaherty is a combo guard that can play the point (like she’s doing for the Wolverines this season) or play off the ball (as she did in her first three seasons at Michigan). She just missed the cut when we did our Season of Giving look at top point guard playmakers as she was not ranked in the top 150 in assists, so we’re including her here at the position she played at for most of her college career. Earlier this season, she became the program’s all-time leading scorer and on December 28, she broke her own school record with 10 3-pointers in a win over Penn State. For the season she is averaging 22.9 points (7th in the NCAA), 4.0 assists and 2.9 3-pointers made per game.