Saturday, June 15, 2024

UConn’s Lou Lopez Sénéchal is WNBA’s 1st Mexican-born draft pick

Lou Lopez Sénéchal made history this week as the first Mexican-born player to be drafted by the WNBA. 

The 24-year-old University of Connecticut wing who helped lead her previous school, Fairfield University, to a conference title was selected fifth overall by the Dallas Wings in the league draft.

The Dallas Wings' first round picks.
Four of the Dallas Wings’ six draft picks. From left: Lou Lopez Sénéchal, Stephanie Soares, Maddy Siegrist, Ashley Joens. (@DallasWings/Twitter)

“I’ve come a long way — very grateful for my journey and all the steps I’ve achieved. [I’m] very grateful to be here,” Lopez Sénéchal told ESPN reporter Holly Rowe minutes after being drafted.

Her achievement comes a year after UConn’s Evina Westbrook became the first Mexican-American player in the WNBA when the Seattle Storm selected her in the second round.

Lopez Sénéchal at the 2022 MAAC Champsionship.
Lopez Sénéchal spent four seasons playing for Fairfield University’s Division I women’s basketball team and helped win the school’s first conference title in 24 years before transferring to UConn. (@FairfieldU/Twitter)

At UConn, Lopez Sénéchal became one of the breakout stars of the 2022–23 season after she averaged 15.5 points per game and hit 44% of her 3-point attempts. She’s also ranked ninth among college basketball players with the best 3-point percentage.

Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, to a Mexican father and a French mother, Lopez Sénéchal grew up in Mexico until she was 5 years old, when her parents separated and she moved to Grenoble, France with her mother.

In France, she played basketball in high school before joining North Atlantic Basketball Academy in Ireland when she turned 19. After learning that one of her friends in the academy was going to Canada to play college basketball, she decided to pursue a similar path. 

According to reporter Aishwarya Kumar of ESPN, Lopez Sénéchal’s stepfather, who had lived in the United States, helped her reach out to universities. Together, they sent 280 emails to schools in Divisions I and II, with the only exceptions being the top-25-ranked programs, as they felt these were a stretch too far.

They also made a highlight reel and created an email template that all athletes at the North Atlantic Basketball Academy would eventually come to use. 

After four months of chasing colleges, Lopez Sénéchal got into Fairfield University, where she helped lead the team to the school’s first conference title in 24 years. She spent four seasons in Fairfield before transferring to UConn in 2022 for the final year of her eligibility, playing for its Division I team, part of the Big East Conference during the 2022=2023 season.

In 2022, she was selected as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year and was included on four all-conference teams.

Regarding her unconventional entrance to the WNBA, Lopez Sénéchal told ESPN “I always say there’s never a perfect path, a perfect way. There’s your way.”

She will debut with her new team on May 20 in the opening game of the 2023 regular season against the Atlanta Dream.

With reports from Latinus, NBC Connecticut, NBC News and ESPN

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