Zaay Green-UAPB
Photo: UAPB Athletics

With Ameshya Williams-Holliday’s historic WNBA draft selection fresh in our minds, it’s only right we highlight some athletes that could potentially follow suit.

If a player were to be drafted in the 2023 draft, it would be the first time an HBCU player was selected in back-to-back drafts since the inaugural two in 1997 and 1998.

There are many women’s basketball players still in the college ranks that are deserving or could be in line to be drafted into the WNBA.

Here we will highlight a few women fans should watch that could be among the top names in HBCU basketball next season.

1. Zaay Green, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Zaay Green-UAPB
Photo: UAPB Athletics

Next season Arkansas Pine-Bluff guard Zaay Green will undoubtedly be a favorite to win the SWAC Player of the Year and could be drafted to the WNBA.

Raised in Texas, Green was one of the top recruited women’s basketball players coming out of high school, ranked 10th overall in the 2018 recruiting class by espnW.

She played with the University of Tennessee for two seasons, then Texas A&M for one, before finally ending up at UAPB.

In her first year with the Golden Lion, the guard averaged 15.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.1 steals. She was named the SWAC Newcomer of the Year and was selected to the All-SWAC First Team.

Green could be in for an all-decade caliber performance this upcoming year if last season were any indication.

2. Mahoganie Williams, Norfolk State

Mahoganie Williams-NSU
Photo: Norfolk State Athletics

Norfolk State could potentially see one of their own take home the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year award for a second straight year if Mahoganie Williams has anything to say about it.

Spartans guard Camille Downs was certainly a deserving winner of the award after leading the conference in steals per game (3.3), but Williams was also a worthy candidate leading the conference in blocks and steals.

Her best performance of the season came in a win against George Mason when she stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and six blocks.

The All-MEAC forward also played well in the Spartans Women’s NIT tournament game against Drexel posting 10 points, five rebounds, and two steals.

3. Le’Andrea Gillis, Savannah State

Le'Andrea Gillis-Savannah State
Photo: SSU Athletics

The Savannah State Lady Tigers were easily the most dominant HBCU women’s basketball team this past season.

They finished the regular season with a 24-1 overall record, ending on an 11-game win streak heading into the SIAC tournament.

A huge reason for their success was the play of their leading scorer Le’Andrea Gillis who averaged 14.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals.

Gillis scored in double figures in 25 of the 30 games she played this year. She was the top three-point shooter in the conference, connecting 66 three-pointers on 42% shooting.

4. Destiny Howell, Howard

Destiny Howel, Howard
Photo: Howard Athletics

A big reason for the Howard Bison winning their first MEAC tournament championship since 2001 was the play of sophomore guard Destiny Howell.

The leading scorer during the regular season, Howell had a big performance in the MEAC championship game, scoring 25 of the team’s 61 points.

This included a first half in which she scored 14 points, connecting on all three of her three-point attempts.

Howell was a big-time scorer for the Bison all season, scoring at least 15 points in 11 games.

5. Dariauna Lewis, Alabama A&M

Dariauna Lewis, Alabama A&M
Photo: AAMU Athletics

Following a season in which the same player won the SWAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, Dariauna Lewis could also be a potential candidate to follow suit next year.

Lewis was huge for the Alabama A&M, averaging a double-double with 15.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.

She along with teammate Nigeria Jones, who is also a player to watch next season, was selected to the All-SWAC second team.

The all-conference forward began the season with a dominant defensive performance with 13 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks against Dayton.

6. Ashiala Jackson, Tuskegee

Ashiala Jackson, Tuskegee
Photo: Tuskegee Athletics

The fact that Tuskegee’s Ashiala Jackson won the SIAC Player of the Year in a conference especially loaded with talent speaks volumes of how good she is.

In 25 games, Jackson led the SIAC in scoring averaging 19.9 points adding 10.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals.

Her best game arguably came in a loss in the Golden Tigers’ regular season finale against Savannah State where she scored 32 points on 13-of-15 shooting from the field adding 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Playing alongside SIAC Defensive Player of the Year JuToreyia Willis, Tuskegee will be a favorite to win the SIAC next year.


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