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Gonzaga Women's Basketball

Former Gonzaga standout Brynna Maxwell takes her shot with WNBA Chicago

Brynna Maxwell offered a thorough scouting report of her game, a shoutout to Courtney Vandersloot, praised Gonzaga and proclaimed herself a Cubs fan during an introductory news conference Wednesday with the Chicago Sky.

“I was told because I live on the north side, I have to be a Cubs fan,” Maxwell said, “so I’m a Cubs fan.”

The Sky seem to be fans of Maxwell, selecting the former Gonzaga sharpshooter with the first pick of the second round (13th overall) in the April 15 WNBA draft.

“We strongly feel that Brynna is the best shooter in the nation,” Chicago General Manager Jeff Pagliocca said. “She can be a floor spacer for us, she has a quick trigger, she is fearless, she can shoot with closeouts, shoot on the move and she sprints into her 3s.”

All of those things bode well for Maxwell, whose first priority is making the final roster. WNBA teams have a maximum of 12 players and some only carry 11 so they can pay top players more because of salary cap restrictions. Fifteen of 36 draft picks made opening-day rosters last season.

The Sky won the 2021 title with – as Maxwell mentioned in her remarks – GU legend Vandersloot at point guard. They are coming off an 18-22 season and hired former WNBA great Teresa Weatherspoon as head coach in October. Their roster lists 10 players with WNBA experience, nine with at least three seasons.

Maxwell was selected after Chicago’s first-round picks: center Kamilla Cardoso, MVP of the 2024 NCAA Tournament for champion South Carolina, and Angel Reese, MVP of the 2023 tournament with champion LSU.

“This whole team is going to (have) a lot of talent,” Maxwell said. “I know my shot is a pretty unique shot, and I provide some offense that they’re lacking, and they need. Everybody is fighting for a spot. There are a lot of good players. We’ll see how it shakes out, but I do think I have a chance.”

Maxwell averaged 13.8 points, hitting 47.1% on shots inside the arc, 45.9% on 3-pointers and 90.4% on free throws over two seasons with Gonzaga. She made at least one 3-pointer in 67 of 69 games as a Bulldog. She scored in double figures in each of her three seasons at Utah before transferring to Gonzaga.

“I shoot the ball, that’s what I’m known for,” Maxwell said. “Any type of shots, off the dribble, move, catch, but I can also get to a pull-up. What you’re going to see is a quick trigger, really fast releases. I like to take charges so we’ll see if I can get a couple of those.”

The 6-foot Maxwell twice earned first-team All-West Coast Conference honors and twice was in the top 10 nationally in 3-point accuracy. The Zags went 32-4 and reached the Sweet 16 last season.

“They have a system and they really recruit people for their system,” Maxwell said of GU. “We had four fifth-year seniors and another senior and all of them could score 20 points a night. So being able to be in a role where you’re not shooting high-volume shots, you have to make the shots you get because everyone is getting these shots, was super helpful in preparing me for this.

“You had to learn to be efficient and high percentage.”

Maxwell was both for the Zags. Her teammate, Kaylynne Truong, was selected by Washington later in the second round.

“I think I might have been more excited to see her drafted than me,” Maxwell said. “I was celebrating and I saw her name come across, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ That was really cool.”

Chicago has two preseason games, including a May 7 home matchup with Vandersloot and the New York Liberty, before the regular-season opener vs. Dallas on May 15.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Maxwell said. “As soon as season ended, I gave myself a couple days (off), but since then I’ve just been working my tail off just getting ready for camp. Got here on Sunday and I’ve been in the gym ever since.

“I love doing it, so it’s really not work for me.”