A top WNBA draft pick vowed to ‘study’ her new teammates’ games so she knows ‘where they want the ball’

Veronica Burton.

Veronica Burton.AP Photo/Adam Hunger

  • The Dallas Wings selected Veronica Burton with the seventh overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft.

  • The Northwestern PG expressed excitement about playing alongside Arike Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey.

  • “I’m about to go study all their games tonight and just learn where they want the ball,” Burton said.

Veronica Burton is amped to be joining her new team.

The Dallas Wings picked up the Northwestern Wildcats superstar with the seventh overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft Monday night. And mere moments after learning that she’d be joining the likes of Arike Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey in Texas, Burton expressed eagerness to familiarize herself with her new teammates’ styles of play in true point guard fashion.

Veronica Burton (left) and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert pose at the 2022 WNBA Draft.

Burton (left) and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert pose at the 2022 WNBA Draft.AP Photo/Adam Hunger

“It makes my job easier. When you’ve got scorers like that — Marina Mabrey, Arike [Ogunbowale], all those other amazing women and players — it makes the point guard look better and better,” Burton said in a press conference at the draft. “So I’m definitely excited. I’m excited to play with them. I’m excited to play against them and compete with them in practice and everything.

“I’m about to go study all their games tonight even more and just learn where they want the ball, too,” she added. “Where they want it is where I’ll give it to them.”

Ogunbowale joked on Twitter, “I like her already,” after seeing her new teammate’s comment. Mabrey was a fan of the point guard’s mindset, too:

A 5-foot-9 point guard, Burton averaged a team-high 17.8 points and 6.4 assists per contest — and added 5.5 rebounds per game to boot — en route to third-team All-America honors in her senior season with the Wildcats. She led all Power 5 conference players with a 3.12 assist-turnover ratio, showcasing her “extremely high basketball IQ” ESPN analyst LaChina Robinson raved about ahead of Monday’s draft.

Even with her stellar output on the offensive end, Burton is arguably best known for her lockdown defense. She led the nation with four steals per game this year and assumed an apt nickname — the “Backcourt Burglar” — as a result.

Veronica Burton.

Burton (left) looks to steal the ball during a game against Louisville in the 2021 NCAA tournament.AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Burton was even one of four finalists — and the only guard — nominated for the 2022 Naismith Trophy Women’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

“It is a huge honor to be named as a finalist for that award,” she told Insider ahead of the draft. “I have always taken a lot of pride on the defensive end because I understand how important that side of the ball is in order to win games.”

That defensive prowess will undoubtedly prove useful to Dallas head coach Vickie Johnson, whose squad ranked in the bottom third of the league in opponent field-goal percentage, opponent three-pointers made, and opponent assists while owning one of the worst defensive ratings in the WNBA last season.

Veronica Burton.

Burton at Northwestern.AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski

But Burton’s up to the challenge. She knows that the defense she brings to the table “is a separator for me,” and she said as much Monday night.

“Coach Johnson had talked about wanting another defender that can really stop ball-handlers, keep people out of the paint,” Burton said. “So if that’s what she needs, that’s what I’m going to give her. I’m excited to fill that role, and whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to try and do it.”

Read the original article on Insider

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