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WNBA Draft 2024: Meet the Connecticut Sun draftees, including No. 10 pick Leila Lacan

NEW YORK — The Connecticut Sun added four rookies to their roster at the 2024 WNBA Draft, looking for an X-factor that can get the franchise back into contention with the “superteam” New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces.

The 2024 draft class is the Sun’s largest since the last time they had four picks in 2017. Their first round selection that year was Brionna Jones, a two-time WNBA All-Star entering her seventh season in the league. With a veteran core and several promising young options, Connecticut is poised to be a contender yet again in 2024.

The Sun return most of their roster from last season’s run to the WNBA semifinals, headlined by superstar duo Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner. Thomas was the MVP runner-up last season, and Bonner enters her 15th year in the league off of her fifth career All-Star selection in 2024.

“That’s the toughest part really, is we have a veteran group, so we need players who can come in and if their number is called they’re ready to go,” Sun coach Stephanie White said. “But the same time they’re willing to understand that it’s about being impactful in a small amount of minutes when you get the opportunity. Certainly we’ve seen, as well as many teams throughout the course of this league, that at any moment something can happen and they have to be ready to play. So I think for us it’s it was it was positional. Who can impact us the positions where we may need some some help in some areas that we struggled last year?”

Connecticut’s 2024 draftees will begin training camp on April 28, and the Sun tip off the 2024 season against Indiana and No. 1 draft pick Caitlin Clark at Mohegan Sun on May 14.

No. 10: Leila Lacan, guard, France

Lacan, a 19-year-old guard from France, played the 2024 season for French professional team Angers in the LFB, averaging 12.7 points, three assists and 2.7 rebounds. Speed is her standout trait, but the 5-11 guard is also an impressive passer and possesses an elite handle that makes her a scoring threat at all three levels. However, Lacan’s efficiency in the LFB leaves something to be desired — she shot 40.8% from the field and 30.7% from 3-point range. Lacan is not expected play in the WNBA this summer, remaining in France to compete with her national team in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“She’s incredibly polished and probably ready to play right away,” White said. “Anytime you’re looking at bringing in players internationally, they may or may not participate at certain points throughout their career because of international obligations. We felt like she was the most pro ready, that she had skillsets that we may or may not have had or we lost … Being a high IQ player was really important, and we felt like she fit us in Connecticut and fit our personnel.”

No. 19: Taiyanna Jackson, forward, Kansas

Jackson filled a need for the Sun at 6-6 as a dominant post defender, and she was impactful all over the stat sheet for Kansas in 2023-24 averaging 12.6 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and 1.1 steals per game. She was the Jayhawks’ most efficient shooter hitting 57% from the field, and she was named to the All-Big 12 first team for the first time in her career this season. Jackson was named a semifinalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year in her junior and senior seasons, also earning honorable mention All-American honors from the WBCA for the first time in her career.

“I though this was a pretty deep draft class … so I felt like teams were able to just add players that could help them,” Sun general manager Darius Taylor said. “Like for us, adding Taiyanna Jackson, a rim protector, 6-6, that’s somebody who has a lot of potential and has a high ceiling.”

No. 22: Helena Pueyo, guard, Arizona

Taylor described Pueyo as “the steal of the draft” at No. 22, and the former Arizona guard is a perfect fit for the Sun’s system. Pueyo has a bit more size than most of the Sun’s current guard rotation at 6-0, and she was a two-time selection to the Pac-12 All-Defensive team. She’s polished offensively coming off of her fifth year with the Wildcats and had a breakout 2023-24 season averaging a career-best 9.7 points plus 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists shooting 48% from the field.

“The ability she has, she’s a pro. She moves the ball well, she’s got good size, she makes good decisions, she can shoot threes,” Taylor said. “She didn’t have a high usage rate for Arizona, but we felt like she was a prospect that could be a better pro than college player.”

No. 34: Abbey Hsu, guard, Columbia

It will be a tall task for Hsu to make Connecticut’s veteran-heavy roster, but she is high-potential pick for the Sun at the end of the third round. Hsu averaged 20.8 points — which ranked 21st in the country — and 7.3 rebounds per game in her final season with the Columbia, leading the Lions to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. The 5-11 guard is an elite shot creator, hitting 44.6% from the field and 38.8% from 3-point range in 2023-24, though WNBA physicality may pose a learning curve after four years in the Ivy League. She is the first player ever drafted out of Columbia.

“We know that she has a high ceiling and potential to to grow into even a better player, and not just be a shooter,” Taylor said. “We like her size, like her ability to score off the bounce as well. She worked on that a lot this season. We’ve been following her for a while, but we really think she has a lot of potential, so we were excited for her to still be sitting there.”