New York Liberty trade former UConn Huskies stars Kia Nurse, Megan Walker to Phoenix Mercury

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Garrett Stepien
·2 min read
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Kia Nurse points after scoring
Kia Nurse points after scoring

A pair of former UConn women's basketball stars are on the move. The Liberty and Phoenix Mercury announced a trade Wednesday that centered on wings Kia Nurse and Megan Walker.

As a result, the Liberty acquired Phoenix's 2021 first-rounder (No. 6 overall) and 2022 first-rounder. Mercury general manager Jim Pitman spoke highly of Nurse (2014-18) and Walker (2017-20), who overlapped at UConn in 2017-18.

"With a hard salary cap and great parity in our league, you rarely get the opportunity to add a 24-year-old All-Star, much less a player whose skill set and temperament fits seamlessly with our roster," Pitman said. "Kia Nurse was our top acquisition target this offseason because of her outside shooting, aggressiveness off the dribble, size and versatility on defense, and competitiveness. We welcome her to the Mercury family."

"If Megan Walker had stayed for her senior season at UConn, we believe that she would have been considered among the top prospects of the 2021 draft class," Pitman said. "She shot over 45% from three-point range her last year in college, is shooting better than 40% from three in Europe this offseason, and has the potential to be an important part of our roster in 2021. We are excited to welcome her to Phoenix."

Nurse, 24, was a first-time All-Star with the Liberty in 2019 -- her second WNBA season. She averaged 13.7 points 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 29.4 minutes while starting all 34 games. The Liberty selected Nurse, a two-time national champion with UConn from 2015-16, as a first-round pick at No. 10 overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft.

Walker, 22, was a first-team All-American with the Huskies in 2019-20. After the NCAA tournament's coronavirus-caused cancelation last year, Walker declared March 14, 2020, for the WNBA Draft. As a junior in 2019-20, Walker was UConn's leading scorer, averaging 19.7 points on 47.7% shooting and 45.1% from deep in 33.9 minutes while starting all 32 games.