Mississippi point guard Valencia McFarland's dream is to make the WNBA.
And she's having one heck of a season season statistically, as described by David Hooper of SB Nation's Rocky Top Talk in his preview of Tennessee's game against Ole Miss last night.
The 5'-4" senior point guard has been the team for her career. She's the kind of point guard that we really could have used when Stricklen was running the Baby Vols show. On this season, she leads the team with 16 points, 33 minutes, 6.5 assists, 2.8 turnovers, and 2.2 steals per game. (Given the lack of talent around her, the 2.3 A/TO is really impressive.) Against Baylor in Waco, Odyssey Sims grabbed the post-game writeups with 39 points on 32 shots...McFarland was far and away the more efficient point guard, however, with 6-13 shooting and 5-7 free throws for 17 points, 12 assists (and only 4 turnovers), and 9 rebounds.
A lot of goodness to be found in Hooper's account juxtaposed by the one thing that might keep WNBA general managers from helping her realize fully realize her hoop dream: at 5'4", she's on the small side for a WNBA prospect.
But she has two things working in her favor as a WNBA point guard prospect: that impressive efficiency as a distributor and the fact that she's a high usage scorer who leads her team in points per game with 15.5. Her dominance isn't confined to numbers either: in both that game against Baylor and Tennessee, her tools of dominance were a combination of quickness and court vision to get into the lane and kick out to shooters. Although she didn't get another points-assists double-double against Tennessee, I counted at least five lost assists in the first half when teammates didn't knock down the shots.
Unlike diminutive guards of the past like Angel Goodrich or Leilani Mitchell, McFarland's pro potential is probably limited by the fact that she is not a particularly great 3-point shooter (30.3%). Nevertheless, it might be difficult to entirely ignore a player putting up her numbers in the late-second or third round.
For more about potential pro prospects, check out our 2014 WNBA Draft prospects storystream.