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Zach Pekale | | July 27, 2020

Colleges, conferences with the most players on 2020 WNBA rosters

Sabrina Ionescu 2019 NCAA tournament highlights

Reaching the WNBA is no easy task. Each of its 12 franchises carry a dozen players at most, meaning a maximum of 144 roster spots are available across across the entire league.

There is a clear trend among the players who made 2020 WNBA rosters — they played college basketball. An astounding 136 out of 144 players competed in Division I women's college basketball.

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But which schools have the most representation around the league? To figure that out, a trophy case wouldn't be a bad place to start your search. You would find names like South Carolina, Tennessee and Maryland, schools that have all cut down the nets in the past 15 seasons. However, no programs have more players in the WNBA than UConn and Notre Dame.

The Huskies have 16 former players scattered throughout the league this year, including three former No. 1 overall picks. Seasoned veterans Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) are in pursuit of another WNBA championship while reigning Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx) will try to build off of a strong start to her career.

Notre Dame is the only other program in 2020 with more than six active WNBA players with nine. Natalie Achonwa (Indiana Fever) and Skylar Diggins-Smith (Phoenix Mercury) are among the the more seasoned Fighting Irish. No WNBA draft picks came out of South Bend in 2020, but 2019 first-round picks Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces), Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings) and Brianna Turner (Phoenix Mercury) are all looking to make an impact at the professional level.

ALL-TIME LINEUPS: UConn starting 5 | Notre Dame starting 5

Of the 55 schools with representation in the WNBA, only six others — Duke, Maryland, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee (6 each) and Baylor (5)  — have five or more players in the league. Seven of the eight teams with five or more players competed in the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, or SEC in 2019. Those conferences account for 80 percent of all college players currently on WNBA rosters. UConn is the exception, playing in the American Athletic Conference from 2014-19 before rejoining the Big East.

ACC 29
SEC 21
Pac-12 20
Big Ten 17
American 16
Big East 11
Big 12 11
Ivy 2
A-10 1
Big South 1
Colonial 1
Mountain West 1
West Coast 1

Here’s the full ranking of every NCAA school with players on 2020 WNBA rosters.

UConn 16
Notre Dame 9
Tennessee 6
South Carolina 6
Rutgers 6
Maryland 6
Duke 6
Baylor 5
Louisville 4
Stanford 3
Oregon 3
Ohio State 3
Miami (Fla.) 3
California 3
Washington 2
Utah 2
Texas A&M 2
Texas 2
Temple 2
Syracuse 2
Princeton 2
Oregon State 2
Mississippi State 2
Minnesota 2
Middle Tennessee 2
Iowa 2
North Carolina 1
West Virginia 1
Wake Forest 1
Virginia 1
Texas Tech 1
Southern California 1
South Florida 1
Rider 1
Penn State 1
Oklahoma 1
Northwestern 1
NC State 1
Missouri 1
Michigan State 1
Marquette 1
Liberty 1
Iowa State 1
Gonzaga 1
Georgetown 1
Florida State 1
DePaul 1
Delaware 1
Creighton 1
Boston College 1
Auburn 1
Arizona State 1

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