Women’s Basketball: Veronica Burton drafted seventh overall to Dallas Wings in 2022 WNBA Draft


Daily file photo by Alyce Brown

Veronica Burton eyes the basket against Penn State. Burton was drafted seventh overall by the Dallas Wings in the 2022 WNBA Draft.

Gabriela Carroll, Sports Editor

Women’s Basketball

The Dallas Wings drafted senior guard Veronica Burton at seventh overall in the first round Monday in the 2022 WNBA Draft.

Burton is one of the most awarded defensive players in college basketball, winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association National Defensive Player of the Year award in 2022.

Wings CEO and President Greg Bibb said improving team defense was a major organizational focus this year, and Burton’s defense put her number one on the team’s draft board.

“I think she is going to come in, and she is going to be a defensive presence from day one,” Bibb said. “(Dallas Wings) Coach (Vickie Johnson) preaches defense, and we have been talking about defense for what feels like a long time here.”

Burton, nicknamed the “Backcourt Burglar,” led the Big Ten in steals in each of her four years at Northwestern, and led the NCAA in steals in her final season.
“Coach Johnson had talked about just kind of 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.”

The Newton, Mass. native also led the Wildcats in points in her junior and senior seasons. Burton’s contributions on both ends of the court led to her All-Big Ten First Team selections in 2021-22 and 2020-21.

“She’s a talented offensive player as well, but her defense is so elite that it sometimes gets overshadowed,” Bibb said.

In Burton’s four years at NU, the team won the Big Ten Regular Season Championship in 2019-20 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2021. Burton served as a captain her senior season.

“I think she is going to be a tremendous teammate,” Bibb said. “I think she is going to compete hard and come in every day and whether she is on the court or not, she is going to help us be better.”

Burton is the first player drafted from NU since Lindsey Pulliam, who was drafted 27th overall in the third round of the 2021 WNBA Draft by the Atlanta Dream. She is the fourth Wildcat ever to be selected in the WNBA Draft. The San Antonio Stars, now the Las Vegas Aces, drafted Nia Coffey 5th overall in 2017, and the Chicago Sky selected Amy Jaeschke in the third round in 2011.

The Dallas Wings went 14-18 in 2021, losing in the first round of the playoffs.

“These are the moments that you dream about as a young woman, as a young girl,” Burton said after being drafted. “I’m thrilled to be going to Dallas, and I can’t wait to get started.”

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