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Women’s hoops: Laila Phelia playing for Team USA, pair of Wolverines make WNBA season debut

Let’s check in on some former Michigan women’s hoops players!

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Eight student athletes will be competing for Team USA in the Women’s Americup this Summer, and Michigan’s Laila Phelia is one of them.

Phelia is the only Big Ten player on the Team USA roster. She’ll be playing with some talented hoopers, including reigning Final Four Most Outstanding Player Angel Reese.

The Americup runs from July 1-9 in Leon, Mexico, and Team USA will face Argentina, Brazil, Cuba and Venezuela in Group A.

Phelia was one of Michigan’s best players last season, and she’s probably its best player heading into the 2023-24 season. Last season, she was second on the team in the scoring, averaging 16.7 points per game to go along with 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Had it not been for a Phelia injury in conference play last season, the Wolverines could have been one of the top teams in a loaded Big Ten.

While the Wolverines lose three of their top for scorers from last season in Leigha Brown, Emily Kiser and Maddie Nolan, Michigan should still have a solid team this season with Phelia, key contributors in Jordan Hobbs, Cameron Williams and Greta Kampschroeder. The Wolverines also welcome some newcomers in transfer Elissa Brett and incoming freshmen Katy Eidle, Macy Brown and Taylor Woodson.

Pro Blue: Naz Hillmon makes season debut, Leigha Brown makes WNBA debut

The WNBA season kicked off this past weekend, with two Wolverines getting time off the bench.

In the season debut, Naz Hillmon contributed seven points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes for the Atlanta Dream in a loss to the Dallas Wings. Hillmon was drafted 15th overall by the Dream last season, and is one of the most decorated basketball players — male or female — to don the Maize and Blue at Crisler Center.

Brown was drafted 15th overall by the Dream back in April, but was traded to the Sun last week. She played three minutes on Friday, with Connecticut beating the Indiana Fever in the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup. The Sun also beat the Washington Mystics on Sunday, but Brown didn’t get on the floor in that game.

Brown led the Wolverines in scoring this past season, pouring in 17.5 points per game to go along with 5.1 rebounds and just under six assists pet game. She poured in a career-high 36 points in a loss to Ohio State this season, and helped lead Michigan to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to the eventual champion LSU Tigers.