Former University of Kentucky women's basketball player Jennifer O'Neill will open the 2015 WNBA season as a member of the Minnesota Lynx.
O'Neill, who graduated from Kentucky in May with a degree in kinesiology after a stellar senior season, was not selected in the WNBA Draft but fought her way onto the 12-player roster of last season's Western Conference finalists.
Minnesota opens its season Friday night against the Tulsa Shock.
O'Neill, a 5-foot-6 guard, joins a team that finished last season 25-9. The two-time league champions (2011 and 2013) are the preseason favorites to win the West.
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O'Neill was one of the most prolific scorers in UK women's history. She finished her career No. 12 on UK's all-time scoring list with 1,356 points and made 197 three-pointers, which ranks second all-time. She scored in double figures 74 times in her career, including 11 games of 20 more points. One of the highlights of her career was a school-record 43-point output in Kentucky's four overtime win over ninth-ranked Baylor in 2013.
"All of us in the UK Hoops family are happy and very proud of Jennifer," UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "She put in countless hours of hard work to prepare for her opportunity and it paid off. Jennifer will be a great asset to the Lynx."
In 2014-15, O'Neill came off the bench to average 14.4 points per game, second on the team and seventh in the league. She was named to the All-Southeastern Conference second team and voted the SEC Sixth Woman of the Year for the second straight season.