UK Women's Basketball

Kentucky guard Thompson hopes to earn WNBA shot

Kentucky guard Janee Thompson, left, looks for an open teammate in the first half. The University of Kentucky hosted the University of Tennessee, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington.
Kentucky guard Janee Thompson, left, looks for an open teammate in the first half. The University of Kentucky hosted the University of Tennessee, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington.

It was a difficult, painful journey for Janee Thompson coming back from a broken leg her junior season.

The Kentucky guard said she finally felt like her old self again on the court in March, more than a year after the horrific break at South Carolina.

And even though her time at UK has ended, Thompson is not quite ready to leave the court for good and is looking to extend her basketball playing career.

“It’s been a dream almost my whole life to play professionally, whether it’s overseas or in the WNBA, so that’s something I’m looking forward to,” she said during the Cats’ NCAA Tournament run.

None of the mock WNBA drafts have Thompson as one of the players who will have her name called Thursday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

I’ve shown I can compete in the SEC, which is one of the toughest leagues in the country, so I feel like I can help a team at the next level.

Janee Thompson

But she’s eager to continue playing.

“I’ve shown I can compete in the SEC, which is one of the toughest leagues in the country, so I feel like I can help a team at the next level,” said Thompson, who had her best season at UK as a senior averaging 12.6 points and 4.8 assists a game.

The senior, whose leadership widely was credited with helping the Cats turn a three-game losing streak in the middle of the season into an eight-game win streak, scored in double digits 23 times and recorded six or more assists in 13 games.

Thompson’s options if she isn’t drafted will include playing overseas, which more than a handful of former Cats are doing now. Or she could become a free agent and end up on a WNBA team later like former teammate Jennifer O’Neill did last season.

Kentucky has had four players drafted, including two in the first round in A’dia Mathies and Victoria Dunlap. The Cats’ most recent draft pick, DeNesha Stallworth, went in the third round in 2014.

Twelve prospects, including three Connecticut stars in Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck, were invited to the WNBA Draft, as were Southeastern Conference standouts Tiffany Mitchell of South Carolina and Courtney Walker of Texas A&M.

Jennifer Smith: 859-231-3241, @jenheraldleader

Thursday

WNBA Draft

When: 7 p.m.

TV: First round, ESPN2; Second and third rounds, ESPNU.

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