All University of Maine women’s basketball star Blanca Millan wanted was an opportunity to showcase her talents at a WNBA training camp. She learned Sunday morning that she has earned that chance.
The 6-foot-1 guard from Spain wasn’t selected in the WNBA draft on Thursday night, but she received a free-agent contract from the Washington Mystics and will fly to Washington, D.C., on Monday morning.
The Mystics were the only one of the 12 WNBA teams that did not have a selection in the three-round, 36-player draft.
“This is a great opportunity. This is a dream come true,” Millan said Sunday afternoon. “I can’t wait to meet everyone and start working.”
“The coach [Mike Thibault] called me and told me they were very excited to have me,” said Millan, who was thrilled the head coach took the time to call her.
“He told me they had one guard spot open,” Millan said. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Thibault, who is also the general manager, is the league’s all-time winningest coach and is a three-time WNBA Coach of the Year. He previously coached the Connecticut Sun.
Millan said having a chance to play in the WNBA is the reason she came to the United States and the University of Maine for college.
She has visited Washington D.C. and said she loved it.
She will quarantine for a day and will begin individual workouts. The Mystics will have their first practice on April 25.
“Getting a chance to compete against some of the best players in the league will make me a better player and a better person,” she said. “I’m very excited.”
Millan said she isn’t sure about the terms of her contract.
The Mystics open the 2021 season on May 15 against Chicago.
She will be the third UMaine player to earn an opportunity to play in the 25-year-old WNBA, following Cindy Blodgett and Jamie Cassidy.
“We could not be more proud and excited for Blanca. She has worked so hard for this opportunity,” UMaine head coach Amy Vachon said. “She is one of the best ever to play at UMaine.
“We are so excited to follow her journey and cheer her on. Blanca has always set her goals high and we are so excited to watch her chase her dreams,” Vachon said.
Millan, who opted not to return to UMaine for a sixth season under the NCAA’s COVID-19 waiver, finished her career as the program’s No. 5 scorer with 1,974 points. She is second in steals with 324 and third with 216 3-point field goals.
She concluded her career with her best season as she averaged 21.4 points and 2.9 steals to rank 15th nationally in both categories. She also averaged 7.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists while becoming the first player in America East history to twice be named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
The three-time America East First-Team and All-Defensive team selection was recently named the 2021 World Exposure Report International Player of the Year. She was also a finalist for the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year award.