Maite Cazorla is living the Dream.
The steady Oregon senior was selected by the Atlanta Dream in the second round of the WNBA draft on Wednesday night.
“I’m excited to get to Atlanta and get to work,” Cazorla posted on social media.
Atlanta coach Nicki Collen told Cazorla before the draft started that she would be taking her off the board if the 5-foot-11 point guard was still available with the No. 23 overall pick.
“Maite is a very pro-ready player,” said Collen, who was the WNBA coach of the year last season after leading the Dream to the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. “She’s so good in the pick-and-roll, she sees the floor, and analytically she’s a gem.”
Cazorla leaves the Ducks with program records for wins (113) and games played (146, all starts).
The self-effacing Las Palmas, Spain, import led Oregon to the WNIT semifinals as a true freshman, was an integral part of back-to-back Elite Eight runs in the NCAA Tournament and helped lead the Ducks to this year’s breakthrough Final Four appearance.
During her senior season, Cazorla averaged 9.7 points and 4.3 assists playing mostly outside the spotlight that shines on national player of the year Sabrina Ioenscu and star forwards Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally.
“What’s great about her is not everyone is going to be a superstar at this level,” Collen said. “So understanding how to be a complementary player and knowing how to win are important. She has a maturity about her that I think is going to serve her well as far as fitting in. Players are going to like playing with her.”
Collen might be adding a Civil War pick-and-roll combination to the Dream’s rotation this season. Atlanta traded for former Oregon State center Marie Gulich on Wednesday.
“(Cazorla’s) development over her time at Oregon, she was a good player when she came over from Spain, but their system prepared her to play at this level,” Collen said. “Gulich was someone we really liked a year ago and we didn’t have a first-round pick. We talked to Scott Rueck and his staff about her. We wanted a versatile post player that can score and rim-run and score off the pick-and-roll.”
Atlanta, which selected Notre Dame center Brianna Turner in the first round but sent her to Phoenix in exchange for Gulich, took 6-7 Chinese center Li Yueru in the third round. The roster also includes former UCLA forward Monique Billings.
Cazorla, a two-time all-Pac-12 selection, is the eighth Oregon player taken in the WNBA draft and the first since Jillian Alleyne (Phoenix, 20th pick) in 2016. Ionescu was projected to be the No. 1 overall pick until announcing Saturday she was returning for her senior season..
“I am so happy and excited for Maite," Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. "She has been so good and so consistent for this team for four years. I think Atlanta is a perfect fit for her, and she's going to love playing for Nicki Collen. She has a real chance to be a factor in the league for a long time. We're all pulling for her.
“Maite's a winner and the Dream fans are going to love her.”