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Former USC guard Destanni Henderson makes WNBA debut

Former USC guard Destanni Henderson makes WNBA debut

Destanni Henderson made the jump from starting for South Carolina in the NCAA national championship game to starting with the Indiana Fever in the WNBA’s season opener in just 32 days.

Henderson started alongside two other first-year players (NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo) on the Fever’s young roster for the first regular-season game on the road Friday against the Washington Mystics. Henderson scored four points on 2 of 6 shooting with five assists and two rebounds in Indiana’s 84-65 loss to the Mystics. She logged 17 minutes in her professional debut.

Henderson scored 16 points on 6 of 17 shooting with eight assists, five rebounds and four steals across the Fever’s two preseason games before Friday’s season opener.

The 5-foot-7 guard from Fort Myers, Florida was selected in the second round of the 2022 WNBA Draft with the 20th overall pick after finishing her college career as USC’s leading scorer in its national championship win over UConn in Minneapolis.

Henderson was one of 12 college players selected to attend the draft in New York City. While she was projected to go within the draft’s 12 first-round picks, Henderson maintained an optimistic attitude about her WNBA prospects, making the Fever’s roster of 12 and earning a starting position for the season opener.

“At the end of the day, I’m just going to recognize I was meant to go second round,” she said during the Fever’s media day in April. “I was meant to end up in this position, and it’s not something I’m going to dwell on. The (draft) experience was great. I’m happy to be here, and everything happens for a reason.”

Henderson units with two fellow former Gamecocks in Indiana, Tiffany Mitchell and Alaina Coates.

Henderson reflected on her whirlwind month of championships and WNBA dreams when she met with the media on Indiana Fever media day April 27.

“It’s been like a roller coaster, trying to celebrate and enjoy the moment,” Henderson said. “It’s just hard — trying to take in — but when I do have my moments, my downtime, I sit back and reflect on them. (I’m) just glad to be in this position, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

This story was originally published May 6, 2022 9:05 PM.

Augusta Stone covers South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball, football and other college sports for The State. A winner of the Green Eyeshade Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Stone’s work has been featured in Sports Illustrated, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Charlotte Observer. Stone graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia.

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