This piece does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Lynx front office.
Ruthy Hebard: 6’4, F/C, University of Oregon
College Stats in 2019-20:
32 games, 28.6 MPG, 17.1 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.1 BPG, 68.1 FG%, 67.4 FT%
Where she’ll go:
Hebard will probably be selected either No. 4 of No. 5 depending on team needs and shouldn’t drop below the No. 7 overall pick.
Three Ducks in the top five selections? It’s not out of the question.
Hebard probably isn’t the first player you think of when considering Oregon’s 31-2 record, but her contributions to the Ducks’ season should not be overlooked.
While fellow Ducks Sabrina Ionesu and Sabou Satally controlled the perimeter, Hebard owned the paint where she recorded a 69.7% field goal percentage and put her skillful game on display in her senior season. She’s a legitimate threat out of the pick-and-roll or in the Ducks’ pace-and-space offense and scored 1.41 points per possession, according to Her Hoops Stats. Her efficiency and athleticism made the Ducks the multi-dimensional threat that they were during the 2019-20 season.
The biggest hole in Hebard’s game is her range. Hebard never attempted a single 3-point shot in her college career, which isn’t out of this world for centers — Hebard’s secondary position — in the WNBA, but most teams expect their power forwards to pose a threat from the perimeter in order to space the floor. Disadvantage Hebard.
If teams resort to plugging Hebard in at the 5 where she won’t be asked to score beyond the arc, they may run into trouble with her 6’4 stature. In college, Hebard’s athleticism and ability to out-run her opponents allowed her to be an effective yet undersized center, but her smaller size may pose some problems for her in the pros.
However, Hebard’s consistency should present some optimism for WNBA scouts. Hebard has shot over 65% or better from the field since her sophomore season, and still scored at an admirable 58.8% clip as a freshman. She’s averaged at least 8.5 rebounds per game since the start of her college career and recorded her best season on the boards as a senior (9.7 total rebounds per game, 3.5 offensive).
Plus, Hebard has already experienced what it’s like to be a star player on a team surrounded by other stars who sometimes steal the limelight from her. That’s valuable experience for a WNBA rookie to enter the league with.