As a senior for the Arizona women’s basketball team, point guard Davellyn Whyte was all over the court. Opponents focused their entire defense on stopping her, yet she still led Arizona in all major categories.
Now as a rookie in the WNBA, Whyte faces a new challenge she never went through at Arizona: fighting for playing time.
“It is hard work, all the people here are veterans and they’re great players,” Whyte said. “I’m not too much worried about playing time and at the same time I’m at this level, what coach asks me to do, I do.”
Through 11 games, Whyte has only played a total of 154 minutes (14.0 mpg). The reduced role has Whyte averaging 4.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, a far cry from the 16.3 points she averaged during her Arizona career.
It hasn’t been an ideal start to Whyte’s professional career, especially with her San Antonio Silver Stars stuck near the bottom of the standings. But for the highest drafted Wildcat in women’s basketball history (16th overall), Whyte said she still remains positive about her situation.
While Whyte lead Arizona with 16.8 points, 5.2 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game, the Wildcats still finished at a measly 12-18. Whyte ended up with 2,059 points in her career for second of all-time. She was also second in career steals and made the third most field goals.
What helped Whyte be so successful throughout her time at Arizona was her consistency.
Her career best points average came her junior season as she averaged 17.0 per game; her lowest was her freshman season when she averaged 15.7 per game. Whyte started in 126 total games at Arizona and played 4,243 minutes, both school records.
But, longevity wasn’t her only strength. This past season Whyte also recorded the first triple double in Arizona history, as she scored 31 points, got 16 rebounds and 10 assists against ASU.
Team success may not have come for Whyte, but her time at Arizona helped her become a leader with both her play and off the court.
“Obviously Davellyn was a big piece [of] what we did here in Arizona and her leadership on the floor just by her play,” Butts said. “She went out, she defended, she rebounded, she scored and she was the person who a lot of times led by example.”
Forward Shereen Sutherland, who was a freshman on the team last season, saw Whyte’s leadership first hand as Sutherland worked her way onto the court.
“[Whyte] was a very smart player, knew every position on the floor,” Sutherland said. “If you had a question about anything, you asked Davellyn.”
Sutherland said Whyte also helped the players academically. She answered questions about classes and offered other academic support.
“I’m very proud to have played with her and we watch all of her games [now],” Sutherland said.
At this point in her career, though, Whyte can’t use her collegiate accomplishments to earn more playing time. She also can’t have games like the one she had against ASU when she’s getting less than a quarter and a half of playing time.
And as Whyte adjusts to the challenges of WNBA basketball, the Wildcats must try and move on without one of the school’s all-time greats.
“Anytime you’re losing a player of her ability you’re going to have a tough time replacing her,” Butts said. “And you know obviously we have a team with a lot of new faces, but we also have players who have been thrown into the fire before.”