January 22, 2024
Awak Kuier to miss the 2024 WNBA season
Kuier plans to return to Dallas in 2025
The Dallas Wings announced on Monday that forward Awak Kuier will not play in the upcoming WNBA season due to personal reasons. Kuier plans to return to the team in 2025.
“After a great deal of thought and consideration, I have decided to sit out the upcoming 2024 WNBA season,” Kuier said in a press release. “I have been playing professional basketball continually for 7 years and believe it is in my best interest to take some time off to rest and give my body a break from year-round play. I’m going to miss my teammates, the staff and the Wings fans greatly. I look forward to returning to the team in the summer of 2025 and helping the Wings compete for a WNBA Championship.”
Kuier was drafted No. 2 overall by the Dallas Wings in the 2021 WNBA Draft. She is the first Finnish player to join a premier professional women’s basketball league and the second to get drafted in WNBA history (first was Taru Tuukkanen, who was drafted at No. 57 overall out of Xavier by the New York Liberty in 2001). Kuier participated in the 2019 U18 FIBA European Championship for Finland. She led the country to a championship and won the MVP award in the tournament.
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Last season, Kuier appeared in 37 games (started in four) for the Wings and averaged 2.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. During an episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball last May, she expressed her desire to play a bigger role for Dallas and her development with the team.
“I think I’ve always kind of been a defensive player,” Kuier said on the podcast. “So I feel like I’ve always enjoyed playing good on defense. So I think half of that definitely comes from just myself and being so happy to play defense, but I think being able to kind of understand the game and learn how everybody plays and I think that was what kind of made it easy for me to anticipate when somebody is going for a layup or if somebody’s going for a pass. So I think that helped me a lot. And that really developed from my first year and second year.”
“While we will miss Awak this season, we understand and are supportive of her decision to take the summer off,” Wings President & CEO Greg Bibb said in press release. “We look forward to rooting for her as she completes her overseas season and welcoming her back to North Texas in 2025.”
The Dallas Wings are coming off the 2023 season with a 22-18 record and had the highest winning percentage (.550) since 2008. They also appeared in the semifinals as the No. 4 seed and were swept by the eventual WNBA champion, the Las Vegas Aces, in three games.
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Written by Aya Abdeen
Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next Hoops since December 2022. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.