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Katie Benzan made history earlier this season, becoming the first player of Dominican descent to play in a WNBA game. Photo Credit: Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images.
Katie Benzan made history earlier this season, becoming the first player of Dominican descent to play in a WNBA game. Photo Credit: Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images.

Katie Benzan becomes the first Dominican to play in the WNBA

The 5’6” shooting guard out of the University of Maryland made her debut with the Washington Mystics.

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The top women’s basketball league in the world now officially has its first Dominican player. 

On Sunday, May 8 against the Minnesota Lynx, Katie Benzan made her WNBA debut with the Washington Mystics.

While her time on the court was just over two minutes, WNBA history was still made as she became the first Dominican to ever play in the league. She recorded an assist during the team’s 88-76 win over the Lynx.

Benzan was an undrafted free agent, signed to a training camp contract by the Mystics after the 2022 WNBA Draft. While she was initially released just hours before the team’s opening game, she earned a spot on the roster as a replacement player after making a positive impression. 

In her second appearance on a WNBA court, Benzan recorded 12 points, two rebounds and a block in 15 minutes during a 89-76 win over the Las Vegas Aces. 

Benzan most recently played two seasons of collegiate basketball at the University of Maryland, where she graduated with a master’s degree in journalism. 

During the 2020-21 season as a senior, she led the entire NCAA in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 50% of her shots from behind the arc. 

Prior to transferring to Maryland, Benzan played three years at Harvard, where she was a three-time All-IVy League First Team honoree. 

Born and raised in Wellesley, Massachusetts, to a Dominican father, Benzan is blazing a trail for future Dominican and Dominican-American basketball players — and other athletes — to follow in her footsteps. 

It remains to be seen whether she will remain on the roster throughout the duration of the season. However, she is continuing to make the most of her opportunity.

“As a smaller guard, the odds have always been against my favor,” said Benzan. “Ever since I was growing up I’ve had haters and doubters, doubting that I could play at the college level. I wasn’t worried about the odds. I knew when I got this chance I was going to go out, have fun and compete no matter if it was a couple of days or a couple of weeks.”

The Mystics’ next game is Tuesday, May 17, against the Dallas Wings. 

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