Rookies Shine During Week 1 of Athletes Unlimited Basketball

Lexie Hull, and NaLyssa Smith, Naz Hillmon put the league on notice.

By Elisha Gunaratnam

Many basketball fans are familiar with Lexie Hull, NaLyssa Smith, and Naz Hillmon from when the three players became the faces of their respective college programs. The trio made their WNBA debuts in 2022, and during their first week of Athletes Unlimited Basketball, are beginning to remind players and fans alike of why they generated so much buzz during their college careers. 

NaLyssa Smith and Naz Hillmon were second-round picks when the first Athletes Unlimited draft of the 2023 season took place on February 19. By the time the second draft of the season went down on February 26, the players had risen so high on the AU Basketball leaderboard that they were the ones who were doing the drafting.

Smith started off her AU Basketball career on the right note: she scored the first bucket of the season. Smith went 2–1 with Team Sims during Week 1, and averaged 20+ points and 10+ rebounds in all three games. The 1,405 points she collected were good enough to move her up to third place in league standings.

Hillmon had a perfect 3–0 record in her AU Basketball debut. She averaged just under 10 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Hillmon finished the week with 1,380 points, putting her just behind Smith on the AU Basketball leaderboard.

Lexie Hull was selected to play on Team Sims during the sixth round of the first AU draft of the season. She might have been the steal of the draft. During Team Sims’ second game of the season, Hull exploded for 26 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. She was named the MVP of the game. Her six three-pointers tied the league record for three-pointers made in a game. It wasn’t just her ability to score that made her performance so special. Cindy Brunson, one of the AU Basketball commentators, pointed out that “Lexie Hull defends like her ability to breathe depends on it.”

Hull finished the week with 1,216 points, which put her in eighth place in league standings. Odyssey Sims wanted her back on Team Sims for Week 2 of AU Basketball, so the duo will be looking to improve on their 2–1 record from Week 1. 

Week 2 of Athletes Unlimited Basketball tips off on March 1. All six games are available to watch with the WNBA League Pass.

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