Basketball fans are lucky that Lou Lopez Sénéchal began thinking about the option of playing basketball in the States when she talked to a friend in Ireland who was going to play in Canada.
Lopez Sénéchal was in Ireland from 2017 to 2018 playing at the North Atlantic Basketball Academy. Most of her life has been spent in France, the place she moved to when she was 5 and where she went to high school. She reps France, but also Mexico, the place she was born, and the state of Connecticut — she attended both Fairfield and UConn. Now she’s headed to Dallas to play for the Wings as the No. 5 pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft.
In France, Lopez Sénéchal was the new kid from Mexico — she didn’t even want to go to France after her parents separated and her dad stayed in Mexico, where she had formed friendships. When she was 8, basketball was introduced and a big part of the reason it became a big part of her life was because it helped her fit in. It was a sport that was new to all the 8-year-olds, so she didn’t feel left out. She learned and got better along with everyone else.
She learned English while playing at the North Atlantic Basketball Academy, a place where her skills on the court got a whole lot better. According to ESPN’s story on her, she was able to compete with the boys at the academy and was actually better than most of them.
She reached out to 280 schools in the U.S. between Divisions I and II. A close relationship with her stepdad helped with that process, as he was the one who helped her put together highlights and emails. It was a brave thing for Lopez Sénéchal to dedicate time to, as she could have ended up disappointed. But she ended up getting D1 offers! She turned down Tulsa, Akron, Duquesne and UMass Lowell, choosing Fairfield.
With the Stags, her scoring average rose from 11.8 to 15.5 to 16.9 to 19.5 and her 3-point percentage rose from 32.8 to 39.2 to 40.7 to 40.9. She finished with 170 treys at a 39.1 percent clip at Fairfield. As a senior, she led Joe Frager’s team to the NCAA Tournament in his last season as the Stags’ head coach. She also won MAAC Player of the Year.
A Player of the Year award in any conference in Division I is a big deal; many star mid-major players are among the best players in the entire country. So it isn’t too surprising that Lopez Sénéchal received offers from big-name schools for her COVID year. But for her it was surreal. She didn’t reach out to any Top 25 basketball schools when she was first looking at colleges because she thought it was too unrealistic. All of sudden, playing at UConn was a reality.
In 2022-23, Lopez Sénéchal averaged 15.5 points as the second-leading scorer on one of the best teams in the country and shot a career-best 44 percent from distance with a career-high 77 makes. The percentage was good for ninth in the country. She showed a much wider audience her ability to drive, shoot and score at all three levels. She is a dream offensive talent.
Lopez Sénéchal went to UConn to increase her chances of playing professionally. She wasn’t expected to be one of the team’s best players, but because she was, that professional career can now take place in the WNBA.