When the Dallas Wings selected Lou Lopez-Senechal with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft, it was a historic moment. Lopez-Senechal became the first Mexican-born player to make it to the WNBA.

Initially, Lopez-Senechal didn't even realize what she had accomplished simply by being drafted. It wasn't until it was pointed out to her that it began to sink in.

“That was something that I didn't even know when it happened,” Lopez-Senechal told ClutchPoints in an exclusive interview. “I felt very proud to represent Mexico knowing that it's a country that deserves to be more developed and grown for basketball. I feel like that's something I would like to do. in my career, the more experience I get, trying to help the community there and help to grow basketball for young players.”

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Lopez-Senechal is Mexican on her father's side and French on her mother's side. She spent most of her childhood in France but also returned to visit Mexico while growing up. She honed her basketball skills while living in France and it was there that she started appearing on the radar of the NCAA.

Lopez-Senechal ended up committing to Fairfield where she played for four seasons before transferring to the University of Connecticut for her final season of college basketball in 2022-23. Now that she's made it to the WNBA with the Wings, she wants to be only the first in a continuing line of players from her home country to achieve their basketball dreams.

“I hope not to be the last one. I've always said that when it's the right time, I really want to try to give back and to try to really be a role model and just give as much as possible in Mexico,” Lopez-Senechal said. “Whether it's doing a camp there, or one day trying to build a court, things like that are on my mind and obviously with time it's possible. I just feel very proud to have the support.”

Lou Lopez-Senechel is recovered from knee injury

Lou Lopez-Senechal poses for a photo with WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being drafted fifth overall by the Dallas Wings during WNBA Draft 2023 at Spring Studio.
Vincent Charchietta-USA TODAY Sports

While Lou Lopez-Senechal was drafted in 2023, she sat out all of last season due to a knee injury. She did not make her Wings debut until this season. But while she was sidelined, she was still around the team soaking up as much as she could. She leaned on her veteran teammates who helped show her the ropes.

By the time the 2024 season rolled around, she already had a strong understanding of what the WNBA game was like. All that remained was to put that knowledge to use on the court in an actual game. Lopez-Senechal's first career minutes came during the Wings season opener against the Chicago Sky. She played five minutes and finished with a single assist.

“It was obviously hard not to be on the court, but it was a good opportunity to just see how the WNBA works,” Lopez-Senechal said. “It's very different from college. To see it from the sidelines and being at every game, I got to see the pace of the game, the intensity and how experienced the players are. . .It was a good opportunity to be in and to try and soak in as much as possible.”

The Wings have been hit with a few injuries this season to key players in Satou Sabally and Natasha Howard, but Lopez-Senechal has largely been out of the rotation. She's appeared in only eight games so far this season at a little over two minutes per game.

She did not score her first career points until this past Thursday during the Wings loss to the Seattle Storm when she knocked down her only three-point shot of the game. She was a prolific wing scorer in college though and a three-point sharpshooter with a career mark of 40.5 percent from distance.

Lopez-Senechal is confident that she can bring those same abilities to the Wings should she get an extended opportunity on the court. In the meantime though, she's continuing to be the most supportive teammate she can be.

“I think I try to bring the positivity in me and just joy to the team. I'm always supporting others, that's what I did a lot of last season. I'm just trying to be there for them.” Lopez-Senechal said. “I can try to bring my shooting abilities and try to be a scorer and aggressive whenever I get the chance. Just trying to get better individually and with the team and really get used to this team as well.”

UConn, Geno Auriemma helped prepare Lou Lopez-Senechal for WNBA

UConn Huskies forward Lou Lopez Senechal (11) shoots against the Baylor Lady Bears in the first half at Harry A. Gampel Pavillion.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Instead of declaring for the WNBA Draft in 2022 as she could have, Lou Lopez-Senechal opted to use her COVID year of extra eligibility. She made the decision to transfer to UConn to play for legendary head coach Geno Auriemma.

Auriemma not only has a track record of building consistent, winning programs at UConn but also for preparing his players for the next level. There are currently 16 former UConn players on WNBA rosters, the most out of any college. South Carolina and Dawn Staley are second in that regard with ten former players in the league.

For Lopez-Senechal, although she only played for Auriemma for one season, that one season played a big role in helping her get ready for the WNBA.

“It was a great year for me. . .I think I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from him, he's one of the best, if not the best. And he's had so many players go into the pros,” Lopez-Senechal said. “Most of his players, once they get to the professional world they know what to do. They have a better sense of the game. He's very good at putting the trust in his players and trying to make them ready for the next level.”

Lou Lopez-Senechal using 2024 season with Wings to continue learning

Lou Lopez-Senechal is under contract with the Wings through the 2025 as part of her rookie scale contract. The Wings hold a team option for 2026 as per Her Hoops Stats. While she hasn't played much this season, she's confident her time will eventually come.

As this season progresses, watching and observing games isn't the only way Lopez-Senechal is staying engaged with the team. She's been assertive and attentive in practice and has used that to help her in terms of continuing to get adjusted to the WNBA. Although she's been cleared to play, she's still trying to shake off the rust and get back up to game speed after knee surgery.

“I just really want to get used to it, whether it's the pace of the game, the intensity, even if it's during practice, just trying to get my rhythm back especially after being injured last year,” Lopez-Senechal said. “It's a different speed, a different pace, I'm just trying to get used to all of that. And obviously winning, that's always been in my mentality, being on a team that's winning. I want to keep doing that and helping my teammates as much as possible to get to that level with whatever my role is. Just keep getting better individually and as a team player.”