Agnew gets second chance at hard-to-get WNBA roster spot

Creighton v Georgetown

Jaylyn Agnew was the 2020 Big East Player of the Year. | Photo courtesy of Creighton Athletics

Selected 24th overall in the 2020 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics, Agnew was cut at the roster finalization deadline. She joins fellow 2020 draftee Beatrice Mompremier in getting a second chance at a hard-to-get WNBA roster spot.

From the last pick of the second round by the Washington Mystics in the 2020 WNBA Draft to a roster spot with the Atlanta Dream, Jaylyn Agnew’s WNBA journey just became more interesting. The 5-foot-11 forward out of Creighton was named the 2020 Big East Player of the year as a redshirt senior. She averaged 20.8 points per game and scored a Big East-best 20 or more points in 13 games. Agnew had four 30-point games for the Bluejays and led the nation in free throws, making 76 of 80 attempts.

“I believe Jaylyn is the ultimate sleeper, and we were prepared to draft her before Washington beat us to the punch,” Dream head coach Nicki Collen said. “I have had the opportunity to follow her career from when she was first playing club basketball in high school all the way to seeing her earn BIG EAST Player of the Year and earning a Master’s Degree from Creighton. She is an effortless shooter, with a quick release, and has the quickness to keep defenders honest off the bounce.”

“We will need her three-point shooting to replace what we lost in Renee Montgomery,” Collen added. “At 6-0, she has the length and athleticism to defend multiple positions effectively and takes great pride in it. I am thrilled to have her join the Dream family.”

Renee Montgomery announced last week a decision to opt out of the 2020 season to pursue criminal justice reform. On Tuesday, Tiffany Hayes announced that she also will skip the season but did not specify whether her reasons concern the COVID-19 pandemic or social justice issues.

To fill the void left by Hayes, the Dream also announced on Wednesday the signing Betnijah Laney who last played for the Indiana Fever.

Agnew joins fellow 2020 draft pick Beatrice Mompremier in seizing an opportunity in the highly-competitive WNBA after being cut at the roster finalization deadline. On Tuesday, the Connecticut Sun announced the signing of Mompremier — the 20th overall selection by the Los Angeles Sparks in this year’s draft.

With Jonquel Jones opting out of the 2020 season due to concerns over COVID-19, the Connecticut Sun need a strong presence in the paint and Mompremier appears ready to provide it.

Mompremier, a 6-foot-4 forward, played two years of her collegiate career with the Baylor Lady Bears and finished it with the Miami Hurricanes. At Miami, she recorded 34 double-doubles, scored in double figures in 45 games and grabbed double-digit boards in 35. Mompremier averaged 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game as a senior and 16.7 points and 12.2 rebounds as a junior.

“We are excited to add Beatrice to our Sun roster,” head coach Curt Miller said. “She is a young and talented post player with a high ceiling. Beatrice is a proven collegiate rebounder and crafty scorer who will have the ability to contribute during her rookie season.”​

With the coronavirus pandemic reducing the 2020 season to 22 regular-season games to be played at a single-site location, IMG Academy in Florida, Mompremier — a finalist for the 2020 Lisa Leslie Award — will be playing near her hometown of Miami.

Washington Mystics star Natasha Cloud (social justice reform) and LaToya Sanders (health concerns) joined Jones on Monday in opting out. As more WNBA stars announce decisions to forego the season, other draftees who couldn’t claim a roster spot before could find themselves presented with opportunities now.