Hiedeman, January away from Sun after positive coronavirus tests

2019 WNBA Finals - Game Five Natisha Hiedeman of the Connecticut Sun will get a late start to the 2020 WNBA season after testing positive for the coronavirus. | Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Each team in the WNBA whittled its roster to the league-mandated 12 players on May 26. Now, courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic and national protests over racial injustice, everything has changed. The Connecticut Sun announced on Sunday that Briann January and Natisha Hiedeman tested positive for the coronavirus but are expected to join the team after a period of self-isolation.

The staying power of the league’s future Hall of Famers and the gaggle of players reaching and thriving in their prime means most 2020 WNBA Draft picks found themselves waived at the May 26 roster finalization deadline. With the coronavirus pandemic wrecking all the leagues’ schedules and forcing basketball to happen at single-site locations under quarantine, some of the WNBA’s biggest stars have opted out of the season amid health concerns.

Others, like Natasha Cloud and Renee Montgomery, have opted out to pursue social justice initiatives.

The 2020 season was scheduled to tip off on May 15. Now, play is slated to begin July 25 from the quarantine bubble of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida — a state where coronavirus cases have spiraled out of control.

A third category of player absenteeism has emerged because of the pandemic: players who tested positive for the coronavirus and are away from their teams but still intend to play. Sydney Colson of the Chicago Sky is on this list, and Natisha Hiedeman and Briann January of the Connecticut Sun have joined her. The Sun announced on Sunday that Hiedeman and January did not travel with the team to Florida. The guards are in self-isolation, according to the Sun, and expected to join the team in Florida after passing two negative tests for the coronavirus.

The vacated roster spots — whether for the whole season or temporarily — give some members of the 2020 draft class who were cut at the deadline a way into the league. Those openings have also allowed some non-rookies who were waived a pathway for return.

Teams arrived at the Bradenton “bubble” on June 6 and tweeted concerns about the cleanliness of the campus. Kayla Johnson tweeted a video she claims came from a player inside the bubble that shows water damage in a laundry area, mold or mildew on window blinds, a visible mousetrap and worms on a carpeted floor.

The next day, on June 7, New York Liberty guard Asia Durr tweeted that her decision to opt out of the 2020 season “as a medical High Risk player” after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in early June and undergoing a battle back to health she described as “complicated and arduous.”

With players potentially displeased with the conditions at IMG and cases of coronavirus in Florida now exploding, more roster shakeups are expected prior to tipoff of the abbreviated 22-game season.

Here’s where the rosters stand currently:


Atlanta Dream

  1. Jaylyn Agnew (replaces Renee Montgomery, who opted out to pursue social justice initiatives)
  2. Monique Billings
  3. Brittany Brewer
  4. Kalani Brown
  5. Chennedy Carter
  6. Blake Dietrick
  7. Betnijah Laney (replaces Tiffany Hayes, who opted out for unspecified reasons)
  8. Glory Johnson
  9. Alexis Jones
  10. Erica McCall+ (“added as emergency medical hardship exception for having fewer than 10 active players”)
  11. Shekinna Stricklen
  12. Courtney Williams
  13. Elizabeth Williams

+After the addition of McCall, the Dream now have 13 women listed on their roster. The team has not made an announcement about players opting out or being excused on medical grounds since June 23, when it was revealed Tiffany Hayes would miss the season.


Chicago Sky

  1. Sydney Colson (diagnosed with the coronavirus/still on roster)
  2. Kahleah Copper
  3. Diamond DeShields
  4. Stefanie Dolson
  5. Ruthy Hebard
  6. Stella Johnson (added following Colson’s diagnosis)
  7. Jantel Lavender (out for season following surgery to repair foot fracture)
  8. Cheyenne Parker
  9. Allie Quigley
  10. Azurá Stevens
  11. Courtney Vandersloot
  12. Gabby Williams

Connecticut Sun

  1. DeWanna Bonner
  2. Kaila Charles
  3. Jacki Gemelos
  4. Natisha Hiedeman*
  5. Bria Holmes
  6. Briann January*
  7. Beatrice Mompremier (replaces Jonquel Jones, who opted out over coronavirus concerns)
  8. Brionna Jones
  9. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
  10. Theresa Plaisance
  11. Alyssa Thomas
  12. Jasmine Thomas

*The Sun announced that Briann January and Natisha Hiedeman did not travel with the team to the Bradenton, FL, “bubble” after testing positive for the coronavirus and entering self-isolation. The players are expected to join the team after clearing two negative tests for the virus.


Dallas Wings

  1. Bella Alarie
  2. Allisha Gray
  3. Megan Gustafson
  4. Tyasha Harris
  5. Isabella Harrison
  6. Moriah Jefferson
  7. Marina Mabrey
  8. Astou Ndour
  9. Arike Ogunbowale
  10. Satou Sabally
  11. Katie Lou Samuelson
  12. Kayla Thornton

Indiana Fever

  1. Natalie Achonwa
  2. Julie Allemand
  3. Kennedy Burke
  4. Lauren Cox
  5. Kathleen Doyle
  6. Candice Dupree
  7. Stephanie Mavunga (rejoins active roster to replace Betnijah Laney, who was released to the Dream)
  8. Teaira McCowan
  9. Kelsey Mitchell
  10. Tiffany Mitchell
  11. Victoria Vivians
  12. Erica Wheeler

Las Vegas Aces

  1. Lindsay Allen
  2. Alex Bentley (signed to replace Kelsey Plum, who is out for season with torn Achilles))
  3. Dearica Hamby
  4. Kayla McBride
  5. Angel McCoughtry
  6. Danielle Robinson
  7. Sugar Rodgers
  8. Carolyn Swords
  9. Avery Warley-Talbot (replaces Liz Cambage, who is not expected to play due to coronavirus concerns)
  10. A’ja Wilson
  11. Jackie Young

Los Angeles Sparks

  1. Kristine Anigwe
  2. Seimone Augustus
  3. Te’a Cooper (replaces Kristi Toliver, who opted out of the season over coronavirus concerns)
  4. Chelsea Gray
  5. Reshanda Gray (replaces Chiney Ogwumike, who opted out of the season over coronavirus concerns)
  6. Marie Gülich
  7. Nneka Ogwumike
  8. Candace Parker
  9. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt
  10. Brittney Sykes
  11. Sydney Wiese
  12. Riquna Williams

Minnesota Lynx

  1. Kayla Alexander
  2. Rachel Banham
  3. Lexie Brown
  4. Bridget Carlton
  5. Karima Christmas-Kelly
  6. Napheesa Collier
  7. Crystal Dangerfield
  8. Damiris Dantas
  9. Sylvia Fowles
  10. Mikiah Herbert Harrigan
  11. Megan Huff (replaces Cecilia Zandalasini, who has opted out over coronavirus concerns)
  12. Shenise Johnson

New York Liberty

  1. Layshia Clarendon
  2. Asia Durr (opted out after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and still recovering)
  3. Sabrina Ionescu
  4. Jazmine Jones
  5. Joyner Holmes (replaces Rebecca Allen, who opted out of the season over coronavirus concerns)
  6. Kia Nurse
  7. Leaonna Odom
  8. Kylee Shook
  9. Kiah Stokes
  10. Megan Walker*
  11. Jocelyn Willoughby
  12. Amanda Zahui B

*The Liberty announced that Megan Walker did not travel with the team to the Bradenton, FL, “bubble” after testing positive for the coronavirus and entering self-isolation. The team expects Walker to eventually join them and passed along a message from the rookie: WEAR A MASK. PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING.


Phoenix Mercury

  1. Jessica Breland (medically excused due to effects of chemotherapy)
  2. Nia Coffey
  3. Sophie Cunningham
  4. Skylar Diggins-Smith
  5. Brittney Griner
  6. Bria Hartley
  7. Alanna Smith
  8. Diana Taurasi
  9. Brianna Turner
  10. Kia Vaughn
  11. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough

Penny Taylor has stepped away from her role as assistant coach to become a full-time mom. Chasity Melvin replaces her.


Seattle Storm

  1. Sue Bird
  2. Jordin Canada
  3. Alysha Clark
  4. Natasha Howard
  5. Crystal Langhorne
  6. Jewell Loyd
  7. Ezi Magbegor
  8. Epiphanny Prince
  9. Mercedes Russell
  10. Breanna Stewart
  11. Morgan Tuck
  12. Sami Whitcomb

Storm head coach Dan Hughes, who battled cancer last year, will miss the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Washington Mystic

  1. Ariel Atkins
  2. Tina Charles
  3. Alaina Coates (replaces LaToya Sanders, who opted out of the season over coronavirus concerns)
  4. Elena Delle Donne
  5. Tianna Hawkins
  6. Myisha Hines-Allen
  7. Kiara Leslie
  8. Leilani Mitchell
  9. Emma Meesseman
  10. Shay Peddy (replaces Natasha Cloud, who opted out of the season to pursue social justice initiatives)
  11. Aerial Powers

This is a developing story. Updates will be provided as new information becomes available.