WNBA final roster cuts are brutal every year. But this season they were especially harsh considering that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented all of the draftees from trying out for their teams. And this came after a round of earlier cuts that left out some favorites from the last few years. There are so many great basketball players out of a job right now that is is painful.
What’s even worse is that it won’t be getting better anytime soon. League commissioner Cathy Engelbert said last summer, her fourth day on the job, that the WNBA wouldn’t see expansion teams until its remaining 12 franchises were financially stable. Then came COVID-19, and the indefinite postponement of the season. Even if a partial season is revived, which has yet to be decided, women’s sports are taking a hit – and just when they were gaining momentum.
Further, overseas leagues might be limited or shutdown this coming winter, depending upon the progress of the pandemic. These leagues have been the bread and butter for every cut player, every undrafted athlete who loved the game too much to stop, and for WNBA players who needed to supplement their meager salaries. South Korea and Australia have already said no to foreign players next year. What if others around the world follow? U.S. hoopers would be forced to fall back on their college degrees sooner than anticipated – and in a job market that some have said will be the worst we’ve seen since the Great Depression.
What can be done to create more professional basketball opportunities for women in this country?
Cuts: Elina Babkina, Alaina Coates.
Out for season: Maite Cazorla (elected to sit the 2020 season), Mikayla Pivec (elected to sit the 2020 season), Kobi Thornton (elected to sit the 2020 season).
Cuts: Japreece Dean, Alexis Prince.
Out for season: Kiah Gillespie (personal reasons).
Cuts: Valeriane Ayayi, Jacki Gemelos, Jazmon Gwathmey, Megan Huff, Juicy Landrum.
Katie Lou Samuelson
Cuts: Morgan Bertsch, Kaela Davis, Luisa Geiselsöder, Karlie Samuelson.
Trades: Kristine Anigwe (to Los Angeles Sparks).
Out for season: Imani McGee-Stafford (law school).
Cuts: Jessica January, Paris Kea, Erica McCall, Kamiah Smalls.
Las Vegas Aces
Cuts: Lauren Manis, Raisa Musina, Avery Warley-Talbert.
Out for season: JiSu Park (personal decision).
Los Angeles Sparks
Kristine Anigwe (via trade from Dallas Wings)
Cuts: Tynice Martin, Dominique McBryde, Beatrice Mompremier.
Out for season: Maria Vadeeva (overseas, with plans to rejoin team in 2021), Leonie Fiebich (overseas).
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan
Cuts: Linnae Harper, Erica Ogwumike.
Out for season: Maya Moore (personal), Jessica Shepard (ACL recovery), Odyssey Sims (personal).
New York Liberty
Amanda Zahui B
Cuts: Brittany Boyd, Reshanda Gray, Tayler Hill.
Out for season: Han Xu (overseas), Marine Johannés (overseas), Stephanie Talbot (personal decision).
Cuts: Sara Blicavs, Te’a Cooper, Olivia Epoupa, Stella Johnson.
Out for season: Yvonne Turner (knee injury).
Cuts: Haley Gorecki, Joyner Holmes.
Elena Delle Donne
Cuts: Jaylen Agnew, Rebecca Greenwell, Alecia “Sug” Sutton.