WNBA rosters are final and Kaila Charles is a second-round rarity

Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament - Championship Kaila Charles is a rare second-round pick in the 2020 draft to make an opening-day roster. | Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

The WNBA’s 12 teams have whittled their rosters to the league-required maximum of 12 players. In a league abounding with talent and no training camp for the draftees to prove their pro-ready mettle, only 16 of the 36 women selected in this year’s draft made the cut. But this isn’t exactly new for the ultra-competitive WNBA.

The defending champion Washington Mystics announced on Sunday their decision to waive Jaylen Agnew and Alecia “Sug” Sutton in pursuit of the May 26 roster finalization deadline by which the WNBA’s 12 teams must whittle their rosters to a maximum 12 players.

For 24th overall pick Agnew and 36th overall pick Sutton, it was a case of “last one in, first one out.”

Additionally for Agnew, Sutton, Erica Ogwumike (26th overall pick), who was waived on Sunday by the Minnesota Lynx, the roster-cut deadline is especially painful this year. Due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, they and the 33 other selections in the 2020 WNBA Draft did not benefit from the opportunity to earn a roster spot through team training camps.

The result: A lot elite players who didn’t make an opening-day roster.

The painful cuts cannot be blamed solely on the absence of training camps this year. With just 144 total roster spots available, competition is fierce every year, and increasingly so in recent times. The talent emerging from the collegiate ranks has never had more depth and Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, both closer in age to 40 than 35, are redefining the term “career longevity,” with other veteran players also sporting proud membership to that club.

Without the benefit of training camp, the 2020 WNBA Draft picks didn’t have a chance to prove their pro-ready mettle and, therefore, didn’t stand much of a chance to make a team.

Kaila Charles, selected 23rd overall, made the Connecticut Sun roster, and she is a second-round rarity for doing so. Players above her and below her on the draft board — those selected by teams rich in veteran, future Hall of Fame talent and players in their prime — didn’t fare so well.

The top-17 draft picks — No. 1 Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty) through No. 17 Brittany Brewer (Atlanta Dream) — were safe. But No. 18 Te’a Cooper, who’d captained Baylor toward an NCAA Tournament title defense, was cut by the Phoenix Mercury who proceeded to forego the services its other draft pick — Rider Broncs star Stella Johnson, who was selected 29th overall.

Also not making the cut from the draft’s second round are No. 19 Joyner Holmes (Texas/cut by Seattle Storm), No. 20 Beatrice Mompremier (Miami/cut by Los Angeles Sparks), No. 21. Luisa Geiselsöder (Germany/cut by Dallas Wings) and Agnew.

And the 2020 season gets zero representation from the draft’s third round — from No. 25 Michaela Pivec of Oregon State, who elected to sit this season with hopes of competing for a roster spot with the Dream in 2021, to No. 36 Sutton. Between Pivec and Sutton are collegiate standouts such as No. 30 Japreece Dean (UCLA/cut by Chicago Sky), No. 31 Haley Gorecki (Duke/cut by Storm, No. 32 Kiah Gillespie (Florida State/cut by Sky) and No. 35 Juicy Landrum (Baylor/cut by Sun).

Cierra Dillard — a star at Buffalo who was drafted 20th overall in 2019 — was waived by the Lynx and Sparks prior to the start of the 2019 season. With no roster spot open to her, she went on to play professionally in Spain and, like many others, still seeks a turn in the WNBA. In an interview last year, Dillard suggested the league allow teams to “... have an extended roster through, maybe June 15.”

Allowing 15 women on each roster, for example, even if for a temporarily extended period, would give more of the elite athletes vying for WNBA glory opportunities to succeed. Additionally, coaches and general managers would have more material and time with which to assess players and make decisions.

But this is 2020. The roster limit is 12 players. The number of teams in the WNBA is 12.

The roughly 144 women who made the cut:


Atlanta Dream

  1. Monique Billings
  2. Brittany Brewer
  3. Kalani Brown
  4. Chennedy Carter
  5. Blake Dietrick
  6. Tiffany Hayes
  7. Glory Johnson
  8. Alexis Jones
  9. Renee Montgomery
  10. Shekinna Stricklen
  11. Courtney Williams
  12. Elizabeth Williams

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).


Chicago Sky

  1. Sydney Colson
  2. Kahleah Copper
  3. Diamond DeShields
  4. Stefanie Dolson
  5. Ruthy Hebard
  6. Jantel Lavender
  7. Cheyenne Parker
  8. Allie Quigley
  9. Azurá Stevens
  10. Courtney Vandersloot
  11. Gabby Williams

Cuts: Japreece Dean, Alexis Prince.

Out for season: Kiah Gillespie (personal reasons).


Connecticut Sun

  1. DeWanna Bonner
  2. Kaila Charles
  3. Natisha Hiedeman
  4. Bria Holmes
  5. Briann January
  6. Jonquel Jones
  7. Brionna Jones
  8. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
  9. Theresa Plaisance
  10. Alyssa Thomas
  11. Jasmine Thomas

Cuts: Valeriane Ayayi, Jacki Gemelos, Jazmon Gwathmey, Megan Huff, Juicy Landrum.


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

Cuts: Morgan Bertsch, Kaela Davis, Luisa Geiselsöder, Karlie Samuelson.

Trades: Kristine Anigwe (to Los Angeles Sparks).

Out for season: Imani McGee-Stafford (law school).


Indiana Fever

  1. Natalie Achonwa
  2. Julie Allemand
  3. Kennedy Burke
  4. Lauren Cox
  5. Kathleen Doyle
  6. Candice Dupree
  7. Betnijah Laney
  8. Teaira McCowan
  9. Kelsey Mitchell
  10. Tiffany Mitchell
  11. Victoria Vivians
  12. Erica Wheeler

Cuts: Jessica January, Paris Kea, Erica McCall, Kamiah Smalls.

Out for season: Stephanie Mavunga (knee rehab/not yet confirmed by team).


Las Vegas Aces

  1. Lindsay Allen
  2. Liz Cambage
  3. Dearica Hamby
  4. Kayla McBride
  5. Angel McCoughtry
  6. Kelsey Plum
  7. Danielle Robinson
  8. Sugar Rodgers
  9. Carolyn Swords
  10. A’ja Wilson
  11. Jackie Young

Cuts: Lauren Manis, Raisa Musina, Avery Warley-Talbert.

Out for season: JiSu Park (personal decision).


Los Angeles Sparks

  1. Kristine Anigwe (via trade from Dallas Wings)
  2. Seimone Augustus
  3. Chelsea Gray
  4. Marie Gülich
  5. Chiney Ogwumike
  6. Nneka Ogwumike
  7. Candace Parker
  8. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt
  9. Brittney Sykes
  10. Kristi Toliver
  11. Sydney Wiese
  12. Riquna Williams

Cuts: Tynice Martin, Dominique McBryde, Beatrice Mompremier.

Out for season: Maria Vadeeva (overseas, with plans to rejoin team in 2021), Leonie Fiebich (overseas).


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. Shenise Johnson
  12. Cecilia Zandalasini

Cuts: Linnae Harper, Erica Ogwumike.

Out for season: Maya Moore (personal), Jessica Shepard (ACL recovery), Odyssey Sims (personal).


New York Liberty

  1. Rebecca Allen
  2. Layshia Clarendon
  3. Asia Durr
  4. Sabrina Ionescu
  5. Jazmine Jones
  6. Kia Nurse
  7. Leaonna Odom
  8. Kylee Shook
  9. Kiah Stokes
  10. Megan Walker
  11. Jocelyn Willoughby
  12. Amanda Zahui B

Cuts: Brittany Boyd, Reshanda Gray, Tayler Hill.

Out for season: Han Xu (overseas), Marine Johannés (overseas), Stephanie Talbot (personal decision).


Phoenix Mercury

  1. Jessica Breland
  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

Cuts: Sara Blicavs, Te’a Cooper, Olivia Epoupa, Stella Johnson.

Out for season: Yvonne Turner (knee injury).


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

Cuts: Haley Gorecki, Joyner Holmes.

Out for season: Kitija Laksa (overseas).


Washington Mystic

  1. Ariel Atkins
  2. Tina Charles
  3. Natasha Cloud
  4. Elena Delle Donne
  5. Tianna Hawkins
  6. Myisha Hines-Allen
  7. Kiara Leslie
  8. Leilani Mitchell
  9. Emma Meesseman
  10. Aerial Powers
  11. LaToya Sanders

Cuts: Jaylen Agnew, Rebecca Greenwell, Alecia “Sug” Sutton.

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