Even though the 2020 WNBA season and all organized team activities are on hold for the time being, moves in anticipation for the start of the new year this summer have continued to take place.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Lynx and the rest of the teams in the league officially finalized their roster for the 2020 campaign.
In past years, the 12-player rosters were finalized following training camp and leading up to the regular season, but this year has been different with the season being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tuesday ended up being the deadline agreed upon between the WNBA and the players’ union where teams would have to get their rosters under the salary cap so players could be paid on June 1. Players who are cut by their teams ahead of the upcoming year won’t get paid, but they will still be offered health insurance by the WNBA through the end of June.
Minnesota came out of the 2020 WNBA Draft with a total of 16 players on the roster, meaning four players would have to be removed from that list to reach the 12-player total.
On Tuesday, the final two moves were made when the organization announced forward Jessica Shepard will be placed on the full-seasonn suspended list while guard Odyssey Sims will start the year on the inactive list to bring the roster to 12 players.
Harper originally signed with Minnesota this offseason on a training camp deal. The guard last played for the Chicago Sky in 2018, when she averaged 2.0 points, 1.0 assists and 0.8 rebounds while shooting 40.4 percent in 24 games as a rookie.
Ogwumike, the younger sister of WNBA players Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, was drafted by the New York Liberty in the third round of the 2020 WNBA Draft out of Rice. Shortly after the conclusion of the draft, she was traded to the Lynx in exchange for forward Stephanie Talbot.
The tough thing for Harper and Ogwumike, as is the case for players on every other team in the WNBA as well, is the fact that they were ultimately waived by the team before being able to properly showcase their abilities on the floor in any sort of organized team activity. It’s not an ideal scenario, but that’s the case with many things in the world at the current moment.
For Shepard, who broke into the WNBA prior to the start of the 2019 season after being drafted out of Notre Dame in the second round of the 2019 WNBA Draft, she has continued to battle back from suffering a torn ACL in her right knee in June of last year, an injury that ended her inaugural season in Minnesota after a promising start and will ultimately result in her sitting out the 2020 season as well.
In a total of six games as a rookie, Shepard averaged 4.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 18.7 minutes per game off the bench.
Sims recently gave birth to her first child, Jaiden, in April and has since been working on potentially trying to return to the WNBA this year to take the floor with Minnesota for her second season with the Lynx and seventh in the league. She will start the year off on the inactive list, similar to what happened with Skylar Diggins-Smith in Dallas last year.
According to Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune, Sims will still be able to practice with the team as an inactive player and could be activated at any time. In 2019, Sims appeared in her first-ever WNBA All-Star Game, finishing the season averaging 14.5 points, career-high 5.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and shot 41.5 percent from the field in 31.9 minutes per game and 34 appearances.
There hasn’t been any official announcement so to what the WNBA’s plans are for a potential start of the upcoming regular season, but recent reports have stated the league is focusing on “about a half dozen scenarios” for play to begin this summer. That includes potentially playing at one site, like what will likely be the case for the NBA, among other scenarios.
With the Lynx roster now finalized, here’s a look at the full 12-player list for the regular season: