Kelsey Mitchell, Lexie Brown lead AU Basketball’s 44-player roster

Kelsey Mitchell is one of 44 players who will play in the inaugural season of AU basketball. (David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Athletes Unlimited has confirmed the 44-player roster for its inaugural basketball season, with Kelsey Mitchell, Lexie Brown and Mercedes Russell among the final additions. The season is set to tip off Jan. 26 in Las Vegas.

Mitchell, the Indiana Fever’s leading scorer last season, earned a spot on the All-Rookie Team after being selected No. 2 overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft. Since then, she’s continued to elevate her game, finishing among the WNBA’s top-10 scorers each of the last two seasons. Before turning pro, the guard had a prolific career at Ohio State, graduating with the second-highest points (3,402) and most 3-pointers made (497) in NCAA history.

“I am honored and thrilled to be part of Athletes Unlimited’s inaugural basketball season,” Mitchell said. “AU offers women another opportunity to play professional basketball in the United States and will provide national television exposure that will help us grow the game we love to play.”

Brown and Russell join the league with a combined three WNBA titles in the last four years. Brown is a member of the 2021 WNBA champion Chicago Sky, while Russell won championships with the Seattle Storm in 2018 and 2020. AU players Essence Carson, Natasha Cloud and Jantel Lavender have also won WNBA championships.

“Athletes Unlimited is another great stage to showcase professional women’s basketball here in the United States and I cannot wait to compete both with and against so many talented players on a weekly basis during our inaugural season in Las Vegas starting January 26,” Brown said.

Imani McGee-Stafford announced her inclusion on the roster over the weekend. The 27-year-old center played four seasons in the WNBA from 2016-19 before taking the last two years off to attend law school.

The 31 players added to the roster on Tuesday join 10 who were previously announced, notably Courtney Williams and WNBA veterans Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and Carson.

Four players earned spots through the open tryouts in Atlanta in December. Becca Wann-Taylor will get an opportunity out of the University of Richmond, where she was a two-sport athlete in basketball and soccer. Joining her are Taj Cole, Briahanna Jackson and Takola Larry.

“We are very pleased with the diverse and dynamic Athletes Unlimited Basketball roster for our inaugural season,” said AU Director of Basketball Kristen Miles. “True to our intentions from the beginning, we are providing an additional opportunity for women to play professional basketball in the U.S., whether on a current roster or not. A whole new breed of women’s pro hoops is soon to be unleashed on Las Vegas, and these incredible athletes will surely make for a historic first season that can’t be missed.”

AU players Lavender and Tianna Hawkins will also serve on the player executive committee as the fourth and fifth members alongside Cloud, Sydney Colson and Ty Young.

The four-week basketball season runs from Jan. 26 to Feb. 26.

Full roster

  • Ciara Andrews, G
  • Antoinette Bannister, G/F
  • Kalani Brown, C
  • Lexie Brown, G
  • Kirby Burkholder, G
  • Marjorie Butler, G
  • DiJonai Carrington, G/F
  • Essence Carson, G
  • Brittany Carter, G/F
  • Natasha Cloud, G
  • Taj Cole, G
  • Sydney Colson, G
  • Drew Edelman, F
  • Nikki Greene, C
  • Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, F
  • Rebecca Harris, G
  • Isabelle Harrison, F
  • Tianna Hawkins, F
  • Ariel Hearn, G
  • Grace Hunter, G
  • Briahanna Jackson, G
  • Meme Jackson, G/F
  • Tyce Knox, G
  • Jessica Kuster, F
  • Takoia Larry, F
  • Jantel Lavender, F
  • Akela Maize, C
  • Lauren Manis, F
  • Danielle L. McCray, G/F
  • Danielle M. McCray, F
  • Imani McGee-Stafford
  • Laurin Mincy, G
  • Kelsey Mitchell, G
  • Chelsea Phillips, F
  • Toccara Ross, F
  • Tina Roy, G
  • Mercedes Russell, C
  • Odyssey Sims, G
  • Antoinette Thompson, G
  • Destinee Walker, G
  • Becca Wann-Tayor, G/F
  • Courtney Williams, G
  • Dominique Wilson, G
  • Ty Young, G/F