Just 15 of 36 drafted players appear on WNBA opening day rosters to start the 2023 season. With 144 roster spots available among the 12 teams, a number of college stars were waived before the season began.
Here are five of the most notable rookie free agents, and how they can find themselves in the WNBA in the future.
The Dallas Wings surprised everyone when they opted to take Meyers with the 11th pick on draft night. The guard wasn’t projected to be a first round pick in mock drafts, and while the Wings clearly saw something in Meyers, it wasn’t enough to land her a roster spot.
Meyers shot 38.8% from the 3-point line in her final collegiate season, and the Wings were in search of shooters. Another big strength is her basketball IQ – Meyers transferred to Maryland from Ivy League powerhouse Princeton.
Fit criteria: If Meyers winds up on a roster, expect it to be a team that needs a backup guard or a shooting lift.
Abby makes it look easy 🤯 pic.twitter.com/EddVhl7TZq— Dallas Wings (@DallasWings) May 4, 2023
Abby makes it look easy 🤯 pic.twitter.com/EddVhl7TZq
The Indiana Fever kept three of their five draft picks on roster: Aliyah Boston, Grace Berger and Victaria Saxton. While Mikesell, an Ohio State product, was waived on May 17, the guard likely was an attractive prospect for the Fever because of her shooting abilities.
Mikesell made her mark in college as one of the top 3-point shooters in the country. The 5-11 guard was the best pure shooter in the draft, knocking down 41.4% of her attempts as a senior.
Fit criteria: Mikesell can play spot minutes for a team with dominant bigs that needs shooters to space the floor.
Morris wasn’t on a lot of draft boards until the NCAA Tournament, when her play helped LSU win its first national title. Her 21 points and 9 assists in the championship game over Iowa showed that Morris can perform well under pressure. But after being drafted by the Connecticut Sun, Morris was waived after one preseason game.
Morris is undersized at 5-6, but her ability to score in the midrange helps the LSU product combat the height disadvantage. She is also a good decision maker who can spearhead an offense.
Fit criteria: Any team that finds itself thin at the point guard or shooting guard spot due to injuries may target Morris. Her size is a concern for defense, but she can hold her own on offense.
The Minnesota Lynx kept Diamond Miller (No. 2 pick) and Dorka Juhász (No. 16 pick), but South Carolina’s Beal was waived on May 16. Beal was a key piece for the Gamecocks on their championship team in 2022 and a four-year starter. She’s experienced competing at the highest level college basketball has to offer.
Defense is Beal’s strength, and she often found herself tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best offensive player. At 6-1 with length and strength, she could be called on to do the same in the WNBA
Fit criteria: Beal’s offense is a work in progress – she was a dominant scorer in high school but wasn’t called on to do the same in college – so the team that picks her up will likely have a plethora of scorers. But anyone who needs defense, particularly an on-ball defender, should look to Beal. (Just ask Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley.)
@QueenBrea_1 @dh3nny you know you both belong. Let’s keep getting in the lab and work. I know your representatives are working to get you on another team’s roster. Heads high champs! Love you!!!! @GamecockWBB for life!— dawnstaley (@dawnstaley) May 16, 2023
@QueenBrea_1 @dh3nny you know you both belong. Let’s keep getting in the lab and work. I know your representatives are working to get you on another team’s roster. Heads high champs! Love you!!!! @GamecockWBB for life!
Czinano more than held her own for Iowa, but basketball is changing at the WNBA level. Traditional bigs, unless they have size like the 6-7 Brittney Griner, are going away. Czinano doesn’t have a versatile skill set, which is why she didn’t go until the third round to the Los Angeles Sparks.
Still, the 6-3 post possesses toughness and efficiency around the rim – she made 67.1% of her attempts during a five-year college career.
Fit criteria: Czinano won’t be a primary option in the WNBA, but she can be a backup post on the right team. If she’s picked up, it will likely be with a team that has bigs who can stretch the floor, allowing Czinano to play off them in the paint.