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WNBA Teams Drop Rosters, Cut Players Before Season Tip-Off

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever looks on from the bench while playing the Dallas Wings during a pre season game
With a standout rookie class, competition for a WNBA roster spot has never been fiercer. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

With the 2024 WNBA season set to tip off on Tuesday, teams from around the league have issued their final rosters. 

While some big name players were subject to cuts, a few repeat bubble players were able to make their respective teams while a couple of surprise rookies also found their way onto opening-day squads. Here's everything you need to know about the each WNBA team's permanent roster, from training day waivers and draftee futures to projected season shakeouts.

Atlanta Dream

The Dream made some interesting offseason moves, adding seasoned post-scorer and 2012 WNBA MVP Tina Charles in an attempt to build on an impressive 2023 run that saw Atlanta through to the playoffs for the first time since 2018. On the flip side, the Dream cut all three of their rookies — Khadijiah Cave, Taja Cole, Elizabeth Balogun — along with training camp recruits Khaalia Hillsman and South Carolina grad Destanni Henderson.

Check out the final roster here.

Chicago Sky

The Chicago Sky have undergone something of a roster overhaul this offseason, kicked off by Kahleah Copper's trade to Phoenix. Newly minted head coach Teresa Weatherspoon’s first season at the helm will be led by Diamond DeShields, as well as star rookies Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso, currently sidelined with a shoulder injury

Former No. 4 pick Kysre Gondrezick made the Sky roster this year, while Chennedy Carter also found a landing spot in Chicago. 

Check out the final roster here.

Connecticut Sun

Just six players from the 2023 season have made their way back onto the Sun’s 2024 roster, including 2023 All-WNBA First Team member Alyssa Thomas. While there aren’t any rookies on this roster, Queen Egbo joins the Sun for the first time and alongside Olivia Nelson-Ododa, promises an interesting dynamic on the court. 

Check out the final roster here.

Indiana Fever

The Indiana Fever are carrying 13 players on their roster, with Damiris Dantas’ contract suspended as a result of injury. Headlined by Kelsey Mitchell, Aliyah Boston, and rookie phenom Caitlin Clark, Indiana is betting on their mix of veteran and young players as the team looks to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017. 

Check out the final roster here.

New York Liberty

2023 WNBA Finals contenders took their time whittling down their roster on Monday, announcing the final lineup two minutes after the league's 5 PM ET deadline. The result is a refreshed bench designed to fuel their road back to the offseason, balancing experience and star power (Vandersloot, Ionescu, Jones, Stewart, Laney-Hamilton) with some rookie ingenuity by way of 2024 11th overall pick Marquesha Davis.

Check out the final roster here.

Washington Mystics

Washington is entering a new era after losing stars Natasha Cloud and Elena Delle Donne and taking UConn standout Aaliyah Edwards No. 6 overall in the 2024 draft. Edwards will have her shot at returning to the playoffs with the Mystics, making the roster alongside 2022 draft pick Shakira Austin and proven contributors Brittney Sykes and Ariel Atkins. Also of note, former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year with Baylor DiDi Richards, who's back in the league after being cut by the Liberty in 2023.

Check out the final roster here.

Dallas Wings

The Dallas Wings are coming off of a solid 2023 season and are poised to enter 2024 with a lot of buzz. Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally head up a strong rookie class that includes Ohio State leader Jacy Sheldon and undrafted surprise hit Jaelyn Brown. Lou Lopez Sénéchal will also see playing time this season after spending last year out with an injury.

One notable absence is Victoria Brown, who was cut by the team on Sunday.

Check out the final roster here.

Las Vegas Aces

The 2024 WNBA champs are going for the three-peat this year, arming themselves with an arsenal of veteran talent in the face of Candace Parker's unexpected retirement. Two-time league MVP A'ja Wilson leads a pack that spans the likes of Kelsey Plum, Kiah Stokes, and Syd Colson while draftees Dyaisha Fair (Syracuse) and Kate Martin (Iowa) can finally breathe easy after officially making the cut.

Check out the final roster here.

Los Angels Sparks

With high-profile draftees Stanford's Cameron Brink and Tennessee's Rickea Jackson both securing their spots on the final roster, the well-balanced Sparks are looking to drum up chemistry between the young recruits and longtime power players like Dearica Hamby.

Check out the final roster here.

Minnesota Lynx

Versatility is the name of the game in Minnesota, where the Lynx look to dominate the frontcourt with the likes of Napheesa Collier, Diamond Miller, and Alanna Smith. Guard Courtney Williams has also made herself known in preseason action, while No. 8 overall draft pick Alissa Pili (Utah) survived a tough slate of cuts that showed third-round pick Kiki Jefferson (Louisville) and 2021 WNBA champ Ruthy Hebard the door.

Check out the final roster here.

Phoenix Mercury

The Mercury acquired some major players this offseason, adding Natasha Cloud and Kahleah Copper to a squad that already lists trusted vets Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi in a bid to right Phoenix's 9-31 2023 record. The rookies didn't have an easy go of it, however, with 2024 third-round picks Charisma Osborne out of UCLA and Jaz Shelley out of Nebraska joining former CU Buffs star Mya Hollingshed on the cuts list.

Check out the final roster here.

Seattle Storm

A revamped Storm aims to reclaim their place in the postseason this year, pairing league stars Skylar Diggins-Smith and Nneke Ogwumike with starting guard Jewell Lloyd in an effort to put points on the board from the jump. UConn alum Nika MĂĽhl, considered somewhat of a bubble player after going No. 14 overall in the 2024 WNBA Draft, is officially sticking around, while fellow rookie Quay Miller (Colorado) failed to make the opening-day lineup.

Check out the final roster here.

2023 MVP Breanna Stewart Drops 31 Points in Liberty’s Huge Win Over Fever

breanna stewart and jonquel jones of the new york liberty celebrate win over indiana fever
Stewie and the Liberty dominated the court throughout Thursday's Fever home opener. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The New York Liberty dominated Indiana on Thursday night, winning by a whopping 36 points in the Fever's home opener. 

A sold-out crowd of 17,274 was in attendance to watch as star rookie Caitlin Clark finished the 102-66 defeat with nine points, seven rebounds, and six assists. It’s the first time since January 2021 — her freshman season at Iowa — that Clark's been held to single-digit scoring. 

"The physicality is definitely up there... I'm easily pushed off screens," she told reporters after the loss. "The game seems a little fast for me right now. The more I play and the more comfortable I get, it's going to slow down a little bit. It will be easier for me to make reads, see things develop."

The Fever were outscored by a combined margin of 57 points in their first two games — the largest two-game point deficit in WNBA season-opening history, according to @ESPNStatsInfo.

"We've got to get to a level of toughness," Fever coach Christie Sides in her own postgame remarks. "When things are going south on us, we're not stopping the bleeding."

"I have great perspective on everything that happens," Clark added. "It was the same in my college career. There were some moments that were absolutely amazing. And there were some moments I was not happy with how I played and how my team performed. That's just life, that's just basketball."

Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu, who herself experienced a rocky rookie season following a much-hyped college career, offered up some insight on the matter.

"In this league, there are tough defenses all centered around not letting you get the ball, trapping, not letting you score," Ionescu said. "There were many factors that played into what was a tough first season for me in the league, but it helps you be able to figure it out. You have to have those experiences."

But it was reigning league MVP Breanna Stewart that truly stole the show, racking up 31 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks on the night.

"In general, I just wanted to come out more aggressive coming off of last game," Stewart said after putting up the 24th 30-point game in her career.

Stewart she also commended the fans inside Indianapolis's packed Gainbridge Fieldhouse, noting that she hopes that level of support to continue across the WNBA.

"This is how you want every game to be and when it's a sell-out crowd, it gives you a similar playoff atmosphere feel," she said. "People want to be a part of this and the thing now is to continue to sustain it, continue to take the momentum that we have and turn it into something more."

WNBA Commissioner Admits to ‘Faulty’ Charter Rollout

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert at 2024 wnba draft
Cathy Engelbert at the 2024 WNBA Draft in New York. (Cora Veltman/Sportico via Getty Images)

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert admitted to a "faulty rollout" of the new charter travel initiative on Thursday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Ahead of Tuesday's season opener, it was announced that the only teams flying private this week would be Indiana and Minnesota. The announcement came mere days after the league made a new charter flight program for all WNBA teams public. At the time, they said it would be implemented "as soon as we have the planes."

But as two teams out of 12 chartered to their first games of the season, others like the Atlanta Dream and Chicago Sky were forced to fly commercial.

A town hall meeting between Engelbert and the players was held in response to the confusion. Everything from the league's new media rights deal to private travel was covered in the meeting, with players submitting their questions ahead of time. Sky center Elizabeth Williams told Sun-Times reporter Annie Costabile afterwards that cross-country flights were prioritized.

"Flights that are across the country like [the Lynx] going to Seattle, crossing multiple time zones, or flights that usually require a connection, those were the priorities," Williams said. "That’s why New York didn’t go to DC with a charter, but Minny goes to Seattle."

What’s unclear under that metric is that the Atlanta Dream played the Los Angeles Sparks on Wednesday, which could technically be classified as a cross-country flight. 

On Tuesday, rookie forward Angel Reese shared a photo on her Instagram story lamenting the league's use of commercial flights.

"Just praying that this is one of the last commercial flights the Sky has to fly," Reese posted. The team still has at least three commercial flights awaiting them in the near future.

"Obviously, I think all teams should be able to get chartered," Reese told the Sun-Times. "But I know moving forward... going in the right direction, being able to have some teams [chartering] is cool. Within the next weeks, everybody will be flying charter, which will be really good."

On Thursday, Lindsay Schnell of USAToday Sports confirmed that the league intends to have all teams on charter flights by May 21st.

Brazil Wins Bid for 2027 Women’s World Cup Host

fifa womens world cup trophy on display
The FIFA Women's World Cup trophy on display in Bangkok after Brazil was announced as the 2027 host country. (Thananuwat Srirasant - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Brazil has been named the host for the 2027 Women’s World Cup, with FIFA announced early Friday. 

The decision came after a vote at the 74th FIFA Congress in Bangkok, with Brazil earning 119 votes to the joint European bid’s 78. 

This will be Brazil’s first time hosting the Women’s World Cup, with the country having hosted the men’s World Cup twice before in 1950 and 2014. It will also be the first Women’s World Cup held in South America. The tournament will follow the same 32-team format as the 2023 WWC in Australia and New Zealand.

Brazil winning the bid was not entirely surprising after FIFA issued a report just last week, stating that the Brazilian bid had pulled ahead as host following technical inspection. After evaluation, Brazil was given a score of 4.0 out of 5, compared to the 3.7 awarded to the Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Brazil ranked higher in a number of key areas, including stadiums, accommodations, fan zones, and transport infrastructure. Though considered to be a frontrunner, the US and Mexico withdrew their joint bid prior to the technical inspection period, saying they would instead focus their efforts on 2031.

On Friday, Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Ednaldo Rodrigues called it a "victory." 

"We knew we would be celebrating a victory for South American women's soccer and for women," he told reporters. "You can be sure, with no vanity, we will accomplish the best World Cup for women."

"We are working on a transformation, not only for the country but for the continent," added bid team operational manager Valesca Araujo.

Brazil intends to use 10 of the venues utilized at the 2014 men’s World Cup, including holding the final in Rio de Janeiro on July 25th. The CBF's proposal outlines that the 2027 tournament run from June 24th through the end of July. Last summer’s World Cup began at the end of July and concluded on August 19th.

Another notable element of Brazil's newly unveiled plan to grow of the women’s game is that "all [men’s] clubs wishing to take part in high-level national and continental competitions must now provide a structure for a women’s team." While the definition of "structure" was not specifically identified, the country has set targets with CONMEBOL to help increase the number of women’s club teams in the country.

In last week's inspection findings, FIFA noted that selecting Brazil as the next WWC host could "have a tremendous impact on women's football in the region."

Chelsea Eyes Weekend Finale With WSL Title in Sight

chelsea players celebrate win against tottenham in the wsl
Chelsea beat Tottenham on Wednesday, moving to the top of the table in an effort to win departing coach Emma Hayes some silverware. (John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Chelsea did what they needed to do on Wednesday in order to make Saturday's slate of season-ending WSL fixtures interesting: Beat Tottenham.

The Blues are now number one in the league, with an edge over Manchester City on goal differential thanks to an eight-goal outing against Bristol City last week. 

Yesterday's result tees up a league finale for the books as Chelsea looks to send coach Emma Hayes off with another trophy to add to her cabinet. The Blues will play FA Cup winner Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday, while City is away at Aston Villa.

"We will be leaving nothing on the pitch, we will be giving everything and no matter what the result is," Chelsea midfielder Erin Cuthbert said after Wednesday's win. "At least we can look each other in the eye and say we gave everything."

It makes for a thrilling end to Chelsea's Emma Hayes era, as the decorated WSL coach will take over the USWNT in June. And it comes after Hayes all but conceded the title race early this month after Chelsea fell to Liverpool 4-3.

"I think the title is done," Hayes said at the time. "Of course, mathematically, it's not, but I think the title is done. Our job between now and the end of the season is to keep pushing until the end, but I think it will be very difficult.

"We will never give up. But the title is far from us; it's not in our hands. I think City are deserving, their consistency has put them in that position. Of course, we will go to the end, but I don't think the title will be going to us this year."

Be it mind games or Hayes truly thinking her team was that far off, her words lit something in Chelsea. Their following two performances showed the team’s determination to have a shot at some silverware.

As for Saturday's schedule, Hayes believes her team is facing the "tougher of the two games."

"It's a fitting finale for me, being my final game," she told BBC Sport. "As I said to the players if someone gives you a second chance in life, make sure you don't need a third one. We're in the position we want to be in, and we'll give it everything on Saturday no matter what."

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