The Lynx tried to find a way to keep 12 players on their roster. Coach Cheryl Reeve talked about wanting to do so after practice both Thursday and Friday.
Ultimately, the team could not make it work.
As a result, forward Shao Ting — the captain of the Chinese national team, who had been productive both in training camp and in two preseason games — was waived.
That means two rookies — guard Alexis Jones, the team’s first-round draft pick in April, and forward/center Temi Fagbenle — will round out the roster. The Lynx begin the WNBA regular season Sunday against Chicago at Xcel Energy Center.
Ting averaged 17 minutes, 8.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in two preseason games. She was attempting to become the fifth Chinese woman to make a WNBA roster and the first since center Chen Nan appeared in 26 games for Chicago in 2009. The others are Miao Lijie and Sui Feifei, who both played for the Sacramento Monarchs, and Zheng Haixia, who played for the Los Angeles Sparks in 1997 and 1998.
Fagbenle, who took last season off to finish her graduate degree at Southern California, fills a need as a backup big. While still relatively raw — she didn’t start playing basketball until she was 14 years old — the Lynx like her upside. She averaged 9.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in the preseason. Jones averaged 9.5 points and 3.0 assists.
The Lynx 11-player roster includes starters Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles, Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson. Renee Montgomery and Jia Perkins are the top reserve guards and Natasha Howard and Plenette Pierson are the top backup forwards.
After Friday’s practice, Reeve said she believed this bench was the deepest she has had in her eight seasons with the Lynx.
“We have a lot of options,” she said. “Two preseason games really illuminated that. I already knew about the nine deep. But, really, I think we’re 11 deep. There is nobody you have on your bench you’re afraid to put in. It’s a deep, talented team.”