Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Cuts coming soon in Lynx camp, and all around WNBA

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: May 21, 2013 - 1:58 PM

The WNBA season starts Friday, May 24. Indiana, the defending WNBA champion, plays at San Antonio at 7 p.m.

Because the season is starting, teams have to be down to 11 players by Thursday. Even the Lynx, who don't start until June 1.

The Lynx currently have 14 players, including a WNBA-high six rookies in camp. They are not going to keep all those rookies. In fact, I think, three will get cut.

The two obvious ones to go are guard Jackie Gemelos. She has not played much basketball in 1-1/2 years, coming off her latest ACL surgery on one of her knees. The Lynx drafted her in the third round last season. Third-rounders are always longshots.

So are players signed as free agents such as 6-6 center Shawnice Wilson of Miama (Fla.). The Lynx signed her to have a big post in camp when their third round pick -- Waltiea Rolle, another 6-6 center, from North Carolina -- decided not to try out for the team until next season.

Rolle wants to finish her degree, then play in Europe.

But back to Wilson. Unless the Lynx feel they really need her size against 6-8 Brittney Griner of Phoenix and 6-8 Liz Cambage of Tulsa in the West -- doubtful -- she will be cut, too.

The third cut will come down to one of two guards, Sugar Rodgers of Georgetown or Chucky Jeffery of Colorado. Both led their teams in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals.

But Rodgers played in a tougher league, the Big East vs. the Pac-12, was a better scorer and ranked seventh in the nation in steals. She might be able to come off the bench and make things happen.

So assuming those three are cut, who is left? Here is the roster:

Center: Janel McCarville.

Power forward: Rebekkah Brunson.

Small forward: Maya Moore.

Shooting guard: Seimone Augustus.

Point guard: Lindsay Whalen.

Those would be the starters.

Off the bench: Monica Wright, first sub, at any of three positions, 3-2-1.

Amber Harris, at 6-5 tallest Lynx by three inches, but has had disappointing career for No. 4 overall pick three years ago. Was buried on bench last season. Many games played little.

Rachel Jarry, 6-1 forward from Australia with lots of international experience.

Lindsey Moore, rookie point guard from Nebraska, will back up Whalen.

Devereaux Peters, second-year post. Needs to learn how to stay out of foul trouble. Slick, but slender.

And Rodgers, would give Lynx two rookies.

Looking elsewhere around league, here is how other teams stand a couple days from rosters being set:

Los Angeles: Sparks have only 12 players, so need to cut just one. Have three rookies, but nobody with 10 seasons or more of experience. ... L.A. could have three international players on roster -- more than any other team. Fighting for roster spots are veteran guard Jenna O'Hea of Australia and two rookies, 6-2 forward Farhiya Abdi of Sweden and 6-1 guard/forward Alina Iagupova of the Ukraine. ... Hoping A.I. makes it, Ukrainians have to stick together.

Big addition to L.A. was guard Lindsey Harding from Atlanta. Backcourt was team's weak spot. Sparks have only three players shorter than 6-1. But tallest players are two at 6-4, including Candace Parker.

Phoenix: The Mercury have two rookies and two "senior citizens," forward Penny Taylor starting her 12th WNBA season and ex-Lynx guard Erin Thorn, starting her 11th. Like Lynx, Mercury has 14 in camp, including two other ex-Lynx players, forwards Charde Houston and Jessica Adair -- recently waived by the Lynx -- and guard Alexis Hornbuckle.

But the good news is that all the injured players -- Diana Taurasi, Taylor, Candice Dupree -- are healthy and Phoenix is the trendy pick to win the West with rookie phenom Griner in the middle.

Mercury has six players 6-4 or taller (remember Lynx have one). Maybe one or two former Lynx will make roster.

San Antonio: Silver Stars have 15 on roster, but all-star forward Sophia Young is out for a good share of the the season at least. She torn the ACL in one of her knees playing in China in January and had surgery. ... Silver Stars have four rookies and, really five. Julie Wojta of Wisconsin-Green Bay is listed as a second-year player but she played one game last season for the Lynx.

Team has two players going into 15th season: guard Becky Hammon and DeLisha Milton-Jones.

Seattle: 15 players on roster, but two are out for the season with injuries, center Lauren Jackson and guard Sue Bird, Storm's two best players. ... Two rookies and three second-year players on roster and four players with 10 or more years in WNBA, including Jackson and Bird, and Tina Thompson, who has played 16 seasons, and Nakia Sanford, into her 11th.

Tulsa: 13 players, including Cambage who has not joined team yet. ... Two rookies, two second-year players, and three from Stanford, including ex-Lynx Candice Wiggins. ... Six players at least 6-3. ... Big addition is rookie guard Skylar Diggins from Notre Dame.

THE EAST

This is the conference of new coaches. Four of the six teams have a different coach than they had a year ago.

Atlanta: 14 players, three rookies. Coach Fred Williams got job Aug. 27 last year. Angel McCoughtry makes Dream go. When she is hot, she is unstoppable.

Chicago: 12 players, two rookies. One rookie who won't get cut is 6-5 Elena Della Donne from Delaware, she and 6-6 Sylvia Fowles should give the Sky dominance inside against most teams. ... Swin Cash is going into her 12th season, Ruth Riley into 13th. ... Sky has never made playoffs in team history. This should be the year that streak is busted. ... Ex-Lynx Shay Murphy could be a valuable sub.

Connecticut: 13 players, including four from UConn. ... Two rookies, guard Kara Lawson, has most WNBA experience, going into 11th season. ... Anne Donovan, who led Seattle to title in 2004, is new coach. ... Ex-Lynx guard Renee Montgomery gave Sun spark off the bench last season.

Indiana: 14 players, only two rookies. ... Two best players are both veterans, Tamika Cathings going into 12th season and Katie Douglas going into 13th.

New York Liberty: Bill Laimbeer takes over as coach. He won several titles at Detroit. ... 13 players, four rookies, and two real veterans, forward Plenette Pierson into 11th season and Katie Smith into 15th. ... Three of players played for Laimbeer in Detroit: Pierson, Smith and Cheryl Ford.

Washington: 12 players, four rookies and new coach, Mike Thibault, who was fired by Connecticut for not winning WNBA title. ... One of rookies is guard Tayler Hill, Minneapolis native who played at Ohio State. ... Michelle Snow is going into 12th season.

LAST WORD

So if my math is right, 16 players will get cut in West by Thursday and 12 players in East. Most won't get picked up, at least not immediately. The Lynx should be looking for a big post -- or at least getting a phone number or two. They don't have much size, especially if McCarville or Brunson get hurt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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