UPDATED-WNBA Roundup: Finalizing rosters is a real ‘turkey’

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14: Forward Essence Carson
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14: Forward Essence Carson /

Yes, this writer penned that headline and he will now show himself out. While he departs, the deadline for WNBA teams to submit their rosters produced a conundrum for players still overseas, particularly in Turkey. The Turkish Women’s Basketball League finals have yet to conclude, leaving three teams in flux for the opening weekend of games.

For the remaining clubs, their most difficult decision was choosing who to keep on their regular season roster. Compared to earlier in the week, Friday’s cuts were less prolific, but still hard to absorb for the athletes who have to find work elsewhere.

Rosters plucked by Turkish commitments

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 30: Courtney Vandersloot
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 30: Courtney Vandersloot /

Chicago, Los Angeles and San Antonio are all waiting for their big-name talent to return. For Chicago, that means Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot will be absent for Sunday’s tilt against Minnesota, a rather daunting proposition. The Sky also suspended Jamerria Faulkner and Astou Ndour; Faulkner suffered an ACL tear overseas and Ndour is tied up with commitments to the Spanish national team.

Also, Chicago has yet to sign first-round draft pick Alaina Coates. Coates is recovering from an ankle injury she suffered while competing in this year’s NCAA tournament for South Carolina. Throw in a first-year head coach in Amber Stocks, and the result could be early turbulence for the Sky. However, Sunday’s game with the Lynx offers one last opportunity for players on the bubble to stay on the roster when Quigley and Vandersloot come back, as two players will be cut in order to make room.

Los Angeles begins their title defense on Saturday afternoon against Seattle, but will do so without Essence Carson, Jantel Lavender and Candace Parker. The absence of all three forced the Sparks to postpone their ring ceremony to next Friday, when they host Washington.

For the Seattle game, the Sparks will have just nine players available. Six hopefuls got the waiver notice: Saicha Grant-Allen, Chelsea Hopkins, Mikaela Ruef, Karlie Samuelson, Avery Warley-Talbert and Jamie Weisner. Los Angeles did make one addition with the signing of Maimouna Diarra, a 6’6″ center from Senegal. Diarra has never played in the WNBA before, but she did competed with the Senegalese national team in last year’s Olympics, finishing 12th.

Kayla McBride is hoping to close out the Turkish finals with a title, and so is San Antonio. Unfortunately, the Stars must forge through a back-to-back on the road without their most prolific player. Presumably, San Antonio is hoping for McBride to suit up by the home opener next Friday. Until then, players intent on sticking around have at least two games to prove their worth.

Liberty, Lynx and Sun are locked in

UNCASVILLE, CT – MAY 3: Kelly Faris
UNCASVILLE, CT – MAY 3: Kelly Faris /

Connecticut waived Kelly Faris and Jessica January to trim their roster to 12 players. Faris was a first-round draft pick for the Sun in 2013, but had trouble standing out. In her four years at Connecticut, Faris’ career averages were 2.1 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.

January was chosen by the Sun in the third round of this year’s draft. She saw action in all three preseason games, totaling 13 points and eight rebounds.

Minnesota expressed a hope of keeping 12 players to initiate the 2017 season, but the task was unattainable. The Lynx waived Shao Ting, giving the final spot on their roster to Temi Fagbenle. With a Masters degree in hand, Fagbenle is eager to show her basketball mastery, but her inclusion on a WNBA roster is already a part of history:

Finally, New York dropped Lindsay Allen from the roster. Allen was the Liberty’s second-round draft pick this year, but she had an uneventful showing in three preseason games.