Indiana Fever release pair as WNBA rosters prepare to shrink

The Fever release two more players during the WNBA hiatus

The Indiana Fever have released guards Jessica January and Kamiah Smalls, the team announced Tuesday. The news comes as the 2020 WNBA season remains suspended due to global coronavirus pandemic, and the start of training camp — scheduled for April 26 — was pushed back indefinitely.

Further, Doug Feinberg reports that rosters need to be reduced to 12 by May 26 ahead of the first payday for players on June 1.

Veteran point guard January was signed to a training camp contract in March and was expected to give the Fever some added competition and leadership ahead of the season. Drafted out of DePaul in 2017 by the Connecticut Sun with the No. 28 overall pick, she has yet to make a regular season roster due to the tough competition in the WNBA. This past season, she averaged 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game with Slovakian side Piestanske Cajky.

The Fever drafted Smalls last month in the third round out of James Madison University, making her just the fourth player in the school’s history to be drafted into the WNBA after Tamera Young (2008), Lauren Okafor (2015) and Jazmon Gwathmey (2016). At JMU last season, Smalls was named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year after averaging 18.6 points on 47% shooting, 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

After last season saw the Fever finish 13-21 overall and miss out on the playoffs for the third year in a row, Indiana spent much of the offseason shaking up its front office and preparing for a new chapter. The team brought in Marianne Stanley as head coach, April Schilling is a new assistant coach and legend Tamika Catchings now serves as Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager. In the 2020 WNBA Draft a month ago, the Fever selected power forward Lauren Cox with the third overall pick out of Baylor along with Kathleen Doyle at No. 14 and Smalls at No. 28.

Last month, the Fever released Erica McCall and Paris Kea as the team tried to shrink and finalize its roster. Following the release of January and Smalls, the Fever’s roster currently sits at 13 players, one more than the league-imposed maximum.

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