The real work begins for South Carolina’s Tyasha Harris and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan as they work to find a spot in the rotation of their new teams.
Herbert Harrigan was selected sixth by the Minnesota Lynx during Friday’s WNBA Draft and Harris was taken by the Dallas Wings at number seven.
WNBA owners have the challenge now of getting rosters down to 12 by the start of the season.
Analyst and former WNBA player Rebecca Lobo said the it’s a great challenge to make a WNBA roster.
“It's the hardest professional league to make in terms of the percentage of people that play. There are 144 jobs when every team is carrying a full roster,” she said. “At the beginning of this season not every team, most likely, will be carrying a full roster of 12. A couple will have to have a 11 until a certain point in the season when the salary cap will allow them to fit a 12th.”
“It is very, very difficult to make a WNBA roster, even more difficult for a second-round pick or even a third-round pick to make it, she added. “That being said, there are certain teams that, if you are in the draft this year, you hope draft you. You hope you're drafted by the New York Liberty because they have a lot more positions on their roster to make a team. There are fewer roster spots at a place like Washington or Seattle just because of the makeup of their veterans and the success that they've had. So it's very, very difficult to make a WNBA team, and especially for players out of the top 12 or 14 [in the draft].”
For Harris, she enters a situation where the Wings had 15 players on roster already before drafting four players.
As owner Greg Bibb figures out how to whittle down the roster, Harris has had the support of her coach and the confidence of former Wings guard Skylar Diggins-Smith. Harris said everyone’s high expectations of her helps push her.
“Yeah, I mean, I think my circle keeps me up, motivated. They think highly of me, and I think that's what's been keeping me going and keeping my confidence,” she said. “I am going to come in with a chip on my shoulder just because I feel like I have to prove myself every day, and that's nothing new, though, so I'm excited just to see what I can do for Dallas.”
She said she understands the challenge at hand and the level of competition she now faces and welcomes it.
“[I’m] super excited because I'm a very competitive person,” she said. “I mean, I know what has been played just as far as players being in the league right now and I'm just super excited for the grind and to finally play somewhere that I've always dreamed of playing.”
For Herbert Harrigan, she enters a situation where there are a number of voids to fill. Lynx great Seimone Augustus landed with the Los Angeles Sparks during the offseason. Maya Moore continues her fight for social justice and has not yet returned to the team and guard Odyssey Sims might be out for the entire season due to pregnancy.
Herbert Harrigan said after draft night that she’s confident her ability as a defender gives her an edge and she’s pleased with how much she’s improved offensively.
“Yes, definitely. I do feel like I have the skill set offensively to play right away,” she said. “I worked on that in the offseason. It was just good to see my shot falling during the season. I worked on it in the offseason, so it was great to see my shot falling.”
Herbert Harrigan has often discussed how she matured during her time at South Carolina and said that has prepared her for the journey she is about to embark on.
“I feel like I've grown a lot on and off the court. A big thing was my maturity on the court, so that really helped me improve and helped me to bring my game to the next level.”
The WNBA season tip-off of May 15th has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak and commissioner Cathy Engelbert said they’re continuing to monitor the situation and develop a plan for a new start date.