After starting the year off with a good amount of players from the 2018 roster absent, the Minnesota Lynx are starting to see some of those players return at the midway point of the regular season.
On Saturday afternoon, the Lynx officially announced that the team has activated center Temi Fagbenle from the temporary suspended list. With the addition of Fagbenle, the team also announced it has waived forward Shao Ting, who will return to the Chinese National Team to prepare for the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.
Fagbenle, who will rejoin the team prior to Sunday evening’s game against the Phoenix Mercury, just wrapped up playing in FIBA Women’s EuroBasket, where she helped Great Britain to a fourth-place finish while earning All-Star honors.
While playing for Great Britain, Fagbenle led the tournament in scoring with 20.9 points per game and shooting percentage (54.9 percent), ranking second on her team in rebounding with 6.7 per contest.
Getting Fagbenle back will help Minnesota greatly with its post depth and assisting Sylvia Fowles in the post.
With Rebekkah Brunson yet to appear in a game in 2019 while still trying to recover from concussion symptoms and rookie forward Jessica Shepard (ACL) and forward Damiris Dantas (calf) out with injuries, depth at the post position has been an issue for the Lynx since the start of the year.
Fagbenle, who will kick off her third season in the WNBA after being drafted by Minnesota in the third round of the 2016 WNBA Draft, appeared in a total of 30 regular season games for the Lynx in 2018.
During her second season in the league, Fagbenle averaged 3.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 9.4 minutes per game off the bench. Towards the end of the year, however, she started to become a spark plug off the bench for Minnesota while earning herself more playing time as the season progressed.
The Lynx, who will enter Sunday’s game at home with a record of 9-7 overall, are still awaiting the return of a few more players.
Seimone Augustus is expected to return around the WNBA All-Star break while recovering from a knee injury and Dantas is expected back sometime soon while recovering from a calf injury. The team is still awaiting the possible return of Cecilia Zandalasini as well, who had been playing overseas but has since experienced an ankle injury.
Minnesota has been able to keep itself near the top of the WNBA standings so far this season despite not having a fully healthy roster, which has been impressive. And the good news for the Lynx is they are starting to get some of those players back, beginning with the addition of Fagbenle.
The Lynx will return home for a two-game homestand that kicks off with a game against the Phoenix Mercury at 6 p.m. Sunday night at Target Center.