Brea Beal, Destanni Henderson cut from WNBA rosters days before season begins

·2 min read

Two former South Carolina women’s basketball stars have been waived days before the start of the 2023 WNBA season on Friday.

The Minnesota Lynx announced on Tuesday that they’d waived former Gamecocks guard Brea Beal, who they’d picked No. 24 overall in the second round of last month’s WNBA Draft.

And the Indiana Fever have waived former Gamecocks guard Destanni Henderson, their 2022 second-round pick, according to the league’s transactions page.

Both players were waived amid preseason cuts for the WNBA’s 12 teams, who can only carry 12 players apiece on their regular-season rosters. A lack of roster space for talented players (only 144 spots league-wide) has led to numerous high draft picks getting cutting their first or second years, drawn criticism and fueled hopes that the league will eventually expand beyond 12 teams.

Other notable cuts from the 2023 WNBA Draft include former Maryland guard and No. 11 overall pick Abby Meyers (Dallas Wings), former national champion LSU guard and second-round pick Alexis Morris (Connecticut Sun) and former Iowa center and third-round pick Monica Czinano (Los Angeles Sparks)

Beal, a standout defender, played four seasons for USC from 2019-23 and was a part of the team’s 2022 national championship season as well as two more Final Four appearances.

Henderson was also a starter on USC’s 2022 national championship team and had a career-high 26 points in the championship game against UConn. She played in all 36 of the Fever’s game with five starts as a rookie in 2022-23.

South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley took to Twitter to offer encouragement to both players Tuesday, tagging both players and telling them “you know you both belong. Let’s keep getting in the lab and work. I know your representatives are working to get you on another team’s roster. Heads high champs! Love you!!!! @GamecockWBB for life!”