WNBA Free Agency is officially underway, with this past week marking the start of the period where teams are able to offer qualifying offers to players until Jan. 20.
Before the action and news of moves start arriving after Jan. 21, when teams and players can begin discussing contracts, it’s time to get caught up on the Minnesota Lynx players who are already preparing for the 2024 WNBA season while playing overseas.
The Lynx have a total of nine players who are playing this offseason, except for Diamond MIller, who returned home after playing in Hungary at the start of the offseason. Minnesota’s Napheesa Collier Kayla McBride, Nina Milić, Tiffany Mitchell, Lindsay Allen, Jessica Shepard, Dorka Juhász, Diamond Miller, Maia Hirsch and Bridget Carleton are playing overseas in Turkey, Italy, Hungary and France this offseason.
In last week’s update, McBride, Milić and Fenerbahçe won the Turkish Cup, Allen dropped an impressive 15 assists and more. Let’s look at how the Lynx have performed over the past week around the globe.
Napheesa Collier, Kayla McBride and Nina Milić
Collier, McBride and Milić started the offseason playing together until Collier’s brief time overseas concluded and she returned home. This week, Collier returned to join her 2023 Lynx teammates and the rest of Fenerbahçe for the rest of the season, the team announced.
PHEEnomenon is BACK! @PHEEsespieces— Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding (@fbkadinbasket) January 13, 2024
WNBA yıldızı Napheesa Collier yeniden Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding’te! ✍️
Kulübümüz, 2023-24 sezonunun ilk bölümünde formamızı terleten, tarihi Süper Kupa Şampiyonluğumuzda pay sahibi olan WNBA yıldızı Napheesa Collier (1.85-1996) ile… pic.twitter.com/EXTBbt7krp
Over the past week, Fenerbahçe played in two games, falling to Dorka Juhász and Famila Schio 75-67 on Jan. 11 before blowing out Hatay 126-67 on Jan. 14.
In the loss on Jan. 11, McBride and Milić both took the court in the close contest, with McBride tallying nine points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals over 33 minutes and Milić adding seven rebounds and a block in 17 minutes.
On Jan. 14, Milić put together an impressive showing with 28 points, 15 rebounds and three assists over just 24 minutes. McBride and Collier didn’t appear in that contest.
Fenerbahçe will return to action this week with a pair of games, a EuroLeague battle against Lublin on Jan. 17 and a Turkey-KBSL contest against Lindsay Allen and Botas SK on Jan. 21.
Carleton continued her consistent offseason with UNI Györ over the past week with two games and two near double-doubles.
UNI Györ fell to Landes 83-75 on Jan. 10, following that up by blowing out Szekszard 78-54 on Jan. 13. On Jan. 10, Carleton tallied team-highs of 17 points and nine rebounds along with three assists in 38 minutes, adding 12 points, nine rebounds and two assists over 36 minutes on Jan. 13.
Carleton and UNI Györ will have a pair of EuroLeague games this week, a battle against Polkowice on Jan. 17 and a game against Ujbuda BEAC on Jan. 20.
Allen has been one of the top offensive producers for Botas SK this offseason, continuing that trend over the past week with one game on the schedule.
Allen and Botas SK fell to Galatasaray 82-77 on Jan. 14, with Allen posting 17 points, six assists and one steal over 37 minutes.
Botas SK and Allen are back in action with one game coming up this week, a Turkey-KBSL contest against Collier, McBride, Milić and Fenerbahçe on Jan. 21.
Shepard has been a double-double machine all offseason for Umana Reyer Venezia, and she helped her squad to two more victories over the past week.
On Jan. 10, Umana Reyer Venezia topped Arka Gyndia 77-68 in the EuroCup playoffs, adding a blowout win over Battipaglia 92-62 on Jan. 13. On Jan. 10, Shepard notched a team-high 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and one steal over 28 minutes, adding 17 points, five boards, two steals and one assist over 19 minutes on Jan. 13.
Umana Reyer Venezia will advance in the EuroCup playoffs and will meet Gdynia on Jan. 18 followed by an Italy-Serie A1 battle against Dorka Juhász and Famila Schio on Jan. 21.
After missing some time with Famila Schio, Juhász returned to action over the past week with a pair of games.
Famila Schio opened the week by topping Fenerbahće 75-67 on Jan. 11, with Juhász posting three points and two rebounds in 19 minutes. Famila Schio rounded out the week with a 75-70 loss to San Giovanni, with Juhász notching six points and seven rebounds over 18 minutes.
Juhász and Famila Schio have a pair of games on the schedule this week, facing Lyon on Jan. 17 before battling Jessica Shepard and Umana Reyer Venezia on Jan. 21.
Villeneuve d’Ascq, France
Hirsch continues to play in France for Villeneuve d’Ascq this offseason as we wait to see if she makes the move to join the Lynx and the WNBA in 2024.
Over the past week, Villeneuve d’Ascq had two games on the schedule, a 65-62 loss to Virtus Bologna on Jan. 10 and an 83-75 win over Lattas Montepellier on Jan. 14. Hirsch, however, didn’t appear in either of those games.
So far this offseason, Hirsch has averaged 7.0 points and 3.3 rebounds over 18.2 minutes in nine France-LFB games, also tallying 5.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists over 16.5 minutes in eight EuroLeague contests.
After joining Rwanda Energy Group (REG) on a short-term deal to play in the 2023 FIBA Africa Women’s Basketball League earlier this month, Mitchell concluded play in Egypt on Dec. 19.
Over seven games in FIBA African Women’s Basketball League action, Mitchell averaged 23.7 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals over 35.6 minutes per contest.
Though her time with REG is now over, Mitchell will begin her season with Athletes Unlimited in February.