Shae Kelley waived by Minnesota Lynx

Former Gopher forward Shae Kelley guards against New York Libertys Candice Wiggins in a pre-season game at Target Center on Monday.

Image by Juliet Farmer

Former Gopher forward Shae Kelley guards against New York Liberty’s Candice Wiggins in a pre-season game at Target Center on Monday.

by Grant Donald

Former Gophers women’s basketball player Shae Kelley didn’t have too much time to make any lasting impressions fighting for one of the final roster spots on the Minnesota Lynx.
The rookie only played five minutes and took one shot — a miss — in the Lynx’s final preseason game against the New York Liberty on Monday.
The following day, Kelley was waived by the Lynx in preparation for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s cut-down deadline on Thursday.
Even though her team won’t start with Kelley on its roster during the 2015 season, Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve still had positive things to say following Monday night’s game about the second-to-last pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft.
“I like the way [Shae] comes to work every day with an intensity that you can’t necessarily teach,” Reeve said. “Every possession in practice, she will give it her all.”
The Lynx’s roster now stands at 12 players after Kelley and forward Asia Taylor were waived. The team needs to get down to 11 by Thursday’s deadline.
During Monday night’s game, Reeve only played 11 of her players, one of which was Kelley.
Even though she played while some of her teammates were tied to the bench, Kelley said she was unsure of her future with the Lynx after the game.
“I can’t put a guess to the chances [of me getting a roster spot],” Kelley said Monday. “I just have to go out every day and work as hard as I can.”
Kelley said after the game that she learned valuable lessons during her time with the Lynx and Reeve, regardless of whether she would stick with the team.
“It’s been great just being able to be around this team with all the great players and championship experience,” Kelley said. “Being able to experience a professional level atmosphere is a dream come true.”
A year ago while playing for the Gophers, Kelley found most of her court time at the power forward position, earning first team All-Big Ten honors. But before she transferred to join first-year Minnesota head coach Marlene Stollings’ program for her senior season, Kelley said she played mostly small forward.
When the Lynx drafted her, Reeve gave Kelley a choice: to try and make the team at the small forward position or the power forward. It didn’t take long for her to make a decision.
“I’m a little undersized for a [power forward] position. Small forward is definitely my natural position,” Kelley said. 
And although Kelley didn’t put up eye-catching stats in preseason games, her teammates noticed what she can do.
“She has definitely adjusted to the professional game well,” Lynx forward Tricia Liston, who completed her rookie campaign last season, said after Monday’s game. “When you are fighting for that roster spot, it can be easy to crumble under pressure. I’ve yet to see that happen to Shae.”
Since she’s been waived, Kelley’s professional future is up in the air, but she said Monday she’ll have positive memories of her training camp with the Lynx.
“My journey is crazy. Just getting to this point and getting to the point to even be drafted is a dream come true,” Kelley said after Monday’s game.