June 24, 2020
Atlanta Dream sign Betnijah Laney and Jaylyn Agnew
With Renee Montgomery and Tiffany Hayes both sitting out, the Dream have signed players to fill their spots
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Phoenix, ARIZONA/USA – July 05, 2018: Connecticut Sun forward Betnijah Laney (44) shoots during a Sun vs Mercury WNBA basketball game at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Photo Credit: Chris Poss
The Atlanta Dream have signed free agents Betnijah Laney and Jaylyn Agnew, the team announced Wednesday morning.
With veteran guards Renee Montgomery and Tiffany Hayes both opting out of the 2020 WNBA season, the Dream had holes to fill on the roster. While Laney and Agnew won’t fill the gap as far as experience goes — Montgomery and Hayes’ combined 19 years of WNBA experience is hard to replace — they should be able to contribute and add depth.
Laney was drafted in the second round of the 2015 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky and has played some or all of the four WNBA seasons since then — most recently appearing in all 34 games for the Indiana Fever last season. The 6’ guard averaged 5.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game for the Fever.
While Laney doesn’t have the offensive track record to fill Hayes’ spot on that end of the floor, she will be looked to to take on Hayes’ defensive responsibilities. Hayes has a penchant for aggressive defense and has been named to the WNBA all-defensive team in her career.
“[Laney] is an important pick up for us because of her experience and her tenacity at both ends of the floor,” Dream coach Nicki Collen said in a statement. “She will give us size and versatility at the defensive end of the floor as we look for ways to absorb the loss of all-defensive player Tiffany Hayes. She will also help create pace and extra possessions on offensive as she is relentless on the glass.”
The Dream’s other addition, Agnew, was drafted by the Washington Mystics with the No. 24 overall pick in this year’s draft before being waived on May 26. Collen and her staff had targeted Agnew as a potential draft pick before the Mystics took her off the board.
In her final year at Creighton, Agnew was named Big East player of the year and earned the Big East scoring title with her average of 23.1 points per game in league play, up from her average of 20.8 points per game overall. Montgomery and Hayes have both been important offensive pieces for the Dream throughout their tenures with Atlanta, so Agnew will be looked upon to bring her collegiate scoring track record to the floor for the Dream in Florida.
“I believe [Agnew] is the ultimate sleeper, and we were prepared to draft her before Washington beat us to the punch,” Collen said in a statement. “… She is an effortless shooter, with a quick release, and has the quickness to keep defenders honest off the bounce. We will need her three-point shooting to replace what we lost in Renee Montgomery. At 6-0, she has the length and athleticism to defend multiple positions effectively and takes great pride in it.”
With Montgomery and Hayes opting out, the Dream now have just two players returning from the 2019 campaign — Monique Billings and Elizabeth Williams. New additions like Chennedy Carter, Courtney Williams and Shekinna Stricklen will play large roles for the team as Atlanta figures out its new roster.