After a weekend pause, WNBA player transactions resumed their brisk pace on Monday.
The Minnesota Lynx officially employed their rights to Rachel Jarry, signing the Australian forward who is free from international commitments this season after representing Australia in the 2012 Olympics.
Jarry was originally selected by the Atlanta Dream in the 2011 draft, but was swapped to Minnesota in a draft day deal. Aware of her impending schedule, Minnesota opted to save Jarry for later use. Until a contract is signed, teams retain first rights to players the acquire for an indefinite amount of time.
“Already a five-year veteran at 21, she has proven to be a difference maker in Australia and should be able to make an immediate impact in the WNBA,” said Roger Griffith, executive vice president of the Lynx.
At the very least, Jarry will make training camp a battle for the current crop of forwards. She is a five-year veteran of the WNBL, Australia’s equivalent of the WNBA, and has spent her entire career with the Bulleen Boomers after graduating from the Australian Institute of Sport. Her professional career in her native country includes a championship in the 2011 WNBL Grand Final and a selection to the league’s All-Star Five.
Jarry is averaging 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this season for Bulleen. The 6-foot-0 forward was the youngest player on Australia’s national roster for the 2012 Olympics, but played in all eight games en route to a bronze medal.
If Jarry’s skills can transition efficiently to the world’s most competitive women’s basketball league, she will increase the quality in depth among Minnesota’s forwards. The Lynx were thin at the interior in 2012, especially with a reluctance to call upon the bench; Devereaux Peters was foul-prone and Amber Harris was a virtual dud.
Technically, there was room on the roster for Jarry after Erin Thorn was waived, but with the upcoming draft in April, Jarry’s acquisition could place someone like Harris on the proverbial roster bubble. Fans and pundits believed the lack of faith and overall quality on Minnesota’s bench was influential in their 2012 WNBA Finals demise.
Down south, the San Antonio Silver Stars reclaimed unrestricted free agent Jia Perkins to a multi-year deal. Perkins, who played college ball at Texas Tech, has represented San Antonio since 2011.
“As a Texas native, I love having the opportunity to stay close to home and I look forward to building on the success we’ve had in San Antonio over the past two seasons,” Perkins said.
Her role has shifted from reserve to starter to reserve again throughout her nine seasons in the WNBA, but one constant for Perkins is durability. Originally a third-round draft pick by the now-defunct Charlotte Sting, she spent most of her rookie season on maternity leave with the birth of her daughter, Aalirah. In every season since, Perkins has registered floor time in 30 games or more.
Statistically, her best year was 2008, when she logged 17.0 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game with the Chicago Sky. The following year, Perkins carried Chicago’s colors with her first All-Star Game selection.
In 2012, Perkins ended the regular season with 10.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Her accuracy from the free throw line and long range compliments a deep contingent of guards for the Silver Stars, and she usually can be counted on for at least one clutch three-pointer in games; she drained a career-high six triples last season against Atlanta on July 28.