Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Minnesota Signs Courtney Williams and Alanna Smith

Lynx Re-sign Bridget Carleton 

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Lynx today announced the team has signed free agent guard Courtney Williams and forward Alanna Smith and have re-signed forward Bridget Carleton. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

“We are very excited to welcome Courtney and Alanna to the Minnesota Lynx family and to welcome back Bridget,” said Minnesota Lynx Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Cheryl Reeve. “Courtney is a great competitor with dynamic offensive talent, is one of the best rebounding guards in the WNBA and possesses valuable playoff experience.  Alanna is coming off her best season yet in the WNBA where she was a finalist for Most Improved Player. Her impressive 2FG%, potential as a 3-point shooter, along with her rebounding and shot blocking, make her a valuable addition to our team. Bridget has been a dependable player for the Lynx at both ends of the floor over the last 5 seasons and continues to make strides in reaching her potential. We are thrilled she has chosen to continue her WNBA journey with the Lynx.”

Williams, a Folkston, Ga. native, joins the Lynx after spending the 2023 season with the Chicago Sky, and previous time with the Connecticut Sun, Atlanta Dream and Phoenix Mercury. In 249 career games, the 5-8 guard holds averages of 12.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 27.7 minutes per game.

During her 2023 campaign for the Sky, Williams averaged 10.4 points on 43.7% shooting, 6.0 rebounds and a career-high 6.3 assists in 40 games (all starts). She ranked fourth throughout the league in four categories, including assists per game (6.3), three-point shooting (44.3%), assist percentage (33.8) and total assists (251).

Williams best season to date was 2021 with the Dream where she averaged 16.5 points on 41.1% shooting, 6.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.1 steals in 34.4 minutes per game in 32 contests (all starts) and earned All-Star accolades. Throughout her career, Williams has scored 20+ points on 33 occasions and has tallied 23 double-doubles with six occurring in the 2023 season.

Originally selected eighth overall in the 2016 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury, the seven-year veteran’s career includes five trips to the WNBA Playoffs, totaling 24 games. Williams’ most successful appearance came in 2022 when the Connecticut Sun went to the WNBA Finals with her starting in all 12 games. During that playoff run, Williams averaged 10.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists. She holds career playoff averages of 13.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 30.4 minutes per game.

Smith also comes to the Lynx from the Sky, having played one season in Chicago. The 6-4 forward was selected eighth overall in the 2019 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury and saw time with the Indiana Fever in 2022. Smith holds career averages of 5.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists per 16.4 minutes per game.

The 2023 season was Smith’s best to date seeing action in 38 games (35 starts) where she averaged career-highs across the board with 9.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks in 26.5 minutes per game and was a Most Improved Player finalist. Throughout last season, she ranked in the league’s top ten in several categories, including first in two-point shooting (62.6%), seventh in total blocks (50), ninth in offensive rebound percent (8.0), eighth in block percentage (4.1) and steal percentage (2.5).

The Tasmania, Aus. native has seen action in three post-season runs (2020, 2021, 2023) and holds playoff career averages of 3.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.2 assist and 0.2 steals across 8.7 minutes per game.

Carleton re-signs with Minnesota, marking her sixth season in a Lynx jersey. During the 2023 season, Carleton held averages of 3.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game. One of the Chatham, Ont. native’s top performances last season includes when she marked her fifth career 10+ point/5+ rebound game against the Los Angeles Sparks on June 20. She ended the game with 14 points, six rebounds and one assist in 24:41 minutes. Carleton was a vital player throughout Minnesota’s 2023 postseason campaign where she became the eighth Lynx player in playoff history to finish with 3+ steals off the bench against Connecticut on Sept. 13 and on Sept. 20 against the Sun where she tallied 13 points, four rebounds and an assist in 29 minutes.

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