New York Liberty add rookie Joyner Holmes to complete roster

UNCASVILLE, CONNECTICUT- DECEMBER 4: Joyner Holmes #24 of the Texas Longhorns in action while defended by Natalie Butler #51 of the Connecticut Huskies during the UConn Huskies Vs Texas Longhorns, NCAA Women's Basketball game in the Jimmy V Classic on December 4th, 2016 at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

The New York Liberty added the Texas alumna Holmes to cap off their 2020 roster after Rebecca Allen opted out earlier this week.

In a shocking twist, the New York Liberty somehow got younger.

New York’s WNBA squad added their seventh rookie to their roster on Friday in the form of Joyner Holmes, The move comes less than 24 hours after veteran Rebecca Allen announced she would not partake in the league’s potential “bubble”-based season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Holmes was chosen by the Seattle Storm in the second round (19th overall) of April’s WNBA Draft. Hailing from Texas, Holmes averaged 11.1 points and 7.5 rebounds over four years in Austin. She opened her final season in Austin with seven consecutive double-doubles (earning 27 overall during her four seasons as a Longhorn) and appeared in three consecutive NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournaments. Holmes appeared on the Big 12’s First Team in her freshman season (where she also took home the conference’s top freshman honor) and later earned honorable mentions in her junior and senior campaigns.

Holmes’ most notable Austin moment perhaps came in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. In the late stages of a one-point game against North Carolina State, Holmes drew an offensive foul before putting in a missed rebound to clinch the Longhorns’ ticket to the Sweet 16 via an 84-80 win.

Prior to her Austin arrival, Holmes made a name for herself as a McDonald’s All-American and as a member of the 2014 FIBA Under-17 Women’s Basketball World Cup’s All-Tournament team, representing the United States. Among her teammates in that endeavor in the Czech Republic were new Liberty teammates Asia Durr and Sabrina Ionescu.

Holmes was available after getting cut by Seattle when WNBA rosters were required to cut down to 12 players last month. She joins the young New York stable that includes each of their six draft picks, a group headlined by Ionescu, the top overall selection. Standing at 6’3, Holmes can provide some of the length and defensive prowess that Allen took with her back to Australia. New York was relatively low on interior help after sophomore center/forward Han Xu opted to stay overseas during the May cutdowns, joining fellow international representatives Marine Johannes and Stephanie Talbot.

The WNBA is currently planning for a 22-game season to be held in Bradenton. Their 24th season of play was originally slated to begin in May but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An uptick in cases in the Sunshine State have played a role in several other notable names opting to sit out, including All-Star Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun and LaToya Sanders of the defending champion Washington Mystics. The season’s delay likely prevents the Liberty from making their full-time debut at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags