Erica McCall was waived by Atlanta shortly after the 2020 WNBA season began. Getting waived is a staple in pro sports. A team lets you go, and you either get picked up by another club or move on with life. McCall was out of work barely a day before she was with her third team since last season.
Getting waived in the WNBA is no different, but this year of playing with the pandemic has been unusual to say the least. McCall was one of a couple of players who got waived but were allowed to stay in the W’s ‘wubble’ just in case they might get picked up by another club; the players had already passed the health protocols.
“When I signed with Atlanta, I know it would be a quick stay,” said the 6’-2” forward to reporters last weekend, including the MSR. The 17th overall pick in the 2017 Draft, McCall was a reserve in two seasons with Indiana before the Fever let her go earlier this year. She later signed with the Dream.
She became the newest Minnesota Lynx on July 30. “The experience was crazy,” McCall admitted, “a lot of waiting around. I was pretty anxious.”
About three hours before Minnesota’s scheduled July 30 game, McCall’s agent texted her to inform her that the Lynx wanted her right away. “I jumped in the shower, changed clothes and got on the bus. It was a very quick turnaround,” she noted.
The forward didn’t play that night, but she made her first appearance in last Saturday’s Lynx win over Connecticut, the team where her older sister, DeWanna Bonner, a two-time WNBA champion and multiple All-Star, plays. The younger sister went one for two from the free throw line and grabbed four boards.
“Right now I am trying to get to know everyone and bring a lot of energy,” McCall said. A California native, she graduated with a psychology degree from Stanford (2013-17), where she played on two Final Fours, three Elite Eights and three Pac-12 championships, finishing as one of six conference players to post 1,350 points, 950 rebounds and 200 blocks.
She also played on four gold-winning USA teams, and played two overseas pro seasons during the W off seasons (a 2017-18 regular season championship with a team in Hungary that twice made its league finals).
But her game skills haven’t been on display as much since becoming a WNBA player: McCall played in 64 games with three starts in two seasons, averaging three and two points respectively at Indiana.
“I don’t think I’ve gotten a lot of time to show my mid-range shot,” McCall told the MSR when asked what she brings to Minnesota. Her biggest adjustment, she said, is to how the Lynx approach game preparation.
“Shootarounds are more relaxed,” McCall reported. “It is a lot more intense, more attention to detail. I really appreciate that.” She also appreciates Coach Cheryl Reeve’s advice.
“She wants me to play hard, rebound the ball, look for my shot,” McCall said. “If I’m open, take the shot. She has confidence in me.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.