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Natasha Cloud, LaToya Sanders opt out of Mystics 2020 season

The defending WNBA champions will be shorthanded when the 2020 season gets started. We break down the latest roster news.

Kristi Toliver, Elena Delle Donne, LaToya Sanders, Natasha Cloud, and Ariel Atkins of the Washington Mystics huddle during the game against Atlanta Dream during Game Four of the WNBA Semifinals on September 2, 2018 at the Charles Smith Center at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Mystics hope to open their WNBA title defense in late July when the league starts up its 22-game bubble plan at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. However, the Mystics will be shorthanded in their title defense.

The team announced on Monday that Natasha Cloud and LaToya Sanders have opted out of playing the 2020 season. Prior to the news, the Mystics were 7/2 to win the WNBA title.

Last season, Cloud was second on the team in assists and seventh in scoring. She announced via Instagram she will be focusing on the fight for social justice reform.

“This has been one of the toughest decisions of my career but I will be foregoing the 2020 WNBA season. There are a lot of factors that led to this decision, but the biggest one is that I am more than an athlete. I have a responsibility to myself, to my community and to my future children to fight for something that is much bigger than myself and the game of basketball. I will instead continue the fight for social reform, because until Black lives matter, all lives can’t matter.”

Sanders was second on the team in rebounds and first in blocking. She announced her decision based on health and safety.

“This was not an easy choice to make, but after much thought and conversation I do believe it is what’s best for my health and family,” said Sanders. “I wish my teammates and the entire Mystics family the best this season and I will continue to watch and support them.”

They join Connecticut Sun star Jonquel Jones, who also is choosing to sit out the 2020 season. They will assuredly not be the only players sitting out the upcoming season.