Last season the Lynx became the first team in league history to record 25 or more victories in four consecutive seasons. They also tied the 2000-03 Los Angeles Sparks for most victories (105) in a four-year span. The Lynx need to win at least 25 games to match the Sparks for victories over a five-year span.
A wide-open West?
The Western Conference has, the past few years, been the WNBA’s power conference. But have circumstances provided the Lynx with a golden opportunity? Defending champion Phoenix will be without Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor is no longer on the roster and star center Brittney Griner will miss the first seven games because of a suspension. Los Angeles made a huge upgrade by hiring coach Brian Agler, but the Sparks will start the season without Candace Parker (who is resting) and Kristi Toliver, who will be playing for the Slovakian team at the EuroBasket tournament.
To win in the WNBA, teams have to have both talent and health. Witness the Lynx, who were nearly injury-free while making three consecutive trips to the league finals starting in 2011, but who were knocked out of the 2014 playoffs by a Phoenix team that didn’t lose a single game to injury all season. Center Asjha Jones will start the season on the sidelines, but the rest of the Lynx starters appear healthier than last year, when forward Rebekkah Brunson missed most of the season following knee surgery and guard/forward Seimone Augustus struggled with knee problems most of the season.
What next, Maya?
What does Maya Moore do for an encore? Last year she started her MVP season by scoring 30 or more points in her first four games on the ways to career highs in scoring (23.9) and rebounding (8.1). And who can forget her 48 points against Atlanta? With her team healthier than last year, she might not need to score as much. But look for her to chase her individual goal of shooting better than 50 percent overall, 40 percent or better on three-pointers and 90 percent or better on free throws. She came two made free throws away from doing just that two seasons ago.
Perhaps more than ever the Lynx, with four projected starters over 30, need to develop depth, but it might take a month or so. When Jones returns, the team should have depth in the post, especially if Damiris Dantas steps up in her second season. Guard Anna Cruz will back up Lindsay Whalen once she gets here from Spain at the end of the month. And getting a three-point threat from Tricia Liston will only make the Lynx harder to defend.