Staff Directory 10646276

Kent Youngblood

Reporter | Pro Sports
Phone: 612-673-4365
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Kent Youngblood has covered sports for the Star Tribune for more than 20 years.

Youngblood covered the Vikings in two NFC title games, Gophers football in two bowl games, both the Wild and Wolves in conference championship series and three Lynx WNBA champions.He has been writing about sports for nearly three decades, including several years in Wisconsin covering the Green Bay Packers, including two trips to the Super Bowl.
Recent content from Kent Youngblood
Lynx center Sylvia Fowles looked for room inside against Las Vegas center Liz Cambage in the first quarter Sunday.

Aces use 14-0 run in final minutes to extend Lynx losing streak

Las Vegas led in the game for only about two minutes, but it was enough to send the Lynx to their fourth straight defeat .
Lynx guard Danielle Robinson drove past New York's Asia Durr during the first half of Wednedsay's 75-69 loss to the Liberty in White Plains, N.Y.

Lynx adjust offense for point guard Robinson

The offense is simplified, and the guard has been told to push the pace.
Odyssey Sims of the Lynx looked for a shot while being guarded by Connecticut’s Rachel Banham, a former Gophers star. Sims scored a game-high 25 poi

Connecticut clamps down at end to hand Lynx another loss

The WNBA's hottest team held on down the stretch to hand the Lynx their third loss in a row.
Lynx rookie Napheesa Collier will get more playing time at small forward after Jessica Shepard's injury.

Lynx's Reeve insists offense improving despite losses

Coach Cheryl Reeve saw good signs in the team's second consecutive loss.
Kadiatou Sissoko passed the ball for Syracuse in a game against Miami last January.

U women's basketball lands five-star transfer Sissoka from Syracuse

Kadiatou Sissoko was a five-star recruit and has three years of eligibility.
Lynx rookie Jessica Shepard will have surgery on her right knee after being injured Saturday and tended to by Lynx athletic trainer Chuck Barta.

Lynx rookie Shepard out for season after tearing ACL

"It's heartbreaking," coach Cheryl Reeve said. A power forward with the ability to stretch the floor on offense, Jessica Shepard had emerged as a key contributor in the team's 4-2 start.
Los Angeles guard Chelsea Gray knocked Lynx guard Danielle Robinson into Chiney Ogwumike in the first half.

Lynx fall to LA 89-85 after honoring Whalen's career

Saturday's loss, the first this season at home for the Lynx, was more of the same for a team that has struggled to find any kind of consistency on offense.
Lynx guard Danielle Robinson (3) split the defense of Phoenix forward DeWanna Bonner and center Brittney Griner

Lynx hold on to defeat Phoenix 58-56 after leading by 16 points

Playing in their second game in three nights the Lynx nearly ran out of gas in the fourth quarter but found enough to escape with a home win over the Mercury.
The Storm's Jewell Loyd shoots over the Lynx's Damiris Dantas during the fourth quarter

Can Lynx recover tonight from 'lack of focus' in loss at Seattle?

Many things the Lynx did well in getting off to a 3-0 start disappeared in Tuesday's loss. "It seems like we forgot what our identity was," coach Cheryl Reeve said.
After only two games, Lynx rookie Jessica Shepard is standing out and speaking up.

Lynx rookie Shepard is a quick study

Through training camp, preseason and two regular-season games, it has become clear that Jessica Shepard has been able to do what few WNBA rookies — especially those drafted in the second round — can do.
Odyssey Sims led the Lynx with 15 points. She also had five assists and four steals.

Very different Lynx use balanced attack to shut down Seattle

There are still flaws in their game, but the Lynx are off to a 2-0 start with a vastly overhauled roster and a focus on balance instead of relying on their top players.
Reigning WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart, right, is out this season with a ruptured Achilles tendon while the Lynx's Maya Moore, another MVP, is taking the y

Missing their stars, Lynx, Storm are exhibit A for talent trends in WNBA

More than perhaps ever, the WNBA is less about its big stars and more about the improved level of play of a steadily improving talent flow.
The Lynx Damiris Dantas, left, and Sylvia Fowles, right, blocked the shot of Chicago's Cheyenne Parker under the net during the first quarter

Rookies give Lynx's new look some shine in season-opening victory

The Lynx got some old and a whole lot of new to kick off the season in a 89-71 victory over Chicago in front of an announced crowd of 8,524 at Target Center.
Seeing the Lynx’s transition through was important for Sylvia Fowles. And along the way she noticed that she liked the rebuilt team’s new vibe.

In a loyal place: Fowles returns as leader of young Lynx team

Sylvia Fowles is a holdover on a retooled Lynx team, and is a willing go-to leader. "You're talking about loyalty here," Fowles said.

Five keys to success for the Lynx this season

The team has a slew of new faces, including three rookies — Shao Ting, Napheesa Collier and Jessica Shepard — and the goal of retooling and rebuilding on the fly.
Lynx guard Seimone Augustus drove by Seattle's Jewell Loyd last August

Augustus ruled out of Lynx opener Saturday; Christmas-Kelly questionable

Seimone Augustus and Karima Christmas-Kelly are battling knee soreness. The Lynx open the 2019 season vs. Chicago on Saturday at Target Center.
Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve

Lynx release Larkins, set roster for Saturday night's WNBA opener

The team waived veteran forward Erlana Larkins on Wednesday and will put Temi Fagbenle on the temporarily suspended list this week to get the roster to 12 players.
Going into Wednesday's WNBA draft, coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve's Lynx are in transition. They're coming off an 18-16 season and a first-rou

Lynx hope to fill needs in Wednesday's WNBA draft

Minnesota's first pick is No. 6 in the first round.
Gorgui Dieng said all of his teammates came out to support his foundation fundraiser Thursday night. “They showed how much they cared. Like I always

Charity work brings Wolves together

Events recently hold special meaning for players Dieng, Jones.
March 29, 2003: Dwyane Wade (arm up) took a quantum leap at the Metrodome during the Midwest Regional while with Marquette.

Wade has fond memories of his limited times in Minnesota

In 2003, Dwyane Wade took a quantum leap at the Metrodome while helping Marquette into the Final Four.
Minesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins struggles to control the ball as Miami guard Dwyane Wade defends in the third quarter

Wolves squeak out victory over Wade-led Miami

Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 24 points but his last-second three-point attempt bounced off the rim, preserving a Timberwolves home win.
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns got his shot blocked by Portland’s Evan Turner in the fourth quarter Monday.

Wolves dig deeper (as in digging a deeper hole in loss to Blazers)

Down 19 points in the second quarter but up three entering the fourth, the Wolves faded to a 132-122 loss to Portland. "Feels like Groundhog Day right now,'' Ryan Saunders said.
Timberwolves forward Robert Covington had surgery Monday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester designed to alleviate swelling in the right knee he injured e

Covington has knee surgery to discover source of swelling

The forward already had missed 40 consecutive games since suffering a bone bruise Dec. 31 at New Orleans.
For the second consecutive season Gophers women’s basketball guard Kenisha Bell was named an honorable mention All-America by the Associated Press.

Gophers' Bell named All-America honorable mention again

The senior guard averaged 19.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists this season.
Plenette Pierson flexed her muscles to celebrate an and-one opportunity created by Sylvia Fowles during the 2017 season.

Ex-player Pierson returns to Lynx as assistant coach

Plenette Pierson was with the Lynx in 2017 when they won their most recent WNBA title.
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns drove to the basket as Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins raced to defend

Sideline play helps Wolves nip Golden State 131-130 in OT

Karl-Anthony Towns had a rough night, but drew a late foul and sank the game-winning free throws with under a second remaining in overtime.
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders expresses his frustration during the second half.

Another night of weak defense costs Wolves in loss to Clippers

Los Angeles scored 42 points in the first quarter and clinched a playoff spot. The Wolves That lack of defensive intensity "has been the story of a number of games," interim coach Ryan Saunders said.
Entering Tuesday’s game with the Los Angeles Clippers at Target Center, Wolves point guard Tyus Jones is first in the NBA in assist-to-turnover rati

Wolves' Jones posting league-best assist-to-turnover ratio

Jones said the stat is a product of emphasis by the coaches. But it's also being good at making the initial read on a play.
Timberwolves rookie forward Keita Bates-Diop wil see his versatility put to the test in varying roles over the final nine games of the season.

Exam time? Saunders to test Wolves' versatility in final games

Interim coach Ryan Saunders said he will do some experimentation to see how some players fare in unusual situations over the final nine games of the season.
The Wolves’ postseason plans may be out of reach, but they’ll face plenty of playoff teams the rest of the way — including another contest with

Gas is low, but no talk of Wolves tanking

The combination of injuries to Wolves players and the team's schedule down the stretch could conspire to help the team come draft lottery time. But to a man players and coaches say they'll play hard the final 11 games.
The Warriors' Andrew Bogut dunked over the Timberwolves' defense in Golden State's 117-107 victory at Target Center on Tuesday.

Wolves hot start fades against relentless Warriors

The Wolves shot only 40.4 percent. On the defensive end,they let the Warriors do just about whatever they wanted, burning the Wolves over and over.
The Jones brothers -- Tyus of the Timberwolves, left, and Tre of the Duke Blue Devils -- are keeping tabs on one another, especially with the start of

NCAA tournament is a family affair for Tyus and Tre Jones

Tyus was named Most Outstanding Player while leading Duke to the 2015 NCAA title. Now, perhaps his brother will follow in those footsteps.
Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Kenisha Bell (23) was hugged by Annalese Lamke (41) as they celebrated a victory over Michigan State earlier this month

Whalen happy to keep coaching as Gophers draw Northern Iowa in WNIT

The Gophers get at least one more home game.
Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen spoke with Kenisha Bell during a game at Williams Arena last month.

Gophers women more likely in line for WNIT berth, not NCAAs

The team will learn its postseason fate on Monday night.
Gophers head coach Lindsay Whalen spoke to players during a home game in January.

Ice-cold Gophers dig hole, lose Big Ten tournament opener to Indiana

Tenth-seeded Indiana took a 15-point lead in the first half while the Gophers missed all but one of the 15 three-pointers they took in making a quick Big Ten exit.
Gophers guard/forward Destiny Pitts hit a 3-pointer against Wisconsin to open the Big Ten season in December. The conference tournament continues Thur

For Gophers' Pitts, fearlessness is in her nature

In Destiny Pitts, Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen sees a sophomore who never panics, always seems to be the one smiling at crunch time and is never afraid.
Guard Destiny Pitts (3) scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Gophers women's basketball team over Michigan State 81-63 at Williams Arena on Sunday

Gophers women dominate final regular-season game, beat Michigan State 82-63

The Gophers rolled and go to Indianapolis on a high note.
Gophers guard Kenisha Bell was third in the Big Ten in scoring (18.8) entering the weekend. She was tied for ninth in assists (4.3) and third in steal

Bell among four Gophers bidding farewell to the Barn

On senior day, Gophers women's basketball coach Lindsay Whalen said she will remember Palma Kaposi's enthusiasm, Irene Garrido Perez's consistent approach, Annalese Lamke's work ethic and Kenisha Bell's heart.
Gophers head coach Lindsay Whalen spoke with Kenisha Bell during a game vs. Rutgers earlier this month.

After last-second loss, U women need another streak for success

A weak nonconference schedule and a stretch of seven Big Ten losses in eight games have made the Gophers a long shot to make the NCAA tournament
Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns dunked the ball in the second quarter against the Kings on Monday night.

Towns returns with 34 points, 21 rebounds in Wolves win over Kings

Karl-Anthony Towns led a 20-1 run in the second quarter that helped the Wolves overcome a slow start and move up a bit in the playoff chase.
Timberwolves center Karl Anthony-Towns ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • – Minneapolis, MN – February 11, 2019, Target Center, NBA,

Car crash outcome was fortunate for Wolves' Towns

According to Towns, the car in front of them slowed down for another accident further down the road, forcing them to a rather abrupt stop. Then Towns' SUV was hit from behind, he said.
Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon, right, went to the basket as defended by Wolves veteran Luol Deng, who has gone from almost never playing to making many

Saunders takes deep dive into Wolves bench when needed

One of interim coach Ryan Saunders' strengths since taking over the Wolves has been his willingness to make major use of his reserves when needed.
Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo drives against Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins during the second half

Wolves' reserves stand out but NBA-leading Milwaukee puts up 140

The Wolves led by two entering the fourth and then the Bucks went to work, ending the game on a 33-18 run over the final 12 minutes.
Karl-Anthony Towns missed Friday’s game after the car he was riding in was involved in a collision that morning.

Towns unavailable again for Wolves; details of crash emerge

The State Patrol said the Timberwolves All-Star had a minor injury as a result of Thursday's car crash and declined treatment at the scene. He missed a second consecutive game Saturday.
Center Karl-Anthony Towns, fresh off his All-Star appearance, says the Wolves “have to capitalize on the opportunity” to earn a playoff berth.

Wolves have mysteries to solve, games to win as season resumes

The Timberwolves are still convinced that leapfrogging three teams to get to a playoff spot is possible with only 25 games left in the season.
Coach coach Brenda Oldfield (now Frese) hugged Lindsey Whalen after a win over Purdue in 2002. Now, Frese is at Maryland and Whalen is coach of the Go

Full circle: Whalen matches skills with former U coach Frese for 1st time

Maryland coach Brenda Frese took the Gophers women's basketball team from nowhere to national relevance, thanks in large part to guard Lindsay Whalen. The two coach against each other tonight.
Ryan Saunders talked strategy with Tyus Jones during a game on Jan. 11. Jones hasn't played since Jan. 15

Welcome back: Jones could return to Wolves on Friday vs. Knicks

Tyus Jones, who missed 13 games after spraining his left ankle in Philadelphia Jan. 15, returns to a Wolves team that, coming out of the All-Star break, is inching back to health.
Gophers guard Kenisha Bell drove around Penn State forward Lauren Ebo (33) in the first quarter Sunday. Bell shook off an ankle injury to score 17 poi

After early scare, U women run past Penn State to win by 30

Kenisha Bell hobbled off the court two minutes into the game after turning her ankle. But her return set off the Gophers to their highest scoring output of the season.
A victory over then-No. 17 Rutgers generated a celebration from Kenisha Bell and fit in with the Gophers’ run of success.

Whalen revises her tactics with Gophers players

The Gophers women's basketball team has won five in a row. Coach Lindsay Whalen has not just switched the lineup to go small but also her approach to the job, an on-the-fly adjustment she has found gratifying.
Derrick Rose (25) attempted a shot in the second quarter.

Saunders shakes up starting five; Wolves respond with needed win

Luol Deng and Dario Saric started at forward in place of Taj Gibson and Andrew Wiggins. Derrick Rose returned with a big night and the Wolves held off a late-game surge by the Clippers.
Wolves, Clippers coaches reminisce about Flip Saunders

Wolves, Clippers coaches reminisce about Flip Saunders

It was another milestone Monday for Timberwolves interim coach Ryan Saunders, who coached against one of his father's best friends at Target Center.
Gophers forward Taiye Bello (5) blocked the shot of Northwestern's Veronica Burton during Minnesota's 73-64 overtime victory at Williams Arena on Sund

U women roar past Northwestern in overtime for fourth straight win

Minnesota scored the final four points of regulation to force overtime, then scored the first nine points in the extra session in a 73-64 victory.
Gophers head coach Lindsay Whalen spoke with Kenisha Bell during a game vs. Rutgers last week.

Whalen's adjustments in Big Ten play have turned Gophers around

A revamped, smaller Gophers women's basketball lineup — Destiny Pitts (5-10), Jasmine Brunson (5-8) and Kenisha Bell (5-9), along with the 6-1 Irene Garrido Perez and the 6-2 Tayie Bello — has gone 3-0.
Minnesota Lynx forward Damiris Dantas (34) was fouled by Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (10) when Dantas was a rookie with the Lynx in 2014.

Dantas set to join Lynx after Atlanta declines to match offer

The Lynx signed 6-foot-3 forward Damiris Dantas to an offer sheet earlier this week, and Atlanta had four days to match the offer.
Gophers guard Kenisha Bell (23) and Rutgers' Tekia Mack (31) fought for a loose ball in the second quarter Sunday. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@sta

Awful to awfully good: U women dominate 2nd half, beat No. 17 Rutgers

Even now, well into her first season coaching the Gophers women's basketball team, Lindsay Whalen is learning things about her team.
New Orleans guard E'Twaun Moore shoots as Timberwolves forward Robert Covington tries to defend during the second half of a game Dec. 31. Tom Thibodea

Wolves' three-point defense improving under Saunders

When Ryan Saunders replaced Tom Thibodeau the Wolves were 29th in the league in opponent's three-point percentage (37.3 percent). In Saunders' first 11 games they were fourth (34 percent).
Minnesota Lynx forward Seimone Augustus drives past Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas during the second half of a WNBA basketball game Friday, Aug.

Lynx re-sign Augustus, begin retooling roster on first day of free agency

The Lynx on Friday made two early moves in WNBA free agency that likely will not be the last for the team this offseason.
Karima Christmas-Kelly, seen here in 2017 while with Dallas playing the Lynx.

Lynx start needed roster makeover by adding Christmas-Kelly

Karima Christmas-Kelly gives the Lynx a much-needed veteran to add to a roster that must evolve after eight years of relative stability and four WNBA titles..

Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson balancing life's many demands

This tender scene was striking.
Andrew Wiggins

More to come? Rebound surge a good sign for Wiggins

Wolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders said increased aggressiveness on the boards can translate to other areas of Andrew Wiggins game, too.
Jasmine Brunson (21), Irene Garrido Perez (31), Taiye Bello (5), Kenisha Bell (23) and Destiny Pitts (3) walked off the court at the end of the game.

Seven scoreless minutes doom Gophers women to another loss

Minnesota went from a two-point lead over Ohio State moments into the fourth quarter to a 14-point deficit, leaving coach Lindsay Whalen unhappy with her team at both ends of the court.
Gophers guard Gabe Kalscheur hit a 3-pointer against the defense of Penn State guard Myles Dread

Kalscheur's 'business' mentality vital to hot start with Gophers

Freshman Gabe Kalscheur has started every game for the Gophers, often taking on the job of guarding the other team's top perimeter player.
Gophers guard Kenisha Bell guarded Purdue guard Karissa McLaughlin

Cold inside the Barn: U women can't find buckets in loss to Purdue

The Gophers shot just 11-for-34 in the second half against the Boilermakers, leading to another Big Ten loss that coach Lindsay Whalen said was not for lack of effort. "Stay the course," she said emphatically.
Derrick Rose spoke with Timberwolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders in the second quarter Sunday vs. Phoenix. Rose finished with 31 points, includin

Saunders chose right in riding Rose's hot shooting hand

With a home win desperately needed, Wolves coach Ryan Saunders rode with Derrick Rose on Sunday, who played all 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and 22½ of 24 minutes in the second half.
Derrick Rose took the winning jumper over the Suns' Mikal Bridges on Sunday night at Target Center. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • �

Derrick Rose's last-second jumper sends Wolves past Phoenix 116-114

His winning basket capped a 29-point second half against the stubborn Suns.
Karl Anthony-Towns grabbed a rebound in the first quarter against Phoenix on Sunday night.

Foul trouble becoming an issue for Wolves' Karl-Anthony Towns

The All-Star center leads the lead with six disqualifications.
Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves are running out of wiggle room in the West after Friday’s close loss to San Antonio.

The time is now: Wolves look to go on a run before All-Star break

Friday's loss left the Wolves three games behind the Lakers for the final playoff spot in the conference. And Minnesota will play its next four games in seven days, three of them on the road, starting Sunday vs. Phoenix. It's time for a run.
Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) drives to the basket against Suns center Deandre Ayton during the first half of their game on Dec. 15 in Phoenix

Suns not shining so brightly ahead of tilts with TImberwolves

The Wolves have back-to-back games looming with Phoenix, the worst team in the conference. But the Wolves already have lost to the Suns, in Phoenix on Dec. 15, one of just 11 games they have won.
Maya Moore, left, fights for the loose ball against the Los Angeles Sparks' Alana Beard, middle, Nneka Ogwumike during the game that eliminated the Ly

Questions linger after report Moore may sit out 2019 WNBA season

This much is clear: If Maya Moore does not play, it would be difficult news for a Lynx team already in transition with Lindsay Whalen's retirement and other roster issues.
Kenisha Bell (23) was defended by Alexis Sevillian (5) in the third quarter.

Another second-half collapse sends U women to fourth loss in a row

Center Megan Gustafson of No. 22-ranked Iowa dominated Minnesota with 34 points and 13 rebounds as the 23rd-ranked Gophers went from an eight-point halftime lead to an 18-point loss.
Illinois' Arieal Scott and the Gophers' Taiye Bello fought for a loose ball in a Jan. 6 game. To end their three-game losing streak, the Gophers will

After 12-0 start, what's behind U women's three-game losing streak?

The No. 18 Gophers will play host to No. 17 Iowa tonight in a game that's as must-win as can be at this point in the season. What needs to change for the Gophers?
Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns dunked for two of his 27 points vs. New Orleans on Saturday.

Towns' 27-27 performance carries Wolves past Pelicans

The Wolves made the plays at the end they failed to a night earlier to record their second victory under Ryan Saunders.
Timberwolves forward Dario Saric earlier this season.

Wolves' Dario Saric vows to shoot his way out of slump

And he stepped up Saturday with a productive second half.
Karl-Anthony Towns said of Ryan Saunders' coaching debut: “He played chess all night and came out with a checkmate."

Engaged not enraged: Saunders sets new tone running the Wolves

While he's far from making all of the changes he intends to introduce in a bid to shed the 'interim coach' label, Ryan Saunders brought a radically different presence to the bench during his first game in charge.
Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins drives between Oklahoma City forward Jerami Grant (9) and center Steven Adams (12) in the first half

Wiggins scores 40; Wolves win game of 'commotion and emotion' in Saunders' debut

From the first play they scored on, which was one of his father's favorites, the Timberwolves played with passion that led to a 119-117 victory.
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