Health concerns continue to mount for the Minnesota Lynx with less than two weeks before their WNBA opener.
With the news that Devereaux Peters will have arthroscopic on her left knee in the coming days, the preseason game the Lynx had with the Australian national team Monday at Target Center was the first chance to answer these questions:
Who will replace Peters, Minnesota’s top backup at forward and center? And is that player currently on the team’s roster?
In an 82-66 victory over the Aussies, three rookies began stating their case. Waltiea Rolle scored 10 of her team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter. Brazilian Damiris Dantas scored nine points, but had just one rebound. Forward Asia Taylor scored 10 points and had three rebounds.
“All three of them had good moments,’’ Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “But, at the same time, Australia is not a WNBA team. These next set of games will be more revealing.’’
They need to be. The news on Peters comes a week after top backup guard Monica Wright had an arthroscopic procedure done on her left knee. Neither she nor Peters — who had a similar procedure done during the offseason a year ago — will be ready for the May 16 opener. On Monday night, Peters said she expected a four- to six-week recovery period.
For a Lynx team scheduled to play nine games in the first 24 days of the season, finding answers to those holes in the rotation is paramount. Veteran Tan White figures to pick up most of Wright’s minutes.
At the post? Veteran Rebekkah Brunson, still very sore after her season overseas, won’t be with the team until after the WNBA preseason tournament in Orlando this weekend. So those two games will be better tests for tough but undersized Taylor, 6-6 Rolle and 6-4 Dantas.
A backup post player might come from outside. “We’ll be very aware of the waiver wire,” Reeve said.
In a less-than-crisp game that featured a total of 49 turnovers, the Lynx led by 16 early in the third quarter only to have the Australian team pull within one late in the quarter. The Lynx led by two in the fourth before Rolle started scoring.
And now, with most of the starters back, the Lynx will begin prepping for their preseason tournament. Reeve said three players will be cut before Tuesday’s practice begins, putting her in position to start looking more seriously at rotations, especially at backup center and forward.
“This was a good confidence-builder for the group,” Reeve said of her rookies. “When we get down to Orlando we’ll see if we have any keepers.”