Larkins gives Indiana board help against loaded Lynx
- Blog Post by: Roman Augustoviz
- October 14, 2012 - 2:03 PM
Indiana may be one team that has somebody comparable to the Lynx's Rebekkah Brunson on the boards.
The Fever have moved forward Erlana Larkins into the starting lineup for the playoffs and the third-year player has responded well, averaging 10.8 points, 10.2 rebounds in five starts and one game off the bench.
Brunson is averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Lynx.
Larkins is 6-1, 205. Brunson is listed at 6-2. 184.
“We’d considered changing the lineup in the second-half of the season, but we just loved having her come off the bench." said Fever coach Lin Dunn, who started Larkins only twice in 34 regular-season games. "Talk about energy, effort and intensity coming off the bench, she is a great sixth man."
Indiana's first playoff series forced the Fever to reassess that.
"We decided just needed more toughness and more rebounding to start the game.," Dunn said. "In the Atlanta series, they exploited us so much on the boards that I decided it was time to make that move and I did. It has certainly paid off for us.”
THE PRIZE IN SIGHT
Fever star Tamika Catchings, 33, is still trying to win her first WNBA title.
“There is always a sense of urgency with her to be first, no matter what it is – win a gold medal, win a national championship, win a pick-up game – that is just part of who she is," Dunn said. "I don’t think there is any doubt that we would love to see her have a WNBA Championship, but it is not going to be easy. Minnesota is standing in our way. They’ve got home court [advantage], so if you think we’ve been mentally tough through the playoffs, now we really have to be in this final.
“The only edge that I can think of is that the pressure is on them – they’re expected to win. We’re not the favorite, we’re the underdog. The pressure is on them to protect home court right off the bat. As far as player-for-player and match-up for match-up, they’re good at every spot and then their depth, to me, when you talk about where they’re really strong is when you’ve got people like (Candice) Wiggins, (Monica) Wright and (Devereaux) Peters coming off the bench.
"I wonder sometimes if there is anybody on their team that wasn’t an All-American or a first-round pick. They’re just loaded, they’re loaded with talent. It is going to be a tough challenge for us.”
Coach Dunn, you can stop your wondering. Here is a Lynx breakdown:
First round picks: Eight
Seimone Augustus: first overall pick in 2006 draft by Lynx. ... Three-time Kodak [coaches'] all-american; everyone's player of year as senior at LSU
Maya Moore: first overall pick in 2011 by Lynx ... Four-time all-american, three time winner of Wade Trophy given to nation's best player
Lindsay Whalen: fourth overall pick in 2004 draft by Connecticut. ... Two-time Kodak first team all-american
Rebekkah Brunson: 10th overall pick in 2004 draft by Sacramento. ... Big East first team and defensive player of year as senior
Candice Wiggins: third overall in 2008 draft by Lynx ... Four time Kodak all-american, won Wade Trophy as senior at Stanford
Monica Wright: second overall pick in 2010 draft by Lynx. ... Three-time Associated Press all-american and coaches' defensive player of year at Virginia as senior.
Amber Harris: fourth overall pick in 2011 draft by Lynx. ... Two-time Kodak all-american.
Devereaux Peters: third overall pick in 2012 by Lynx ... Two-time Big East defensive player of the year
Erin Thorn: second round pick (17th overall) in 2003 by New York. ... Three times on Mountain West first all-conference team
Jessica Adair: third round pick (34th overall) in 2009 by Phoenix ... Three-time all-Atlantic pick at George Washington
Taj McWilliams-Franklin: third round pick (32nd overall) in 1999 draft by Orlando. ... NAIA player of year as senior at St. Edward's
So if you are counting, the Lynx have eight first-round picks on their roster and five all-americans. That's all.
© 2016 Star Tribune