Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Lynx owner believed in team, his faith was rewarded last season

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: May 20, 2012 - 12:42 AM

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said one memory she will always have of her team's championship run involves team owner Glen Taylor. When he received the WNBA championship trophy from league president Laurel Richie.

Reeve has a lot of respect fro Taylor. "Mr. Taylor is an enlightened guy who understands that to be a leader in the community, means that you participate," Reeve said. "You are in the forefront in things like society issues, equality between men and women and that sort of thing.

"He is a leader and for him that was probably the reason that pulled him in [the WNBA]. The idea of the business model someday making money, was something that you hope for."

The Lynx made money in their first two seasons, 1999 and 2000, broke about even the third and have lost money ever season since, team sources say, until last season.

Reeve said Taylor has been passionate about the Lynx, often sitting with his wife Becky in front row seats between the team bench and press row.

"I joke with him about how close he sits to our bench," Reeve said. "Our fans and our players love it. The coach?  Not so much. It is a little too close for me. He told me he heard some interesting words that came out of my mouth.

"It is a great story to have the persistence that he had and to stick with it at a time when, quite frankly, many people told him that he was nuts for doing what he was doing. And he probably still hears it.

"So it was really gratifying to be able to present – to see him with Laurel Richie handing him that trophy. There are moments of a championship that you will never forget. That is one of them.

"Where you say this guy, millions of dollars that he is invested in this team despite all the people coming out of the woodwork saying, ' Why are you doing it?' "

Richie will be at Target Center on Sunday morning when the players and coaches on the Lynx receive their championship rings at 11 a.m. -- fans are urged to be in their seats by 10:45 not to miss anything.

*The WNBA salary cap is $878,000 and team have to spend at least $844,000. So players on a team at the top of the cap, average $79,818. Other big expenses for teams are travel costs.

"We [fly] commercial," Reeve said, "and if we are fortunate to have frequent flyer miles, we may get an upgrade. That is where the NBA started. Bill [Laimbeer, former Detroit Shock coach]  was always good about telling me that. 'Hey, I flew commercial when I first came into the league.' "

Other expenses settle around the operation of the team, Reeve said, such as the housing, the cars, etc.

Big coaches' salaries? Reeve laughed at that question.

THORN GOT LAST ROSTER SPOT

Reeve liked both 5-11 forward Queralt Casas of Spain and 6-0 guard/forward Julie Wojta of Wisconsin-Green Bay. But both were cut on Wednesday. They were the last two cuts.

Wojta, who has signed to play with a pro team in Belgium, came closest to making the team.

They both spent good time here, Reeve said.

"From a basketball standpoint , they really did some good things as they got more and more comfortable," Reeve said. "Their games are very different.

“For Julie, that was the one that was on a lot of people’s radar screen. We have talked to her about what needs to happen now for her to try to get a spot in this league," Reeve said. "We gave her a good, hard look and in the end we just said, we felt like having a third ball-handler [Erin Thorn] was really important to this squad. So that was what the separator was.”

Thorn, an unrestricted free agent, was signed by the Lynx in the offseason. She can play either guard spots and shooting threes is one of her strengths. Thorn has played six seasons with the New York Liberty and three with the Chicago Sky.

LYNX'S FOE ON TUESDAY LOSES

There was a big comeback in the only WNBA game on Friday and there was another on Saturday.

Connecticut outscored New York 27-15 in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden to beat the Liberty 78-73.

Cappie Pondexter had 19 points and Plenette Pierson 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Liberty who were playing their only game on their home court this year. The Lynx and New York will be at the Purdential Centerin Newark, N.J., on Tuesday. The Liberty has to play their because the Garden is in the second year of a three-year renovation.

Tina Charles led the Sun with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Three teammates also were in double digits.

New York outrebounded the Sun 44-42, shot almost as well 38.1 percent to 39.7 percent, had fewer turnovers, 10 to 11, but ... the Liberty were dreadful on three pointers (2 for 15) and at the free throw line (15 for 24).

The Sun stole this game.

* San Antonio beat Tulsa 88-79, but Silver Stars trailed at half and had to work to beat a three-victory team in 2011. ... Two rookies had good first games for the Shock. Glory Johnson, who many mock drafts had going to the Lynx, had 11 points and 10 rebounds and guard Riquna Williams had 12 points. Guard Temeka Johnson, traded from Phoenix, hAd 21 points and nine assists. ... Sophia Young had 20 points and 13 boards for SA.

* Indiana beat Atlanta 92-84 behind a bunch of three-point shots. The Fever made 12 threes on 12 of 21 shooting, the Dream just four. Katie Douglas, the lefty with touch, made three from behind the arc and had 21 points.\

* Chicago, the team the Lynx routed Tuesday in an exhibition game, won 69-57 in Washington. Sylvia Fowles had 23 points and 12 rebounds. She was 10 of 14 from the floor.

Attendance first weekend so far:

Washington, 11,415

Seattle, 9,686

Indiana, 9,403

New York, 8,112

Tulsa, 7,509

Lynx are expecting over 10,000. With time of game -- 11:30 a.m. -- and it being on national TV (Ch. 5), not sure they can draw more than Mystics did in D.C.

 

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