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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Wright gives Lynx good option off the bench

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: June 19, 2012 - 9:58 PM

The play of third-year guard Monica Wright was one of the bright spots for the Lynx (10-1) in their just completed three-game road trip. She averaged 11.6 points and three assists in one start and two games off the bench.

“She has figured it out through a couple seasons overseas and obviously [her] WNBA seasons that being fast all the time isn’t necessarily going to get the job done," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "And now she is understanding tempo.

“You can still use your speed, but pick your spots. Pause for a moment and then attacking. Change of direction with her dribble and then attacking."

Wright, who  played at Virginia, was the No. 2 overall in the 2010 WNBA draft. She is averaging 9.1 points this season, nearly double her average of 5.1 as a reserve a year ago. She also has three assists in each of the past five games and is shooting 52.8 percent from the field.

She was below 38.0 percent in each of her first two seasons.

Reeve likes Wright's unique skills: “She is so different than any perimeter player that I have. She is so fast, she is so strong, she can get to the rim. She is finishing at the rim, which I am really proud of her for. She has been critical for us.”

LOST IN SHUFFLE

While Wright is averaging 19.6 minutes -- sixth on the team behind the five starters -- veteran guard Erin Thorn is playing just 5.2 minutes per game.

 “Certainly if [Thorn]  gets minutes on the court, she has been very productive for us," Reeve said. "But right now the biggest thing she is doing is she sees a lot. A  veteran of 10 years, she has played overseas, played [in the WNBA]  for a number of years, played on quality teams.

"She sees what is happening and she is able to impart her wisdom on players as they come off the court."

Thorn, in her 10th WNBA season, signed as a free agent in the offseason. She played for Chicago the past three years and for New York the previous six. Those happen to be the Lynx's next two opponents.

New York plays at Target Center on Thursday, Chicago on Saturday.

"Certainly when she gets her opportunity, she knows exactly what she is supposed to be doing," Reeve said. "She has got great attention to detail and anytime you can shoot the ball the way she can shoot the ball, she has been really helpful."

Thorn is a career 37.3 percent shooter from three-point range. She is two for five behind the arc this season.

"Her attitude has been great," Reeve said. " 'E' was given the lay of the land before she signed. We did talk about trying to find her the best opportunity because we do believe in her as a player.

"We just have a situation where we have a lot of really good players, especially on the perimeter. She has handled that like a pro, just like we hoped she would. I’m certain that she wants to play more. And I am certain that she feels like she could help. And I would 100 percent believe that.

"We are not in that situation where we are able to give the minutes around as much as we would like to."

* Post players Amber Harris and Jessica Adair are both averaging under 10 minutes. ... Most games so far, Reeve has used an eight-player rotation primarily with Wright and Candice Wiggins filling in on the perimeter and rookie Devereaux Peters on the inside.

NEXT UP NEW YORK

The New York Liberty, two days before their visit to Minneapolis, beat Atlanta 73-60 on Tuesday. Point guard Cappie Pondexter orchestrated the victory with 14 points and 13 assists -- two shy of her career high.

Four players for the Liberty (4-7)  were in double figures, including Essence Carson who also had 14 points. She made three of four attempts from behind the arc. New York was six of 14 on three-point shots.

The Liberty played without forward Plenette Pierson, their second-leading scoer at 11.3 points per game, because of a nagging injury to her right leg.

Sancho Lyttle had 13 points and 13 boards for Atlanta. Point guard Lindsay Harding also had 13 points before injuring her right ankle or foot with 4:40 to play after becoming tangled up with Carson. Harding did not return.

Atlanta was already without Angel McCoughtry, the league's leading scorer (22.7 ppg). She is day-to-day with a knee injury (medial collateral ligament).

New York's 10-0 run, starting late in the third quarter and into fourth, gave the Liberty a 62-49 lead.

SUN SHINES

In a matchup of Eastern powers, Connecticut edged Indiana 88-85 in overtime. Guard Kara Lawson had 22 points for the Sun, including a mid-range basket with five seconds left in the extra period for the final margin.

Katie Douglas led the Fever with 23 points and nine rebounds. The Sun is now 9-2, which is the second best record in the league. Indiana falls to 5-4.

Tamika Catchings, the league MVP last season, scored on a drive with 13.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 81-all and force an overtime. She tried the same strategy in overtime, with her team trailing 86-85 in the last minute, but her shot was blocked by Asjha Jones.

 

 

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