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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Taj on Lynx losing first game: "We will be fine"

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: October 15, 2012 - 11:29 PM

Taj McWilliams-Franklin will play in her 62nd playoff game on Wednesday when the Lynx face Indiana again.

She said the Lynx will be O.K. A loss in the first game of the best-of-five WNBA Finals to the Fever does not call for drastic measures.

“There are no big adjustments we make going into Game 2," said McWilliams-Franklin, in her 14th WNBA season. "We’ve played the way we’ve been playing to get us to this point. [If] we sharpen what we need to sharpen as far as our execution goes, I think we’ll be fine.

"We’re not going to sit down and change who we are. We were 27-7, so you don’t change fundamentally who you are, you just sharpen what you do well. Sharpen-up our execution; sharpen-up our fast breaks – basics.”

She said the team knows what it has to do.

"We have nine players who played in the Finals last year," she said, "and Devereaux Peters played in the final game of the NCAA tournament, so I don’t know if you have to tell any player anything. They know the enormity of the situation. They know about losing the home-court advantage, and they know what we have to do to win.”

PETERS LIKES CHALLENGES

Devereaux Peters is a slim 6-2 rookie center for the Lynx still learning about the league.

But she is not afraid of competition. Asked about how she feels about 6-8 Brittney Griner of Baylor and 6-5 Elena Delle Donne coming into the league next season, Peters said she is excited.

"It is great for the league to have a little bit more  dynamic players that bring a different aspect to the game," Peters said.

A third exciting college prospect is guard Skylar Diggins, a teammate of Peters at Notre Dame which reached the title game in the NCAA tournament the past two years before losing.

"[Diggins] has a great ability to make everyone around her a lot better," Peters said. "Playing with her a couple of years, I know I have grown from playing with her. She can definitely be the type of player that can change a team. She will definitely help the league and help a team tremendously."

Peters said being in big college games helps her in the playoffs to an extent. The dynamics in the playoffs are different, she said.

"This is a series," Peters said. "In college, you win or you are out. But I definitely think it helps to be in those situations."

She said she badly wanted to win an NCAA championship but, if the Lynx win the WNBA, "it will make it that much sweeter." Those title losses, she said, will drive her a little harder in the league playoffs.

McWilliams-Franklin's best advice to her this season, Peters said, is to stay even keel during a game. "I usually am like calm or I am freaking out," Peters said. "[I need] to really find an in-between so I can stay in the game and stay focused."

 BRICK WALL

How hard was it for the Lynx to score on Indiana on Sunday? Here is one offensive possession early in the second quarter  that tell the tale:

* Lindsay Whalen has her shot blocked, Maya Moore misses a three-pointer, Taj McWilliams-Franklin misses. Monica Wright gets the ball and drives for a basket to get Lynx within 25-22.

STATE OF WNBA

Laurel Richie, president of the WNBA, was at Target Center for Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday.

She was asked about the record low attendance (7,457 per game) this season. "We are not at all pleased with where our overall attendance ended up," Richie said.

But she said group sales and season ticket renewals were improving.

Richie also said she had a handful of calls from potential owners of new WNBA teams. "At this point in time, we do not have plans to expand," Richie said, "but that's the beauty of the offseason when we get to step back and take stop of where we are."

The 2013 draft class had a lot of possibility and potential, Richie said. If the top players do decide to become WNBA players "that would be fabulous for the league and fabulous for women's basketball," Richie said.

Asked about Phoenix's handling of Diana Taurasi's injuries -- she played in the Olympics but barely played in the WNBA before them or after -- Richie said she heard the chatter.

Actually criticism would be a better word. The Mercury were accused of trying to sabotage their season to be in the draft lottery and when coach Corey Gaines got the No. 1 pick, the outrage only increased on twitter and blogs.

"If there had been anything that I personally of the league overall felt was improper, we would have absolutely taken action," Richie said.

Asked if the lottery needs fixing so the worst teams have a better chance at the top pick, Richie said the competition committee meets in December. "We'll see if that bubbles up as an issue," she said.

 

 

 

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