The media didn’t get to see it all, but it appears we saw what mattered.
The Lynx ran a four-quarter, fully-officiated, on-the-main-court scrimmage Wednesday night against a team of men that practice against them during the season. With the Lynx starting their WNBA season a week later than everyone else, it was important to get a game-like experience in before Saturday's season opener against Connecticut at Target Center.
The scrimmage was closed until early in the fourth quarter. But that’s OK, because that’s when the scrimmage got interesting.
Down 10 with less than six minutes left, the Lynx finished the scrimmage on a 22-10 run to win 83-81. The last-minute star? Lindsay Whalen, of course. She fed Maya Moore for a three-pointer with 45 seconds left that tied the game at 80. Then, with 5.6 seconds left, coming out of a time out, Whalen got the ball, drove the lane, scored and was fouled and made the free throw with 2.4 seconds left.
Xavier Crawford, the 7-foot former center at Cal State-Northridge, led all scorers with 30 points.
For the Lynx? Moore had 19 points and eight rebounds, Whalen had 15 points and six assists, Monica Wright had 12 points and four assists and Seimone Augustus had nine points, four of which ignited the Lynx comeback over the final six minutes.
Rookie Sugar Rodgers scored eight points, including two three pointers.
“The thing that came through the most was that we have to be aggressive from the get-go,” said coach Cheryl Reeve. The Lynx started slow before finishing strong; they were outscored by 10 points over the second and third quarters. “We have to come out with the mindset of setting the tone. That’s why we needed a game situation, which we haven’t had.”
The men’s team was coached by Lynx assistant Jim Petersen, who prepped his group by having them watch film of Connecticut so they could run the same sets the Sun will use Saturday. That, too, helped.
But, most of all, just being in a game-like situation was important for a Lynx team that has been in training camp for a long time.
“It was good getting challenged by someone other than your teammates,” Moore said. “I think it was good for us. Our sense of urgency at the beginning of the game is going to be huge, and we learned that today. We were reminded of that.”
Said Whalen: “Being able to make plays down the stretch is huge, and I think we learned, from an aggressiveness level, where we need to be to start games. Now it’s time to get it going. We’re looking forward to that.’’
Reeve told the team Wednesday was the official end to training camp. The team will take a day off Thursday, then come to practice Friday in regular-season mode, preparing for the Sun, which will play Saturday on the second half of a back-to-back.
Some other items:
--Reeve said center Janel McCarville, whose work on conditioning has been hampered by injury, is not yet ready to play the 25 or so minutes per game she had hoped. McCarville may be limited to about 20 minutes in the first few games.
--Rodgers, who was in the game down the stretch, played well.
--Whalen said she has reached an agreement to play for the Moscow Dynamo for the 2013-14 season.
--The Lynx end training camp without any significant injuries; everyone on the roster played Wednesday night.