Kent Youngblood writes about the Minnesota Lynx.

An amazing night for Maya Moore

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under People Updated: July 22, 2014 - 11:17 PM

Well, that was an exciting one.

I’ve been lucky enough to cover some pretty amazing performances through the years. I have to say Maya Moore’s 48-point, 10-rebound, four-assist game ranks right up there. She scored better than a point a minute, set a franchise record and posted the second-highest single-game total in WNBA history. This one was a grind against a very good team. In the end, Moore and Lindsay Whalen played more than 45 minutes. It will take some time to rebound from this one; it’s a good thing the Lynx don’t play again until Friday.

Here are some other impressions from the game:

--What a debut for Rebekkah Brunson. As she said, playing 35½  minutes in her 2014 debut was not in the plans. But Brunson, who had pre-season right knee surgery, was rather amazing, showing no rust. She scored 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting, had 12 rebounds, two assists. It was her three-point play to start the second overtime that gave the Lynx the lead for good.

--I must say, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Whalen as tired as she was after this game. She scored 26 points with nine assists.

--The fall-away jumper Tan White hit right at the shot-clock buzzer with 38.4 seconds left in the second overtime that gave Minnesota a 111-106 lead might have been her biggest shot in a Lynx uniform. White scored all four of her points in the second overtime.

--It’s amazing the Lynx won, considering Atlanta shot 45.2 percent, had three players with 21 or more points, scored 21 points off of 23 Lynx turnovers and scored 50 points in the paint. Thank Maya Moore.

--The Lynx need to get more than the eight points it got from the bench tonight.

That’s about it for now. The Lynx will have Wednesday off, then return to practice Thursday. 

Brunson to start for Lynx tonight

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under People Updated: July 22, 2014 - 6:17 PM

As expected, Rebekkah Brunson will get her first start of the season tonight against Atlanta at Target Center.

Brunson, who has been out since having pre-season knee surgery, will be put right back in the starting mix and has no official limitation on her minutes. That said, coach Cheryl Reeve said she’ll be careful with Brunson.

“It’s all in how she feels,” Reeve said. “I know I’ll get her out early, to let her catch her breath and regroup, then get her back out there. It really how she feels as the game goes. If she’s going well and her lungs feel good – her knee’s not going to have any problems. It’s more her conditioning that is the issue.

With Brunson starting that means rookie Damiris Dantas will be coming off the bench after starting up to this point. It’s an expected move. But Dantas is a Brazilian who still isn’t fluent in English, so Reeve had to resort to Google Translate to give Dantas the news. “I typed, ‘Rebekkah Brunson will start tonight,’ ‘’ Reeve said. And Dantas nodded.

“And I said, ‘You’ll be the first sub off the bench,’ ‘’ Reeve said. And Dantas nodded again.

“I said, “Keep playing hard and aggressive,’ ‘’ Reeve said. That was it. She was good with it.

Meanwhile, Seimone Augustus warmed up with the team, but Reeve is still point towards Friday’s game against San Antonio for Augustus to return. That means she will miss her eighth straight game and her ninth overall due to left knee bursitis.

That’s about all for now. Have a good night. Tonight’s game is on FSN-plus.

Brunson set to play Tuesday

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: July 21, 2014 - 3:19 PM

For the first time in surgery in May, Rebekkah Brunson took full part in Lynx practice, ran up and down the court, banged hard on the inside. And she came out of it feeling fine.

And so Brunson, the forward who brings power and energy to the Lynx lineup, will make her 2014 WNBA debut when the Lynx host the Atlanta Dream at Target Center Tuesday.

“I had to be really patient, but you have to trust the process,” said Brunson, who had surgery May 13 for tendinosis. “I was itching to get back out there, but I took my time. And I think I’m in a good position now. I’m super excited to be joining the team.’’

Meanwhile, guard Seimone Augustus, who has missed seven straight games and eight overall with left knee bursitis, likely won’t play Tuesday. But she is expected to return Friday against San Antonio. And that means the Lynx will have 10 games with their full roster healthy before the playoffs start. The Lynx are two games behind Phoenix in the Western Conference. It will be very hard to catch the Mercury, which is an amazing 18-3. But the prospect of a fully healthy Lynx roster has coach Cheryl Reeve optimistic about the way this season will end.  “Ten games, 11 games with this group?” Reeve asked. “It’s enough to get us playing great basketball Not just good basketball, good enough to win a game. But great. That’s what’s on the mind of our players. And getting those two back in the fold is a big part of us getting there.”

Lynx enter the All-Star break on a roll

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under People Updated: July 16, 2014 - 3:48 PM

The Lynx remain behind Phoenix in the Western Conference standings even after Wednesday’s victory. But the feeling after beating the Shock was one of optimism in the Lynx locker room. After a difficult stretch in the middle of the season, the Lynx enter the All Star break having won four straight and six of seven. And Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson are both expected back after the break, giving the Lynx – who have not been completely healthy all season – 11 games before the playoffs begin.

Here are some thoughts on today’s game:

--On their annual camp day, with the Target Center filled with very, very loud youngsters, the Lynx posted a franchise regular-season record attendance of 16,413.

--Devereaux Peters and Monica Wright continue to play very well for the Lynx. Both of them were out to start the season following knee surgery. And both took some time to get back in rhythm. But both are there now.

Peters did a great job guarding Glory Johnson, and she also chipped in 10 points, three blocks and a steal. Wright, meanwhile, scored 10 points and a career-high five steals.

--Maya Moore continues to amaze, with her ninth 30-point game of the season. She had 12 of those in the fourth quarter Wednesday as the Lynx held off the Shock. This time she did it with just one three-pointer made. Moore was 9-for-13 on two-point attempts and got to the line 13 times, making 11. She also had nine rebounds and five assists with two steals and a block. What can’t she do?

--Lindsay Whalen added 18 points with five assists. In a very physical game she helped set the tone.

--After rookie Damiris Dantas posted her third double-double of her career (10 points, 11 rebounds), coach Cheryl Reeve joked that they asked her what she had for her pre-game meal so the team could make sure she had it before every game. Dantas was very assertive today.

That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you after Monday’s practice. Reeve and her staff will be coaching the Western Conference team in Saturday’s All Star Game, and both Moore and Whalen will be on the team.

Have a good weekend. 

Get the earplugs ready. It's camp day at Target Center

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: July 16, 2014 - 11:17 AM

Today is camp day for the Wolves, which is why the game is starting at noon.

The Lynx do it once a year. Actually, each team does it at least once a year, when they arrange to have groups of children bussed to the game to watch the local team play. Each group wears T-shirts of the same color and sit as a group, so the very large number of fans who will be here today – upwards of 15,000 – will make Target Center look like a display at a paint store.

Anyone who has been to one of these games knows one thing. The crowd will be very excited and very, very loud. And, because they’re young and not always savvy about what’s going on in the game, the noise is rather unpredictable.

On Tuesday Lynx coach joked about how the coaches prepare for the game by taking aspirin for the inevitable headache and ear plugs to mute the shrieks of the fans. Still, Reeve said, it’s one of her favorite games of the season.

To Reeve, the game is a chance for the Lynx players to do what they can to influence future leaders. It gives young girls a chance to see women play a game professionally, knowing that opportunity will one day be theirs. Young boys see the same thing and perhaps, Reeve said, it will impact their world view going forward.

“Boys and girls get to see strong, powerful women competing, playing professional basketball,” Reeve said. “So they grow up expecting that. Versus, back when I was a kid, the expectation was really different for women.”

That said, if you’re coming to the game, bring ear plugs.

Here are a couple other pre-game nuggets:

--Seimone Augustus will not play today. She will miss her seventh straight game and her eighth overall with left knee bursitis. Also, it became official today: Augustus will not play in Saturday’s WNBA All Star Game. Her replacement will be chosen by league president Laurel Richie. Both Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson are expected to be back right after the break.

That said, Augustus will go to Phoenix with the rest of the Lynx players and coaching staff to take part in pre-game clinics and make appearances.

--Rebekkah Brunson warmed up with the team today, but won’t play. But it’s just another step towards her expected return right after the All Star break. Both she and Augustus expect to be in the lineup then giving the Lynx 11 games to get everybody on the same page before playoffs  begin.

That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you after the game. 

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