Kent Youngblood writes about the Minnesota Lynx.

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Moore is top vote-getter for WNBA All Star Game

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: July 8, 2014 - 8:44 PM

Getting to the WNBA All-Star Game is nothing new. Maya Moore has been there every year there has been one since she came into the league. She was there in 2011 and again last year, with a 2012 Olympic Gold Medal in-between.

But this time, another honor.

The league announced the starters for the July 19 game in Phoenix and Moore was not only a Western Conference starter, she was the leading vote-getter in the league. Moore got 28,389 votes, more than Chicago’s Elena Delle Donne (26,129), who was the leading vote-getter a year ago.

“It’s just great to be honored and appreciated by people across the world,” Moore said. “I want to make sure I’m playing as well as the accolades that I’m getting.”

Joining Moore on the Western Conference starting five are guards Diana Taurasi (Phoenix) and Skylar Diggins and frontcourt players Candace Parker (Los Angeles) and Brittney Griner (Phoenix).

The Eastern Conference starters are: guards Shone Schimmel (Atlanta) and Cappie Pondexter (New York) and frontcourt players Delle Donne, Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta) and Tamika Catchings (Indiana).

As far as keeping up with the accolades, Moore has nothing to worry about.

She is averaging season highs in scoring (22.8), steals (2.1), minutes (34.9) and rebounds (8.0) per game. She is leading the league in scoring, sixth in steals, 10th in rebounds and second among frontcourt players with 3.4 assists per game. She has scored 20 or more points in 12 games, 30 or more in six and has five point-rebound double-doubles.

She has had to do more because of injuries on the team. Monica Wright and Devereaux Peters missed the early part of the season following knee procedures. Guard Seimone Augustus missed her fourth straight game Tuesday because of knee bursitis.  And forward Rebekkah Brunson has been out following pre-season knee surgery and isn’t expected back until after the All Star break.

“She’s trying to do more, and she’s been more assertive,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “I think it’s hard when you’re the focal point. I think it’s hard when her coach plays her 35 minutes a game, then gets upset with her when she makes mistakes because she’s tired. So, given all that, Maya has handled it great.”

Moore’s shooting percentages are down slightly from last year’s lofty figures, but that’s a product of a more focused opponent and Moore’s need to do more to carry the load.

Now it’s a question of who will go to Phoenix with Moore.  Reeve and her staff will coach the West. Reserves for the game – which will be picked by the league’s coaches – will be named July 15.

Augustus and Lindsay Whalen are strong candidates to be named, though Augustus’ injury situation might impact her ability to play. 

Augustus out again

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: July 8, 2014 - 7:03 PM

Lynx guard Seimone Augustus will not play tonight against the Los Angeles Sparks at Target Center. It is the fourth straight game she has missed due to left knee bursitis, and the fifth overall.

At this point the team is still calling her day-to-day, but the possibility remains she could be out until after the All-Star break. That game, set to be played in Phoenix, is on July 19.

Meanwhile, a game after the New York LIberty beat the Lynx in large part because of their interior game, the Lynx have to slow a Sparks frontcourt that goes 6-2, 6-4 and 6-4. 

That's about it for now. Have a good night.

Augustus (knee bursitis) will miss tonight's game vs. Seattle

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: June 29, 2014 - 5:17 PM

Her left knee bursitis flaring up again, Lynx star guard Seimone Augustus will not play tonight against Seattle at Target Center.

This will be the second game Augustus has missed since the pain started flaring up before the Lynx’s loss in Phoenix June 18. Monica Wright will start in Augustus’ place.

For a mid-season game, this one has some juice. Coach Cheryl Reeve was not happy with what she saw in Minnesota’s loss in Seattle Friday, when the team had just 12 assists, shot a season-low 39.7 percent and struggled defensively against Storm forward Camille Little and center Crystal Langhorne.

Before the game Reeve emphasized that things need to change in tonight’s rematch. “I don’t think our offense played at a level where we were exerting ourselves and being disciplined in what we were trying to get,” she said. “I thought we were impatient and we didn’t let those things develop. We were forced into some harder shots. I guess this is where I’m supposed to say give Seattle’s defense credit. I think largely it’s us; opponents are shooting 45 percent against’ em. We struggled to understand what was open.”

And then, Reeve offered a promise: “We will dot it tonight,” she said. I don’t know if we’ll make our shots, but we will execute our offense.’’

It’s my guess that Reeve’s decision to start Wright instead of Tan White in place of Augustus is an indication that Wright might be feeling a bit more confident in her healing knee. We’ll see. One thing is certain. The Lynx will have to defend better and execute better on offense to break this 0-2 record vs. Seattle this season. Especially with Augustus out.

Lynx practice, according to coach, one of the best of the year

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: June 25, 2014 - 1:54 PM

The Lynx, according to head coach Cheryl Reeve, had one of their best practices of the season today.

It is the result of some good timing. The Lynx played six games in 10 days, a streak that ended Sunday. They took Monday off, knocked off some rust Tuesday and really went at it today.

“I feel like I got my team back,” Reeve said.

The Lynx worked hard practicing against the defense they figure to see Friday and Sunday in back-to-back games against Seattle.

Here are a couple items:

--For the second straight day, Rebekkah Brunson – who had pre-season knee surgery – did some running on a machine Wednesday. This is very good news. Brunson did her first such work Tuesday, and the expectation was she would need a day off before doing it again. But she felt good enough to go. The best case scenario remains having Brunson back after the All Star break. The All Star game is in Phoenix July 19.

--The team feels very good about the upcoming schedule. After fighting through injuries and that aforementioned six-games-in-10-days streak, the Lynx now get seven of their next 10 games at home.

That’s about it for now. 

Lynx sign veteran guard Nadirah McKenith, waive Lindsey Moore

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: June 24, 2014 - 2:10 PM

As her playing time dwindled, you had to wonder about Lindsey Moore’s future with the Lynx.

An answer came today, when the team announced it had signed veteran guard Nadirah McKenith, and then waived Moore to make room for McKenith on the roster.

“We are excited to welcome Nadirah to the Minnesota Lynx organization,” executive vice president Roger Griffith said in a release by the team. “The energy and work ethic Nadirah brings to the table fits in perfectly with the team we have in place.”

McKenith is a 5-7 guard who appeared in 32 games with Washington last season, averaging 2.8 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 8.8 minutes per game. McKenith, who played at St. John’s, was a second-round pick by the Mystics last year.

Moore was Minnesota’s first-round draft pick a year ago (12th overall). In 35 appearances with the Lynx over one-plus seasons, Moore averaged 1.0 points, 1.1 assists and 0.6 rebounds. Moore appeared in 12 of the team’s 15 games so far this season, but had not played in three of the last five. 

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