Kent Youngblood writes about the Minnesota Lynx.

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Lynx head into the off-season

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: September 4, 2014 - 4:08 PM

The four Minnesota Lynx captains and coach Cheryl Reeve met with the media one last time Thursday afternoon. For Reeve and three of those players – Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus – there won’t be much rest for the weary. All four are slated to head to Annapolis, MD, where they will begin training camp with the U.S. team for the upcoming world championships.

Perhaps because of the strain of playing a WNBA season and then in the World Championships, Whalen indicated today that she is considering not playing in Europe this season. She said that after the tournament is over in early October she will take some time off. There is a chance she will play a partial season over in Europe. But, at this point, she is leaning towards taking the fall and winter off. As she said, she’s looking forward to spending a Thanksgiving at home for the first time in a decade.

The other consideration, of course, is the wear and tear of playing year-around.

“Something has to give, especially if you’re on the national team,” Reeve said. “I’m pleased the give would not be during our season. Lindsay is smart. She wants to play a number more years. In order to have longevity in this league, you do have to start separating things out.”

In that vein, Augustus said she will likely play in Europe this coming season, but it might be her last overseas stint. And Rebekkah Brunson, still rehabbing her knee, plans on taking the first half of the European season off.

That’s about it for now. Have a good weekend.

Lynx returning to Minnesota late this afternoon

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: September 3, 2014 - 12:50 PM

For fans interested in meeting the Minnesota Lynx upon their return to Minnesota, here is the flight information:

The Lynx will be arriving at Terminal 1 on Delta Flight 0171. The flight is expected to land at about 4:20 p.m.. I would expect there will be some fans there to thank the team for a good season. Fans can greet the players and coaches at the baggage claim for their flight.

Lynx season ends in Phoenix

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: September 3, 2014 - 12:38 AM

Cheryl Reeve was quick to give Phoenix all the credit in the world after tonight’s victory. She said the Mercury players played great (they did), they’d had a great season (they have) and that Diana Taurasi was one of the best players in the world (she is).

But she is not ready to cede the balance of power in the Western Conference to Phoenix for the long term.

The Lynx overcame a number of injuries this season, both at the start of the season, when three of their top seven players were recovering from surgery, and at mid-season when Seimone Augustus had knee problems.

She feels that next year, with a healthy team from start to finish, the Lynx will be in the mix going forward.

“They won it this year, we won it last year,” Reeve said. “We were in the finals three straight years. I don’t think because we’re not in the finals that there is a sea change. I think Phoenix had an unbelievable season, record-setting. …. This has been Phoenix’s season.’’

Here are some thoughts on the Lynx’s final game this season:

--To give you an idea how well the Mercury played on defense tonight, consider that the Lynx shot nearly 50 percent through three quarters, out-rebounded the Mercury and had fewer turnovers. And they trailed by five points.

--Janel McCarville really struggled to guard Brittney Griner in this series. This is something the Lynx are going to have to figure out going forward, because Griner isn’t going anywhere.

--It will be very important for Rebekkah Brunson, Monica Wright and  Devereaux Peters to, somehow, get back to 100 percent by next season. All three, who had preseason knee surgery, struggled at times in this series. I don’t think Wright or Brunson ever got back to the level they played at last season.

There won’t be a lot of rest for the team’s Big Three. I would expect Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Augustus to be on the U.S. Team. Then there will be the European season. Here’s hoping everybody stays healthy.

That’s about it for now. 

It's Lynx and Mercury one more time

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: September 2, 2014 - 8:42 PM

Greetings from U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix.

We’re about a half-hour away from tip-off here in the decisive game in this best-of-three WNBA Western Conference finals.

I watched the Lynx go through their normal pre-game warmups. And while the ritual was the same, these players know how hard it will be to beat the Mercury on their home court in an elimination game.

Before the series began I picked the Mercury in three games. But, as the game nears, I must say I won’t be surprised if the Lynx win.

Here, in my opinion, are three things that have to happen for Minnesota to advance:

--Rebounding. The Lynx held their own in this department in Game 2, and look what happened.

--Free throws. The more aggressive team will get to the line more.

--The Lynx need an x-factor. Maybe it could be Monica Wright, who has yet to play her best this series. Maybe Rebekkah Brunson. She has rebounded well, but maybe she’ll breakout scoring-wise tonight. If the Lynx can get a significant contribution from the bench it could make the difference tonight.

Lynx force a Game 3

Posted by: Kent Youngblood Updated: August 31, 2014 - 7:15 PM

That was about as exciting as a playoff game can be.

A number of folks from the WNBA were at Target Center for Sunday’s game. It was a pretty big day for the league. They paraded Little League World Series star Mo’ne Davis around before the game, had her sit with league president Laurel Richie during the game.

And then, on national broadcast television, the Lynx and the Mercury went out and gave the 10,513 fans a taught, well-played game.

Here are some observations from the game and the series, which wraps up Tuesday night in Phoenix Tuesday night:

--You talk about a Big Three. This was memorable stuff. Maya Moore, held to nine points Friday, scored 32, 13 in the fourth quarter. Seimone Augustus scored nine of her 23 points in the fourth quarter. And Lindsay Whalen, that hard-nosed leader, scored 12 of her 17 in the second quarter, willing her team back into a game they trailed by 13 after the first quarter.

--Much has been made of the Lynx bench, or the lack of it. It was a problem again Sunday, with Lynx reserves scoring just four points.

Having said that, I thought rookie Damiris Dantas played some quality minutes. She didn’t seem awed by the situation. And Monica Wright played some very good defense. Having said that, the Lynx need way more from Tan White and Devereaux Peters.

--I find it interesting how the Phoenix react when things aren’t going well. Both Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner were called for technicals for arguing about calls. To be fair, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve got one, too. It was a pretty intense game.

--Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson scored only four points. But she played some nice defense and had 10 rebounds. Still, she needs to hit those open mid-range shots.

--Jane Meadville was limited to 21-plus minutes due to early foul trouble. She struggled defensively and committed three turnovers. She needs to play better Tuesday.

That’s about it for now. Have a great rest of your holiday weekend.


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