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.
Success in the regular season is not a good thing for WNBA teams when it comes to the league's draft.
The Lynx had the best regular-season record in the WNBA last season and didn't make any trades to move up, so they are picking last, No. 12 in the first round.
They also have three other picks, two in the second round, Nos. 14 and 24, and one in the third, No. 36.
Phoenix has the top pick in the draft and will take 6-8 center Brittney Griner of Baylor.
Chicago and Tulsa have the next two picks. And there are two other players available who could have immediate impact: 5-9 guard Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame and 6-5 forward Elena Delle Donne of Delaware. They will probably both be gone by the time Washington's No. 4 pick comes along.
So who else is there. The Lynx have put up a list of 15 players to watch on their web site, in alphabetical order.
Besides the Big Three, here are the other prospects the Lynx list:
6-4 C Kayla Alexander, Syracuse ... 17.9 pts., 7.8 rebs. per game
5-7 G Alex Bentley, Penn St. ... 14.1 pts., 3.5 assists
6-3 F Carolyn Davis, Kansas ... 15.8 pts., 6.6 rebs
5-11 G Kelly Faris, Connecticut ... 10 pts., 5.6 rebs.
6-3 F Tianna Hawkins, Maryland ... 18 pts., 9.7 rebs.
5-10 G Taylor Hill, Ohio State ... 21.1 pts., 2.9 assists per game
5-9 G A'dia Mathies, Kentucky ... 16.1 pts., 4.5 rebs.
5-9 G Lindsey Moore, Nebraska ... 15.1 pts., 5.7 assists per game
6-2 F Karisma Penn, Illinois ... 19.2 pts., 9.6 rebs.
5-11 G Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown ... 22.9 pts., 4.1assists
6-1 F Markel Walker, UCLA ... 10.6 pts., 7.2 rebs.
6-2 F Toni Young, Oklahoma St. ... 16 pts., 10.1 rebs.
Lynx have lost center Taj McWilliams-Franklin (retired, coaching with NY Liberty), traded guard Candice Wiggins (to Tulsa) and decided not to re-sign guard Erin Thorn.
Only sure thing they added is C Janel McCarville. ... So they could be looking for guard help at Nos. 12 and 14. Especially a guard who can shoot threes.
The Lynx have announced that they have signed guard Jacki Gemelos.
Never heard of her?
Well, she hasn't played in the WNBA yet.
Gemelos, 25, was selected by the Lynx in the third round (31st overall) of the 2012 WNBA Draft.
A 6-foot guard averaged 11.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in nine games as a senior for Southern Cal before suffering a season-ending knee injury, resulting in her fifth ACL reconstruction in six years.
As a junior, Gemelos appeared in all 37 games (28 starts), averaging 12.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 30.6 minutes per game. She made 52 three-pointers and shot 42.3 percent from beyond the arc to lead the Pac-10.
Is she Candice Wiggins replacement off the bench when the team needs a three?
Candice played at Stanford, so she was from California, too.
Gemelos, as a high school senior at St. Mary's, averaged 39.2 points, 8.9 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game. She was a McDonald’s All-American, a WBCA All-American, Miss Basketball of California and the 2006 National Player of the Year by MaxPreps and Scout.com.
Sounds like she is definitely worth a look in training camp, which starts next month. Big question with Gemelous, obviously, is how her knees hold up.
The Lynx announced its preseason schedule today. The WNBA team will play Washington in Bismarck, N.D., on May 18 and meet Connecticut at Target Center on May 21.
Here is the team's release:
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Lynx today announced the team’s preseason schedule for its 15th season of professional women’s basketball in Minnesota. To prepare for the 2013 WNBA season, the Lynx will play two exhibition games, including making a trip to the Bismarck Civic Center to face off with Washington on May 18 at 7 p.m. The Lynx will wrap up their preseason schedule with a preseason game at Target Center on May 21 against the Connecticut Sun at 12 p.m.
“We’re very excited for this season’s preseason schedule,” said Timberwolves and Lynx President Chris Wright. “With interest in the Lynx at an all-time high, we’re looking forward to hosting a preseason game at Target Center as well as expanding the WNBA brand into North Dakota with a game at the Bismarck Civic Center. It’s a great opportunity to expose a new group of fans to our phenomenal product and the excitement of Lynx basketball.”
Minnesota’s game in North Dakota is its first trip to the neighboring state since the 2008 preseason, when the Lynx played Los Angeles at the Betty Englestad Sioux Center in Grand Forks, ND on May 11. Similarly, Minnesota’s preseason game at Target Center will be its first exhibition contest at the arena since May 1, 2008 vs. Connecticut.
Lower-level tickets for the game against Connecticut at Target Center are currently available for purchase, beginning as low as $15. Season ticket members and groups of 10 or more can purchase seats at a discounted rate of $12. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Lynx at 612-673-8400 or by visiting www.lynxbasketball.com.
Tickets for the May 18 game in Bismarck go on sale Wednesday, March 20 at 11:30 a.m., beginning as low as $15 and can be purchased by calling 800-745-3000, ordering online at www.ticketmaster.com or in-person at either any Ticketmaster outlet or the Bismarck Civic Center Ticket Office.
The Minnesota Lynx kick off their 15th season on Saturday, June 1 against the Connecticut Sun at Target Center. Full season ticket memberships, which include tickets to all 17 home games and exclusive season ticket member events, are available for as low as $187 by calling 612-673-8400.
Maya Moore has won major titles now on three continents: North America, Europe and Asia.
On Tuesday, she had 36 points, 16 rebounds and 7 steals as Shanxi beat Zhejiang 97-87 at a neutral site to win the Chinese Women's Basketball Association Finals 3-1.
Moore won several NCAA titles at UConn and one WNBA title with the Lynx in 2011, her rookie season. She also was on the U.S. team when it won the gold in the London Olympics in 2012. And then there was that national title in Spain and EuroLeague title.
And now she has taken China by storm. The latest story on Shanxi and Moore's success is here.
Moore is making four, five times from Shanxi -- in the mid six figures, according to several sources -- what the Lynx pay her. And she has delivered.
Now can she lead the Lynx to the 2013 WNBA title in her other job?
* Liz Cambage, the 6-8 Tulsa star, was Zhejiang's star. She had 29 points and 11 rebounds and also committed and drew a flagrant foul. It got a little rough inside, which almost could have been expected. Cambage was 18-for-18 from the field and had 54 points in Game 3 of the Finals.
I can picture Shanxi's Spanish coach telling his players to make Cambage earn every point this game.
And, finally, a Moore tweet today:
Coming home a Champion! We put em away 3-1 tonight.Thank you everyone for cheering from afar!
News come slowly sometimes from the other side of the world.
For instance, the Lynx were touting Maya Moore's 53 points in Shanxi's 96-92 victory over Zhejiang on Tuesday in the first game of the Chinese Women's Basketball Association's best-of-five finals.
But there was an ugly side to the story, too.
Apparently, some of Zhejiang's fans were not too happy with their team's first home loss of the season. And they surrounded and started beating up two of the referees.
The CWBA issued an apology. A reporter wrote that more security was needed.
The second and third games of the series move to Shanxi.
Zhejiang star Liz Cambage had 38, but fouled out. Maybe the Zhejiang's so-called "fans" got upset at Cambage being out of the game.
The story is here
The Lynx held their annual season ticket holders party on Tuesday. A year ago at that event, Taj McWilliams-Franklin was there and announced she would be coming back for 2012. The date was Jan. 23.
This year none of the Lynx players were in attendance. Mama Taj is an assistant women's basketball coach with Rice. And Lynx officials said the team is preparing to go either way -- with or without Taj -- this season.
So no news yet from Taj, who is 42, and once again trying to decide whether she will retire or play another season.
Two other unsigned Lynx are guard Candice Wiggins and post Jessica Adair.
Word is Wiggins may be looking for more playing time someplace else; Adair, slowed by injuries most of last season, is expected back.
Friday is the first day WNBA teams can make offers to free agents and start signing them. And there are a lot of them out there.
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