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.

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Whalen leads another team, this one in Turkey, to title

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz Updated: January 8, 2013 - 7:41 AM

Lindsay Whalen's team in Turkey, Galatasaray, won the Turkish Cup on Sunday by defeating Fenerbahce 74-72.

Whalen, the Lynx's point guard the past three seasons, had 13 points and 12 assists in the game. Her  in-bounds pass to Sancho Lyttle for the buzzer-beating, game-winning shot was her final assist.

Galatasaray has won fourth consecutive Turkish Cups and 10 overall.

Here are highlights from the game, including the game- winning play and the three-pointer by Fenerbahce’s Cappie Pondexter that tied the game. (Whalen is wearing No. 13 in the half gold-half maroon jersey.):

 Whalen led the Lynx to the 2011 WNBA title. Last season the Lynx lost to Indiana in the league finals.


Lynx's Moore outshines Catchings in China

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz Updated: December 18, 2012 - 1:17 PM

Maya Moore of the Lynx and Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever met again on Saturday halfway around the world.

And this time, Moore's team prevailed.

Moore scored 47 points as the Shanxi Flame beat the Guangdong Dolphins 89-78 in Taiyuan, Shanxi's home city.

Moore made 17 of 32 shots, had 11 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals.

Catchings had 26 points, eight rebounds and three steals for the Dolphins (5-10).

Maybe Moore should have taken a few more shots in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals in Indianapolis, which the Fever won to win the series 3-1 over the favored Lynx.

A boxscore from Moore's game on Saturday is here.

Shanxi had another game on Tuesday. And Moore was not quite as dominant. She only had 43 points, nine rebounds, five assists, five steals and three blocks as Shanxi beat Yunnan 92-72 win. The Flame are 13-3 now, in first place in the WCBA with six regular season games left.

Elizabeth Cambage’s Zhejiang team is 11-4 in  the Women's Chinese Basketball Association standings.

Before Tuesday's game, Moore was averaging 41.8 points, 12.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 3.7 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. She is shooting 55.6% (65-for-117) from the field and 40.0% (26-for-65) from three-point range. She probably should be wearing a big S for Superwoman on her jersey.

Catchings was averaging 25.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game after her team's loss to the Flame on 60.3% (38-for-63) shooting.

WNBA to extend three-point line

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz Updated: December 13, 2012 - 12:36 PM

The WNBA announced a couple of rule changes this morning.

They will extend the three-point line and get tough on  "flopping."

The three-point line will move from 20 feet, 6-1/4 inches to 22, 1-3/4, which is the international distance.

Shooting the three-pointer and defending it were among the Lynx's strengths last season as they compiled the best record in the WNBA (27-7) during the regular season.

The Lynx  tied for first with Indiana in three-point shooting percentage. Both shot 40%. They Lynx averaged 16.62 three-point attempts per game, eighth in the WNBA.

Seimone Augustus shot a team-best 43.7 percent, which ranked fourth in the WNBA. Also in the top 25 were Candice Wiggins (20th, 39.7%) and Maya Moore (T-22, 38.8%).

Defensively, Minnesota held opponents to  32.7% shooting from long range. Only Los Angeles held opponents to a lower three-point percentage (32.2%).

Here's the league's release:

The WNBA will implement new rules regarding flopping and defensive three-seconds, while also extending the three-point line, Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations Renee Brown announced today following the league’s Board of Governor’s Meeting. The rules will go into effect beginning with the 2013 season.

“Flops that are intended to mislead referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into believing a foul call was missed are a detriment to the game," Brown said. "With that, both the Board of Governors and the Competition Committee felt strongly that a player who, upon video review by the league, is believed to have committed a flop will, after an initial warning, be given an automatic penalty.”

“Flopping” will be defined as any physical act that, upon review, reasonably appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.

The primary factor in determining if a player committed a flop is whether her physical reaction to an action by another player (whether or not that action resulted in contact) is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force, direction, or nature of the action of the other player. An example would be a player who lunges, flails, or falls following minimal or non-existent contact with an opponent.

Physical acts that constitute legitimate basketball plays (such as moving to a spot in order to draw an offensive foul) and minor physical reactions to contact will not be treated as flops.

During preseason games, warning will be given for acts judged to be flops. Any player who is determined to have committed a flop during the regular season will, upon the first offense, receive a warning. Subsequent violations will result in fines of increasing amounts. Beginning with a sixth violation, a player will be subject to a further increased fine and/or suspension.

The league will announce at a later date a separate set of penalties for flopping that will apply during the playoffs.

The three-point line will be extended from 20 feet, 6 1/4 inches to 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches, consistent with the distance inherent in all FIBA competitions.

“We extended the line to its current distance of 20 feet, 6 1/4 inches in 2004 and our three-point shooting percentage increased,” said Brown. “Since then the talent level and the athleticism of our players has only continued to increase; and with a significant percentage of our players also playing – and excelling – internationally, this brings us into line with the international game. The extended three-point line and defensive three-second rule will create spacing and open up the lane. The improved spacing will create increased opportunities for athletic players to drive to the basket and either shoot or pass the ball back out to open players on the perimeter.”

Under the new defensive three-second rule, a violation will result in a technical foul being assessed if a defensive player violates the “actively guarding” guidelines. Following the free throw for the technical foul, the offense will maintain possession of the ball at the free throw line extended.

Slight changes also have been made with regard to the use of instant replay as it pertains to flagrant fouls and the restricted area.

Whereas previous rules allowed for replay review of Flagrant Foul 2’s but not Flagrant Foul 1’s, the level of the foul will now be assigned only after the play has been reviewed. Replay procedures are also being instituted during the final minute of regulation and overtime if officials determine the offensive player committed the illegal contact but are uncertain as to whether the defender was inside or outside the restricted area.

Lynx overseas: Moore scores 53 in China, but team loses

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz Updated: December 13, 2012 - 11:27 AM

The Lynx sent out an update on their overseas players today.

Here is the latest:

* Maya Moore scored 37 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, had four assists and swiped three steals to lead Shanxi to its league-best 11th win of the WCBA season on Tuesday, edging Bayi 81-61.

On Saturday, Shaxi had its 10-game winning streak snapped despite Moore’s 53-points and 13 rebounds. Moore was 18-of-30 (.600) from the floor in the loss to Zhejiang. Liz Cambage, a 6-8 center for Tulsa in the WNBA, had 49 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks for Zhejiang.

Since Moore joined Shanxi two games into the WCBA season, the Flame are a league-best 11-1. She had 60 points in one of her first games.

An AP story on Moore's life in China can be found here.

Lindsay Whalen had a season-high eight assists yesterday as Galatasaray edged Novi Zagreb 77-50 in EuroLeague play. Whalen added eight points on 4-for-6 shooting while grabbing three rebounds. Galatasaray is 6-1 in Euroleague play, sitting in second place in Group C behind UMMC (6-0).

In Turkish League play Saturday, Whalen scored 14 points, grabbed six rebounds and had three assists in a 71-56 win over Canik Belediyesi.

* Seimone Augustus had 10 points, four rebounds,  one assist and one steal Wednesday as Spartak V MR won 83-79 over Tarsus Belediyesi.

* Rebekkah Brunson dominated in Euroleague play Wednesday, scoring a game-high 21 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Brunson was 8-for-12 from the field and 5-for-6 from the free throw line to lead USK Praha to a 78-65 win over Perfumerias.

* Amber Harris had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Bichumi in a 67-51 loss to Woori Hansae on Sunday. Harris added three steals and a pair of assists as Bichumi (8-9) had its four game winning streak snapped.

* Devereaux Peters had 12 points and rebounds (seven offensive) to lead Lucca (7-1) to its seventh consecutive win Sunday in the Italian League, a 61-45 victory over Pozzuoli.

* Monica Wright scored seven points  for Dandenong on Saturday in the WNBL Australian league as the Rangers lost 72-79 to Bendigo Bar.

* Jessica Adair had 10 points,  four rebounds and blocked four shots in Townsville’s 85-72 win over Logan in the Australian Women's National Basketball League on Friday.

Lynx update: Players scattered all over the globe

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz Updated: November 14, 2012 - 11:29 AM

More than 4,000 people have viewed a YouTube video of Maya Moore scoring 60 points for Shanxi Xing Rui against Yunnan in a recent game in China.

It is available here.

She was 19 of 43 from the floor. Forty-three shots? That's crazy. What are the other players doing? Her team won 93-88 in overtime.

Her team started the season 0-2 without her, but has won four in a row with her.

Wonder what the Lynx are thinking about the way Moore is being used? If she is the No. 1, 2 and 3 scoring option on her Chinese team, how tired will she be for the WNBA season?

On Tuesday, Moore had a ho-hum 30 points as Shanxi Xing Rui beat Liaoning 81-57. She also had 10 rebounds and five assists.

Here is what Moore did in her first three games in China:

1) 37 pts., 17 rebs., 5 assists, 4 steals ... team won by 13

2) 34 pts., 16 rebs., 1 assist, 4 steals ... team won by eight

3) 60 pts., 13 rebs., 2 assists, 5 steals, team won by three

Here's how other Lynx players are doing in the "offseason":

* Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen scored 21 points -- on 10 shots -- and had four assists in 21 minutes as her Galatasaray team rolled to a 100-42 victory over Edremit in the Turkish Basketball League.

* Rebekkah Brunson scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds off the bench as USK Praha -- Whalen's former team -- rolled to a 100-72 win over Valosun Brno.USK Praha is 10-0 in the Czech Republic Basketball League.

* Seimone Augustus scored 12 points for Sparta&K in an 87-75 loss to Nadezhda Orenburg in the Russian League.

*  Devereaux Peters scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds as Lucca won 73-45 over Chieti in the Italian League.

* Monica Wright and Jessica Adair will be playing in Australia, and Amber Harris in South Korea.

* Candice Wiggins and Erin Thorn are not playing overseas.

* Center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, after years of playing overseas this winter,  is an assistant coach for Rice University. The Owls defeated Prairie View A&M 57-42 on Friday in their first game. ... Rice plays at Tennessee on Thursday.

.Part of the Rice bio on Mama Taj:

Long-time WNBA standout Taj McWilliams-Franklin joined the Rice women's basketball staff as an assistant coach in May of 2012, but will not formally be on campus until after the conclusion of the 2012 WNBA season.

"We are pleased and excited to add Taj McWilliams-Franklin to our staff," Rice head coach Greg Williams stated. "Having coached vs. Taj in the WNBA, I have always respected her abilities, her competitiveness, leadership, and tremendous desire to win. She brings instant credibility to our players and her expertise in the post position will greatly benefit our young post players.

"Taj was an outstanding student-athlete at St. Edwards University who will be comfortable with our academic requirements and a positive role model for all of our players. She is an outstanding person who brings great energy and enthusiasm to Rice Women's Basketball," Williams concluded.

"I am thrilled and excited to be chosen by coach Greg Williams and Rice University to participate in the successful growth and development of the women's basketball program," said McWilliams-Franklin. "I have nothing but the highest regard for Coach Williams and I am looking forward to becoming a contributing member of his staff as well as part of the Rice community."

Currently a member of the Minnesota Lynx, McWilliams-Franklin is a 14-year WNBA veteran and a six-time WNBA All-Star.


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