Lynx rookie Peters ready for her play to answer questions

Even Devereaux Peters was surprised at going No. 3 in the WNBA draft, but the team believes she will mesh well.

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With anyone new to a team, such as Devereaux Peters, there are always questions. Peters signed with the Lynx on Sunday before the team's first training-camp practice.

One basic question with her is how she got her unusual first name. Her father and mother, Delacey and Denise, have always argued about who came up with it.

More recently, WNBA observers have wondered whether she was drafted too high at No. 3 overall. None of the mock drafts had her higher than the fifth. She said she was astonished to go as high as she did.

This much is certain about Peters, a 6-2 forward who played for Notre Dame. She can fill up the columns in a boxscore. Peters is the first player in the Fighting Irish program to score more than 1,000 points, grab 500 rebounds and have at least 200 blocks, steals and assists.

Peters said she anticipated being picked late in the first round, perhaps even in the second.

Instead, the defending WNBA champions wanted her. Badly. She is thrilled the Lynx took her, even if she has to start her pro career as a backup center or forward on a team featuring four returning All-Stars as starters.

"Everything happens for a reason," Peters said. "And they chose me because they thought I would be a great fit for here. Hopefully, I can make this team."

Hopefully? Peters does not take things for granted, even a roster spot.

"I did a lot of conditioning," she said, when asked how she prepared for camp. "I figured no matter what they throw at me, as long as I am conditioned, I should be able to handle it. And I did a little bit of shooting and pickup [basketball] just to get in the flow."

What the Lynx did Sunday, with all of the starters still missing from camp, was to go over plays. A lot.

"We are getting the playbook tonight," Peters said after practice. "Hopefully, I can remember them [Monday] and follow up."

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve had three reserves from last year's team at the opening practice, three draft picks, four rookie free agents and veteran guard Erin Thorn, signed in the offseason. Maya Moore should join the team on Tuesday; she will be the first starter back from overseas.

"It was a good first practice," Reeve said. "A great effort. A lot of learning. The execution needs to get better."

As for Peters, Reeve said she performed well. "When I spent time in the offseason envisioning Devereaux Peters on our roster," Reeve said, "what I envisioned was a seamless transition. If Day One is an indication, I would say that will come to fruition."

After practice and a 10-minute mandatory video on concussions, Peters stayed late for a short talk with assistant coach Jim Petersen, who works with the post players.

Peters averaged 11.8 points and 9.3 rebounds for the NCAA runners-up as a senior. Making those statistics more impressive is that she played only 24.2 minutes per game -- the least of any Notre Dame starter. That's largely because she was the team leader in fouls, with 102, but only fouled out three times.

"I can be overaggressive at times and try to make up for missing a play," she said. "This year I was a lot smarter and will continue to improve on that."

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    Monday April 30, 2012

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