WNBA vet wants to show champs what she can do

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This past offseason, guard Erin Thorn was an unrestricted free agent, meaning the nine-year WNBA veteran could sign with any team.

Her choice was easy: the Lynx.

"Any time you have an opportunity to come to a championship team, I don't think you can pass that up," Thorn said before the Lynx routed Chicago 82-61 on Tuesday afternoon in an exhibition game at the University of Minnesota's Sports Pavilion in front of an announced crowd of 4,102.

Thorn played for Chicago the past three seasons and did her part in the Lynx's second preseason victory. She had seven points, two assists and a steal as one of seven Lynx reserves who outscored the starters 51-31 despite playing just slightly more.

One of the Lynx's few weak areas was bench scoring. The reserves averaged 20.2 points per game last year, which ranked eighth in the 12-team league.

So the Lynx pursued Thorn, one of only two new players expected to make the Lynx roster. Rookie Devereaux Peters, a 6-2 forward who was the third overall pick in the WNBA draft, also should survive the last cut from 13 to 11.

Thorn has liked what she has seen so far during Lynx training camp.

"They won the championship, but they are not satisfied with that," Thorn said. "This is a new year. Everybody wants to place the target on your backs, whatever. We are still working hard. We want to win another championship. I want to win my first, so we are still out there. Serious practices, hard work, still getting things done."

The preparation showed against the Sky. The Lynx shot 52.9 percent from field against one of the WNBA's best defensive teams, passed the ball with enough speed and precision for 26 assists, and even matched the taller Sky in rebounds at 31 apiece. Chicago started 6-6 Sylvia Fowles and 6-5 Ruth Riley.

Monica Wright, another backup guard, led the Lynx with 14 points; every bench player had at least four points. Peters' statistics line was six points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists.

"Everybody who got a chance did some good things," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "

Thorn, who is 5-9 and played for Brigham Young in college, started her pro career as a member of the New York Liberty for six seasons. She is a career 37.3 percent shooter from three-point range. Last year she averaged 5.4 points and 2.4 assists for the Sky in 34 games, including seven starts.

"I am picking Lindsay's brain," Thorn said of star point guard Lindsay Whalen, "for all those little details on who likes what and what works well and just trying to acclimate myself that way."

Thorn said she can play either shooting guard or point guard.

"I've been around for a while," she said. "It is never bad to have another veteran on the team. I can extend any defense."

"Being around the players that we have, it's so easy to just play your game," Wright said. "You're not worried about being out of position, especially playing with our point guards, Whalen and [Candice] Wiggins and Thorn -- they put you in the right position. They set you up for great shots."

Like veterans are supposed to do.


    Season opener: 11:30 a.m. Sunday vs. Phoenix • Target Center • TV: Ch. 5

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