Competition still keen for Lynx's final roster spots

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 21, 2013 - 6:56 AM

Eight positions seem set, leaving six players battling for three reserve roles.

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Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, center, coached fundamentals as Chucky Jeffery (28) and Lindsey Moore listened on the first day of training camp.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune file

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Tuesday might be the last time a few players vying for a spot on the Lynx roster will have a chance to show what they can do.

The Lynx have been practicing for two weeks. So the noon game against Connecticut at Target Center — the second and final preseason game — will be just a part of the final evaluation process. But the team is expected to start making moves to get at or near the regular-season limit of 11 players not long after the preseason ends.

And that’s just the sort of pressure coach Cheryl Reeve said she wants to see players dealing with. “It’s kind of the last chance, if you will,” Reeve said. “It’s a game setting, seeing how they react under pressure, with fans, the lights are on. That tells us a lot.”

Only a few spots are up for grabs on the veteran-laden Lynx. Spots one through eight are set — Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson, Janel McCarville, Monica Wright, Devereaux Peters and Amber Harris are locks.

So that leaves six players vying for the final three spots.

It appears the most intense competition is at guard. First-round draft pick Lindsey Moore — who could miss the game because of a calf injury — is likely to make the team. That leaves Sugar Rodgers, Chucky Jeffery and Jacki Gemelos fighting for a spot.

Also fighting to make the roster are forward Rachel Jarry and center Shawnice Wilson.

According to Reeve, the flexibility to play multiple positions is key. That’s why Jarry — a rookie from Australia — has been impressive as camp progressed.

Jarry, who is only 21, has experience beyond her years. She has played professionally in her native country for five seasons. A hard worker and tough defender, Jarry scored 11 points on 3-for-4 shooting with three rebounds and two assists in Minnesota’s 74-57 victory over Washington in Saturday’s preseason opener.

“When I get on the floor I try to do the little things,” Jarry said. “It was just exciting to get out and play after working so hard in training camp. Things went well.”

It was her defense that impressed Reeve the most.

“When you play hard, good things happen to you,” Reeve said of Jarry. “I’m not sure it’s the prettiest basketball when Rachel plays. We always say she doesn’t pass the eyeball test, which means she’s not going to fly by you. She is an acquired taste. She has to grow on you. And she grows on you because she plays so hard that you want her in the trenches with you.”

So who will impress Tuesday? Rodgers was hampered a bit by injuries last week and missed Saturday’s game to attend her college graduation. But she will be back trying to show she has the flexibility to add some point guard duties to her natural position of shooting guard. Jeffery scored two points in her first WNBA game Saturday. Gemelos, who has battled through some minor injuries in camp, played only 5½ minutes Saturday.

“Our decisions will be based on players we think can play like we want to play — aggressive, with hard-nosed defense,” Reeve said. “Can you be selfless, which is what our group is? And do you give off a good vibe for our locker room?”

Note

• McCarville turned her left ankle in practice Monday and appears unlikely to play Tuesday. McCarville, who was headed for further tests Monday afternoon, left the practice floor with a pronounced limp. “She tweaked it pretty good,” Reeve said. “I think she stepped on someone’s foot.”

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