Lynx' Monica Wright does what it takes

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 8, 2013 - 7:03 AM

Monica Wright’s play in Game 1 stood out, but her teammates knew she was more than capable.

 

There is a good-natured kangaroo court that sometimes meets in the Lynx locker room.

Whenever a Lynx player makes a great play, or makes an opponent look bad, she is fined. A particularly spectacular play will result in the Lynx player being sentenced to jail. Which is why, on the podium after Sunday’s victory over Atlanta in the opening game of the WNBA Finals, Maya Moore turned to Monica Wright and said:

“You’re fined.”

Wright just smiled. It’s not always easy accepting a reserve role, even on a team as talented as the Lynx. But Wright, a college star at Virginia and the second overall pick in the 2010 WNBA draft, has taken the role and run with it.

In Sunday’s 84-59 victory, Wright scored 20 points in 23½ minutes of playing time. She also had five rebounds, three assists and three steals and she took two charges.

As so often happens in high-level games, it was a player coming off the bench that made the difference. When Wright entered the game midway through the first quarter, the Lynx held a three-point lead. By the time she returned to the bench six-plus minutes into the second quarter, that lead had grown to 15.

Wright, a top candidate for the league’s sixth woman of the year award, has been doing this all season.

But on this stage, in a game this big?

“She was amazing,” Moore said, after having levied the fine. “She lifted us completely to another level. So much energy. Her defense, her hustle, her activity. We have known about her all season.’’

Wright wasn’t alone. Backup forward/center Devereaux Peters was also vital, playing good post defense and getting seven rebounds, four steals and three assists.

But this best-of-five finals series with Atlanta is a good match for Wright. Her speed and athletic ability are important against a quick Atlanta team whose offense is based on dribble penetration. Wright’s quickness could be seen all night, and her end-to-end speed was vital — especially on a night when starting point guard Lindsay Whalen contributed only three points.

This is a job that has been years in the making. Wright was primarily a starter in 2010, but she had to both accept and embrace her move to the bench, a role that got more important after the Lynx traded away Candice Wiggins in a three-team, offseason deal that brought Janel McCarville to the team.

“I think it’s an acquired skill,” Wright said. “I’d never been a bench player. [Coach Cheryl] Reeve talked to me all season about embracing the role, how important bench players are.’’

Ultimately, Wright came to like it. Watching the first few minutes of a game from the bench allows her to sense what the team needs when she gets in. When things go right, she is able to inject energy into a game like she did Sunday.

“Actually, Monnie is rare,” Reeve said. “She doesn’t need time [to get warmed up]. Whether she starts of comes off the bench, she’s the same. Monnie is like Vinnie Johnson of old.’’

Reeve was referring to guard Vinnie “The Microwave’’ Johnson, sixth man on the Detroit Pistons’ NBA title teams of 1989 and 1990.

Informed of the Johnson comparison Wright said, “Who?’’

Generational references aside, you get the point. Before the playoffs began Reeve told Wright of her 2001 season as assistant coach with the Charlotte Sting. After a horrid start to the season the Sting qualified for the playoffs, then made it all the way to the finals with bench players Tonya Edwards and Shalonda Enis helping lead the way. Reeve calls top reserves X-factors in the playoffs.

“We embrace our role,” Wright said. “We know we are important.’’

 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
San Francisco 0
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 66 3rd Qtr 6:20
Orlando 54
New York 46 2nd Qtr 0:31
Toronto 38
San Antonio 23 2nd Qtr 10:25
Houston 24
Miami 21 1st Qtr 2:14
Memphis 25
Minnesota 38 2nd Qtr 11:10
Chicago 34
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Utah
Sacramento 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Denver 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Dallas 1 2nd Prd 10:28
New Jersey 1
Tampa Bay 1 1st Prd 3:53
Winnipeg 0
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Colorado
Carolina 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Columbus 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 3 2nd Qtr 0:16
Cincinnati 17
Troy 3 2nd Qtr 5:48
South Alabama 10
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 0 1st Half 30:00
Chicago 0
Montreal 23 4:25
Ottawa 7
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close