On a team that has battled injuries for much of the season, Lynx center Janel McCarville has been a steadying force who has helped the 2013 WNBA champions again ascend to a lofty position in the league standings. With the playoffs set to start in a little over a week, the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand caught up with McCarville on a number of subjects.
Q First off, the important thing: Thursday was Janel McCarville bobblehead night. Did you get to see it beforehand?
A I saw it [Thursday] morning. That was the first time I saw it in person.
Q Approve or disapprove?
A Um, it’s a bobblehead, I can’t be mad about it. I don’t know if they ever really look like the people so much, but I think they did OK. They got my hair, my beautiful face and the earrings. It’s pretty good.
Q Was that your first one, or did you have a bobblehead at the U of M, too?
A I did get one at the U, but that one looked nothing like me. [Lindsay] Whalen had a bobblehead that was probably an inch taller than me, so I don’t really get that. She had hers first, and then they made mine. Budget cuts, I guess? They made them smaller.
Q But it’s kind of an honor, right?
A Oh, definitely. Regardless of if it looks like me, it has my name and number on it, so it’s me. It’s great. I’m glad the team did it, and I’m in bobblehead history here in Minnesota.
Q OK, shifting gears, it feels like this team is hitting its stride after a rough patch midway through the year. How was the team able to get through that?
A We were going back and forth between nine and 10 players for a while, obviously key ingredients when [Seimone Augustus] and [Rebekkah] Brunson were out. To fight through it collectively as a team, get better, people got minutes where they might not have gotten minutes normally, so hopefully it’s going to prepare us for this late run we’re making and into the playoffs.
Q You guys won it all last year. You went through this a little with the Gophers, too, after getting to the Final Four. Is it harder to sustain success rather than get to that level of success?
A Yeah, I think so. I mean, you have a bull’s-eye on your back, and everybody wants to come get you because of that reason. I’m sure Indiana felt it the year after they won. I know Minnesota players talked about it the year after they won in 2011. Yes, it is there.
Q Why do you feel this team can win another championship?
A The collectiveness and the core group we have, having had them win it, then lose it the next year, then step back up the year after that, the maturity the team has gained from that will give us a better possibility. In late games, we’ve stepped up collectively as a group in order to eke out some wins. Coach [Cheryl Reeve] yells at us for barely winning, but a win is a win.
Q Maya Moore — four player-of-the-week awards, then player of the month. What level is she at right now?
A She’s playing in a different world right now. It started early in the season, then she hit a tough patch when people were keying on her, but she’s definitely helping us pull out wins right now.