So who was the Minnesota Lynx's best player as the 2020 season wound down?
The easy answer is Napheesa Collier, of course. But how about:
Over the final seven games of last season Dantas averaged 18 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists, shot 54.1% and made better than 58% of her three-pointers. She was the Lynx's leading scorer in four playoff games (18.0), shooting 24-for-51 on three-pointers.
Perhaps it's possible to forget about Dantas in a season in which Crystal Dangerfield came out of the second round of the draft to win rookie of the year and Collier was second-team all-WNBA. During camp this season so much attention has been paid to the addition of Kayla McBride, Aerial Powers and Natalie Achonwa that Dantas kind of slipped through the cracks.
A mistake, Cheryl Reeve said.
"What we saw from Damiris (in 2020) was scoring in a variety of ways, not just being a three-point shooter. Her post game was very, very good.''
Reeve said Dantas' confidence took a jump after Sylvia Fowles was lost to injury. Reeve challenged both Collier and Dantas. Dantas, who averaged 12.9 points for the entire season, averaged 18 points over the final regular season games, shooting 54.1 % overall and 58.3 % on threes, with 7.9 rebounds. She was the team's leading scorer in four playoff games.
Reeve wants Dantas to remain aggressive, even when the Lynx are at full strength and there are more scorers on the floor.
"We have to keep her in that mind-set, it's really a really important component in what we're doing,'' Reeve said. "Especially as we go through different lineups. When she's out there, when the ball comes to her and she's open, she has to shoot.''
Kayla McBride was scheduled to arrive in the Twin Cities at 5 p.m. Wednesday. With both her and Napheesa Collier expected to miss at least the opener, other players will have to step up. Fortunately, Reeve said, the team got experience with that last year. Two players, in particular, appear ready to do that: Rachel Banham and Bridget Carleton.
"Those players look really good in camp,'' Reeve said. "They've come in with a different mind-set. Last year, for Rachel, I know it was her first year, she was feeling things out. She's not feeling things out [now]. She's grabbing the bull by the horns. Same for Bridget. They come with just a different confidence because of what they did in the bubble [last year].''