Day 1 of Training Camp is in the books for the Minnesota Lynx, and while the defending champs were without their core players on Sunday night, the team was able to get some newer players integrated with the system.
All-Stars Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson, along with Janel McCarville and Dev Peters were not present due to overseas commitments.
It was a chance for head coach Cheryl Reeve and her coaching staff to start fresh with a roster of seven rookies at the LifeTime Fitness Practice Facility. The only players that practiced from last years championship team were Lindsey Moore and Maya Moore.
The team tried to knock the rust off, and plan a few plays in the heads of the newbies. Rookie first-round pick Tricia Liston learned a lot on the first day, even it was just the basics.
I think theres going to be a lot more thrown at us, Liston said. You know, its good to start day one with just a little bit and then keep moving forward from that.
With a roster full of veterans, there aren't a lot of roster spots up for grab. Thats what makes this week so unique. These young players are able to showcase their abilities while getting full attention from the coaching staff. Its not very common to have that opportunity.
Reeve said that she hopes to have the group of players we saw today practice all week and play some major minutes during next Mondays home preseason game against the Australian national team.
Yeah, thats the plan, Reeve said. We worked hard all week and you know, put them in a game would be fun for them, show what they can do, because sometimes you have practice players, and sometimes you have gamers and sometimes its really cool to see what you watch all week in practice, what it actually looks like in a game.
Wright Out With Knee Injury
There was some negative news coming out of camp on Sunday evening.
Reeve announced that the teams top bench player, Monica Wright, would be out for a short period of time after undergoing left knee surgery on Friday.
In her workouts last week she was having trouble with her knee, a little bit of swelling and pain and as a precaution, went to get an MRI and they found some stuff and got her cleaned up, Reeve said. Hopefully shell be pain free when she gets back.
Thats a big blow to a team that depended on Wright so much last season at both the backup shooting guard and point guard position. Expect the team to release more details on Wrights injury later this week.
This makes the signing of Tan White look pretty smart. The nine-year veteran out of Mississippi State had a very nice practice and will likely fill Wrights role until she returns, which Lynx fans hope is sooner rather than later.
Still, White has a lot to offer this team on both sides of the ball. Her ball handling is exceptional, as is her on-ball defense. She also made some nice 3-pointers from the corner on some catch-and-shoot opportunities.
Like I told Tan, theres not too many things that were going to say to her thats going to surprise her, Reeve said. In terms of how to defend a pick and roll, how to come off a pick and roll, because at this age, theyve done it, all different ways, you just have to tell them what way you want it done and theyll do it, so thats what Tan gives you, she gives you that veteran presence.
The team announced last week that guard Sugar Rodgers had been traded to the New York Liberty. Two other players from last seasons championship squad that are not on the teams preseason roster are small forward Rachel Jarry and forward/center Amber Harris.
Liston nailed a few 3s going through some drills during practice. The Lynx brought her in, hoping she can do that in games. Liston thinks she can fit right in.: When I talked to coach about things before over the phone, you cant really see it, but when we were doing stuff on the floor, I really saw myself fitting into it and I really liked the stuff that we learned today so, Im excited.
Forward Damiris Dantas from Brazil had a translator on hand. Dantas speaks very little English. But despite that, she had a very solid first day.
Its obviously helped out Damiris and its helped out us as well, I thought she had a good first day given some of the barriers, Reeve said. I learned one word today, good I think Ill try to learn a couple more today to help her out.
Former University of Minnesota womens head basketball coach Pam Borton was on hand to witness practice. According to Reeve, Borton was doing her usual observing.
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