Lynx guard Monica Wright played in Australia this past offseason for the Dandenong Rangers and got a pretty good feel for the type of culture not only on the continent but in the Womens National Basketball League. In a nutshell, she learned they are incredibly welcoming off the court (she calls them darlings, beautiful people), but they are gritty, physical basketball players on the courta big reason why theyve established themselves as a force on the Olympic level.
During her time there, she also learned about the Melbourne-area based rivalry between Dandenong and the Bulleen Boomers, which last year featured Rachel Jarrya player the Lynx traded for on draft day in 2011. Make no mistake, Wright learned Jarry embodies those same Australian traits.
Know her well, Wright said at Training Camp, joking: Know her elbows well.
Jarry is trying to make that same imprint with the Lynx during camp this month. Off the court, she has an engaging personality that has made her transition to America easy within Minnesotas locker room. But on the court, shes not holding back. She describes herself as a player who can aggressively throw her weight around, and among the Lynx start-studded roster shes trying to make her impact with that aggressive play.
Its something that has brought her this far.
Jarry averaged 13.9 points per game this season with Bulleen and scored a career-high 15.5 points the year before. She made her Olympic debut last season, helping Team Australia win the Bronze Medal in London.
Shes not new to intense competition, but joining this Lynx squad and trying to fulfill her WNBA dream did bring out some nerves when she first arrived in Minnesota. But talking with fellow Australians who have been successful in the league has helped. Phoenixs Penny Taylor, for instance, gave her compliments that she has a place over here.
Her international experience is also helpful.
Ive played some of the girls who played for Team USA teams, so I know I can compete against them, and I do have a place I think, Jarry said. Aussies are traditionally good shooters, theyre tough, they do the hustle plays and can play defense. Thats what Im trying to bring.
So far, shes impressing with that mindset.
Guard Lindsay Whalen said Jarrys been great in camp. On Thursday, when Whalen spent some time on the sidelines to rest during the teams scrimmage, she said she had a chance to sit back and watch some of the new players to see some of their tendencies.
Seeing her get by people and making things happen, that was fun to see, Whalen said. She seems like a really good person, and she works hard. Its kind of why the Australian National Team has had success over the years. Super-hard workers, can make the shots and really athletic plays, but they can really work hard and do whatever they can dot help the team. Shes showing that in camp.
As for the Dandenong/Bulleen rivalry, Jarry joked she didnt want to get into the fact that Wrights squad had the upper hand this year. When it comes to the WNBL rival teams, theres no love lost.
But she said she enjoyed getting to play against Wright and Jess Adair, who also played in the WNBL this winter. That has spilled over into Lynx camp this month.
Monica and Jess in particular have been very welcoming to me, Jarry said. Thats been very easy from the get-go, so no troubles there.
Wright added: Shes been awesome. Its good to have her here. Shell be a good addition to our Training Camp.
From here, Jarry understands what she needs to accomplish. Particularly on the court, shes hoping to bring the aggressiveness that got her to the WNBA each day on the court.
If she does that, shell be a good complement to the type of culture coach Cheryl Reeve has implemented in the Lynxs locker room.
I know their style of game and know what to look for and where their shots come from, Jarry said. Its been a pretty easy transition, I think. Ive been playing professionally so Im sort of used to new plays being thrown at me now and again. I cant complain so far. Its been good, and Im just looking forward to playing more and getting more scrimmages in.
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