Friday night was a rough one for the Lynx, but on the positive side, Minnesota fans got a good look at what Tanisha Wright is capable of doing for this team.
In a back-and-forth and emotional contest, Wright was right there with the Lynx every step of the way. Known as an elite defender, Wright fed off the game’s intensity, marshaling Minnesota on the defensive end and helping the team get stops.
Two plays stood out in particular: a strip of DeWanna Bonner that led to a Danielle Robinson fast-break score, and a lockdown defensive stand that resulted in a shot clock violation with around nine minutes to go in the fourth.
Wright was excellent on offense as well. She scored 15 points on 5-6 shooting and was perfect from three. She also collected three rebounds and handed out four assists in 22 minutes of play. That’s efficient basketball.
Wright is an outspoken leader—a product of her 12 years in the WNBA—but she also leads with her play on the floor. She didn’t come to the Lynx to defer, to sit quietly and let things come to her. Wright came to play, and when she began contemplating a return to the WNBA, going somewhere that needed her on the court was a priority. Wright knows she is capable of performing at a high level.
Wright will say it herself—she is competitive. It was her competitiveness that drew her back into the league, and it’s that same competitiveness that allows her to be so effective in doing whatever her team needs from her on any given night.
“It’s my personality, that’s who I’ve always been,” said Wright about her intensity off the bench. “Whether I’ve been on the bench or whether or not I’ve been a starter for me it’s just a part of my DNA, part of my makeup. That’s how I feed off things and that’s how I get better so I try to bring what I’m able to do.”
Wright is valuable to the Lynx because she has experience winning, but she’s new to the team, so she can bring a fresh perspective on what needs to get done. In terms of getting back into the win column, Wright believes it’s not about doing the same things that have worked in the past for the team, but rather finding a new way forward for the group.
“We gotta just bear down and decide we’re going to win games by any means necessary. Right now I think that’s where we’re at,” said Wright. “Every year is different, every journey is different. Winning looks different every single year, no year looks the same. So we need to figure out what that looks like for this team, this year, and ultimately just decide, we’re going to win games.”
Everyone knew the Lynx would need their veterans this season, but with Wright in the locker room that group has a new addition. She may not have played with the Lynx as long as a Lindsay Whalen or Rebekkah Brunson, but she has just as much experience in the league. When Wright is locked in, her teammates respond. With her on the court, there won’t be any giving up or hanging of heads. In her own words, it’s time to bear down.