Column: Temi Time In Poland And An NCAA Look-Ahead

It’s been a few months since the Lynx played their last game and I’m probably not alone in missing watching the team play every few days. It wasn’t the most successful season the Lynx have had, but looking back it was certainly a ton of fun. While the team has gone their separate ways over the offseason, many Lynx players are still playing basketball overseas. Plus, the women’s college season is about to kick off! With the Lynx owning the No. 6 pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pay attention. If you haven’t followed the NCAA women’s game before, it’s understandable that it could be a little overwhelming to jump into the season, but last year’s season was very exciting, so it will be well worth it to catch a few games. Let’s take a quick trip around the world of women’s basketball—it’s no WNBA, but there’s a lot going on.

Poland Loves Temi

Young Lynx center Temi Fagbenle had a phenomenal showing in the Lynx’s playoff loss to the Sparks, and she’s carried her momentum overseas. She’s been an absolute beast for CCC Polkowice. In BLK league play she’s averaging 17.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, an assist and a steal in just 26.3 minutes per game. She’s also shooting 50 percent from three. In her only EuroLeague game so far, she scored 20 points and added seven rebounds an assist and a block. She also displayed poise under pressure, hitting a game-winning buzzer-beater for Polkowice in a game against Energa Torun.

While Fagbenle struggled to find the court at times for the Lynx playing behind Sylvia Fowles, she was a bright spot in the later part of the season. Overseas, with the opportunity to lead a team, Fagbenle has a chance to develop more go-to scoring ability and gain experience being the anchor of a defense. So far, things are going very well.

Euro Guards 

Fagbenle isn’t the only Lynx player who’s been playing well overseas. Alexis Jones and Sydney Colson, who Minnesota signed late last season, have both put together a few solid outings as well. Colson is averaging 11.5 points, 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.25 steals per game in Poland and Jones has played in one league game and one EuroLeague game for the Turkish squad Hatay BSB and scored 13 and 11 points and added five and six assists, respectively. It’s not completely clear what either players’ role with the Lynx will be, it’s far from a sure thing that Colson will even be on the team, but what is certain is that it’s a good thing to have your players playing well.

One player not playing so well so far is Cecilia Zandalasini. The second-year combo forward lit it up for the Lynx last season, but has been under the weather lately, missing a few games and being limited in a few more. She’s incredibly talented though, so she’ll definitely break through at some point. Zandalasini is playing with Fenerbahce this offseason. We’ll have ongoing updates on Lynx players plus stats and more here—bookmark that page if you want to follow along.

Way Too Early Picks

The Lynx will have the sixth pick in the upcoming WNBA draft, so Minnesota fans have even more of a reason to watch the upcoming women’s college season. Months and months before the draft, it’s far too early to say who the Lynx might pick, but given the team’s need for perimeter shooting and depth at the guard spots there are a few players Lynx fans should keep an eye on this season.

  • Katie Lou Samuelson, SG, UConn: If the Lynx want shooting, Samuelson is the clearest option. Last season, her junior year at UConn, she made 47.5 percent of her three-point attempts. That’s not a typo. If she can replicate that success at the WNBA level she’d immediately become the best shooter in the league. She’s such a talent and shooting is such a premium in the league right now she might not make it to the Lynx at No. 6, especially if she has another stellar season, but should she slip the Lynx could get a steal.
  • Arike Ogunbowale, G, Notre Dame: Ogunbowale is rightly remembered for hitting two game-winning buzzer-beaters in the final seconds of Notre Dame’s semi-final and national championship games last season. She’s got ice in her veins. Even outside her late-game heroics, however, she’s a very productive player. Ogunbowale averaged 20.8 points per game, shooting 44.3 percent from the field last year. She’s a talented scorer but the question is if her scoring can translate into a smaller role as she hasn’t been very efficient in her last few seasons. If she can show improved playmaking and efficiency this season, many WNBA teams will be interested.
  • Asia Durr, G, Louisville: The reigning ACC Player of the Year is another proven go-to scorer who could help any WNBA team. She dropped 47 points on Ohio State last November. She scored more than 20 points in a game 38 times and more than 30 points in a game eight times. Last year, she averaged 18.7 points and shot 44.3 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from deep. Durr carries Louisville and her ability to go off on any given night makes Louisville must-see TV this season.

Baby Brunson!

In case you missed it, there’s a new member of the Brunson family! Rebekkah Brunson and her wife Bobbi Jo Lamar Brunson welcomed Graham Matteo Lamar Brunson to the family in mid-October. They look very happy and the baby is very cute. Congratulations!

Danielle Robinson Update

Robinson is progressing slowly but surely in her recovery from an ankle injury that required surgery towards the end of last season. It’s obviously a frustrating process to rehab an injury, but Robinson is undoubtedly making the most of her time. She went to the Minnesota State Fair, was a guest coach at Lindsay Whalen’s Maroon & Gold scrimmage at the University of Minnesota and she’s been hanging out with John Focke a lot. Robinson joined the voice of Lynx Radio for several sit-downs, and they’re a super interesting listen if you have a few minutes. Robinson really started to put things together at the end of last season and as the Lynx’s projected starting point guard it’s very encouraging that she chose to spend her offseason in Minnesota rehabbing at Mayo Clinic and getting to know the city better. No word yet on how she’s handling the cold.

That’s all for now, Lynx fans, but after a bit of a break we’re getting back into offseason content so there should be some fun stuff coming up. Stay tuned!