Key Takeaways From The Lynx’s Scrimmage Against The Chinese National Team

On Wednesday night, the Lynx took on the Chinese National Team in a scrimmage at Target Center. The game was a fun one, with the Lynx winning 94-53 and Lynx members getting a chance to see some great action from Lynx regulars as well as a few players who probably won’t play as much when the season starts.

Though it was a scrimmage, this game was pretty intense, with both sides clearly trying to get the victory and show the other what they could do. However, the rotations were different than they would be in a typical Lynx game—Sylvia Fowles, Karima Christmas-Kelly and Seimone Augustus didn’t play. With that in mind, here are my key observations from the contest: 

Napheesa Collier Has Improved: The Lynx’s first preseason game against the Washington Mystics was a bit of a tough one for Collier. She demonstrated in Wednesday’s scrimmage that she’s working extremely hard to learn the Lynx’s system. She moved around the court very well, found her teammates in the right spots, fought for rebounds (she had two offensive rebounds for scores) and disrupted the game with her length and intelligent help on defense. The Lynx also want her to work on bringing the ball up after rebounds and she tried it a bit in this contest with good results. She’s going to be a good pro.

Damiris Dantas Is Tough As Nails: Dantas also had a rough game against the Mystics, but turned things around in a big way on Wednesday. She has great strength and used it to get whatever she wanted in the post and on the boards. She looked poised and confident after seeming unsure at times against D.C. She finished with 13 points, six rebounds, two steals and a block.

Jess Shepard Can Do It All: Shepard is the type of player who makes her living on hustle plays to the degree that sometimes you look at the box score and the numbers totally surprise you. She finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and a block, almost entirely a result of cleaning up the glass and getting open to help her teammates. She’s also continually showing she’ll be able to make a WNBA living on the margins, and I don’t mean that in a bad way, simply that she’ll be able to get hers regardless of how many plays get called explicitly for her. She’s way too active, way to strong and way too smart not to succeed.

Shao Ting Is A Pass-Fake Queen (With A Killer Spin Move): Shao Ting has been an unexpected standout in training camp so far. She’s strong, gets out and runs the floor, and in this one, she showed off a secret weapon of hers—the pass fake. On several occasions she completely sold a fake pass and had her defender running in the other direction before she either reversed and passed to a teammate or took it to the hole herself. Ting’s bread and butter, however, is her spin move. It’s unstoppable. You’ll know it when you see it. She spins so fast and has the ball up so quickly there’s no chance of blocking it.

Danielle Robinson Has Unlocked Another Level: Robinson was absolutely the best player on the court tonight. We might have to get used to saying that. Robinson spent the offseason locking down her understanding of the Lynx playbook and she looks healthy and happy as well. Last year, though Robinson still had her trademark speed, she didn’t really know how to use it. Now that her understanding of the Lynx’s game has caught up to the speed of her feet, she’s completely eviscerating her opponents. She’s bringing the heat.

Lexie Brown Can Catch Fire: Lynx fans should be extremely excited to watch Brown play. She was absolutely lethal tonight. She showed off fantastic handles and got to her spots in the midrange with ease. She also hit a few highlight-reel step-backs and finished with 13 points on six-for-10 shooting from the floor. Brown also demonstrated her ever-increasing command of the Lynx playbook with some fantastic passes and read her opponents very well on defense. She’s going to play a big role on the Lynx if she can play this well on both ends of the floor every night.

The Lynx have media day tomorrow before they hit the road to face the Aces over the weekend.