Lynx Rolling In 2017, But Have ‘More To Achieve’

Mitchell Hansen
Web Editorial Associate

The first three months of the 2017 WNBA season have gone about as well as the Minnesota Lynx could have hoped.

Coming into the season on a mission, the Lynx have rattled off a record of 19-2 over from the middle of May through the month of July, a start that is the best in franchise history.

But as the calendar flips over to August, that hot start moves to a thing of the past for the Minnesota players and coaches. They have their eyes on finishing the 2017 season just as strong as they started it.

“It means home stretch. It means sprint to the finish. It means you’re seeing teams for the second or third time, in most cases,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “You move into a different phase of, you’re not going to be able to run your stuff cleanly at this point. That moves you closer towards playoffs. Being able to play when somebody takes something away is really important that this point.”

Minnesota will begin the month of August with 13 games left (11 in August, two in September) on the regular season schedule, the most remaining games of any team in the WNBA. Six of those games will be at home in St. Paul, while the remaining seven will be on the road.

“August is a big month for us. We have a lot of games, a lot of travel and time to get better,” Lindsay Whalen said. “We want to be a well-oiled machine when we enter playoffs.”

In Minnesota’s 19-2 start to the season, they were arguably the best team in the WNBA. They currently rank first in points per game (87.4), assists (21.2) and points allowed (76.9), second in three-point percentage (37.1 percent) and third in field goal percentage (47.9 percent) and team steals (8.1).

The strong start the Lynx have put together this season has been impressive, showing their hard work in the offseason and during the season has payed off. But they will be the first to tell you, they have more they want to achieve in 2017.

The Lynx have been rolling so far this season. And their goal is to have that trend continue as the regular season comes to a close and beyond.

“We have something that we know is really special here that we’ve been building since 2010 and 2011. We put team first and want what’s best for each other,” Whalen said. “You want to give yourself a chance in the playoffs. The other night we achieved the first goal of reaching the playoffs. We have more to achieve this season. We want to do it together.

“At the end of the day, we are winning and we are having fun doing it.”

Fowles Receives Third Straight Player Of The Month Award

The WNBA announced Tuesday that Sylvia Fowles was named the Western Conference Player of the Month for July.

She has now won the award three straight times out of the three possible times this season.

“She is the MVP of our league up to this point. There is nobody better than Syl at owning a spot deep in the paint,” Reeve said. “Just overall patience and developing her skill. She’s worked really, really hard with James (Wade) in particular, as well as Walt (Hopkins).”

Entering Thursday’s game against Atlanta, Fowles is averaging 20.9 points (ranks 2nd in WNBA), 9.8 rebounds (3rd in WNBA), two blocks (3rd in WNBA), 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals (13th in WNBA) per game.

“She’s an all-around helper and great player. Not only does she do a lot for us on the court, but off,” Whalen said. “Syl comes in everyday, works hard and does her thing. This year, she’s taken her game up a couple of levels. It’s exciting to see a player 10 years into your career to have a year like this.”

Fowles and the Lynx return to action on Thursday when they host the Atlanta Dream at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The game will be aired on ESPN2 and 106.1 BOB FM.