MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Lynx open their season Saturday night. Finally.
By a quirk in the schedule, they’re the last to get going. Half the teams in the WNBA have already played twice, including Saturday’s opponent – the Connecticut Sun.
No matter how many games you play, there’s nothing like an opening night, says Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen.
“There’s that added extra energy and anticipation that everyone has,” Whalen said.
Coach Cheryl Reeve says her team is more than ready to play.
“These guys haven’t played a game, so they are very geeked-up to kind of get this season started. Probably didn’t sleep as well last night just because you’re excited. It’s been a long week,” Reeve said.
She adds that the biggest advantage to having the extra week of preparation was not having to rush back their late-arriving overseas players – Seimone Augustus and Rebekka Brunson. They still had three weeks in camp despite getting in late.
“We used that extra week to bring in the rookies and some new plays. Get ourselves playing together. The group that’s coming back, get Janel (McCarville) in the mix, and we used it very well,” Whalen said.
It’s a group that’s had a lot of success: A WNBA title two years ago and a return to the finals last year.
Center Janel McCarville says with leaders firmly in place, the transition back into the season was a smooth one, albeit full of hard work.
“New players, such as myself and the rookies, come in and we have great leadership, and we follow that,” McCarville said.
The Lynx have the experience and the talent, but can they do it again?
“I think anytime you have three Olympians on your perimeter, you have a chance to be successful, as long as we’re healthy. The league has certainly grown more competitive, especially in the West, and I think probably the most important thing is that we don’t measure our success against the second-best two-year run in league history,” Reeve said. “That’s not going to be our barometer for success. We’re solely focused on this season. Our measure of success is gonna be how we stack up against the rest of the teams. I certainly think with the talent that we have and the experience that we have, we should have a chance to be successful.”
The Lynx play the Connecticut Sun 7 p.m. at Target Center.