There are a few new faces on the 2014 Minnesota Lynx roster
this season. This week’s “View” takes a look at two of them
Normally. a later-round pick is considered a long shot to make a WNBA roster, yet alone one that virtually carried over its 2013 championship squad intact. Forward Asia Taylor as a result didn’t beat any odds, but rather took advantage of circumstances clearly out of her control and had an impressive training camp.
The 6’-1” Taylor told the MSR that her college coach, Louisville’s Jeff Walz, who also coached All-Star Angel McCoughtry, prepared her well for the present. “He was really good at teaching me the game and showing me how to see different things,” she said of Walz, who helped develop her “discipline” game as well.
“Coming into a program like this, they are looking for disciplined players who know how to read the game and different aspects of it,” continued Taylor, who was named the American Athletic Conference’s Most Improved Player while she helped the Cardinals to the Elite Eight and a 33-5 record.
“If she hadn’t got picked up by this team, somebody definitely would have picked her up,” Minnesota Assistant Coach Shelley Patterson told the MSR, adding that Taylor earlier impressed the team coaches as a senior at Louisville, especially with her toughness.
“She didn’t get a lot of the credit but did a lot of the dirty work. She made that team go,” Patterson recalled. “She’s a little bit undersized [at small and power forward], but she does not back down.
“She’s very coachable,” continued Patterson. “We’ve asked her to rebound more, and she’s done that. We’ve asked her to finish shots, and she’s done that. We told her to make more of her free throws.”
The coach also likes Taylor’s team-first attitude: “I like the fact that she gave up her graduation time,” said Patterson.
During pro sports’ shortest preseason, Taylor not only got her first-time-playing-in-a-pro-game jitters, she also got temporary star-gazing out of her system. “The first time I put on this uniform, you can’t imagine the emotion I felt,” she pointed out. “Down in Orlando, I met [Indiana’s] Tamika Catchings, one of my favorite all-time players. She said, ‘Hey, rookie! How’s it going?’ It definitely was an ‘ah’ moment for me.”
A silly recent Minneapolis newspaper article mentioned that 10-year veteran guard Tan White would have a hard time learning how to play point guard after signing with the Lynx as a free agent in April. “I’m not going to say it should be a
hard adjustment when I always played the two-guard,” she later told the MSR when asked about the article.
But she can’t hide that she is a known shooter — the 5’-7” White led all Division I scorers as a senior at Mississippi State in 2004-05. She was second among WNBA rookies in making threes in the summer of 2005 with Indiana, the club that chose her second overall in that year’s draft. The backcourt performer also has been among her club leaders in treys whether at the Fever (four seasons) or Connecticut (five seasons).
“It’s just a matter of learning the plays and reading defenses” now at the point, White pointed out of her new role in Minnesota. “But as a veteran player, I’m comfortable out there.”
Finally, when asked if her new job has settled in yet, Taylor admitted, “It’s very easy to get lost in everything that is going on. This is a blessing.”
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.