It could be said that five games into the season might be a bit premature to celebrate the 2014 Minnesota Lynx. I disagree. The defending WNBA champions picked up where they left off last season and are off to another fast start in pursuit of their third title in four years. Coach Cheryl Reeve has the ultimate challenge this year. All-Star Rebekkah Brunson, the team’s leading rebounder, and key reserves Monica Wright and Devereaux Peters all had knee surgery before the season and have not played yet. Continue Reading →
Spotlight on the Gophers 100
By Charles Hallman
There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Freshman center Amanda Zahui B.
After sitting out last season after arriving at the University of Minnesota, one might think homesickness could be a common reoccurrence for Swedish-born Amanda Zahui B. But she says it’s not so: “I’ve been by myself since I was 15. I’m used to being away from my family,” the 6’-5” redshirt freshman center tells us. Despite her Patti Labelle declaration of being on her own, Zahui still misses her family. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
LaShay Holt and Annessa Hicks played together for one year at St. Paul Humboldt High School. Holt was a freshman and Hicks was a senior. Their prep careers almost mirror each other: Both finished their high-school careers as 1,000-point scorers and were named the St. Paul City Conference MVP in their respective senior seasons. Continue Reading →
Roster size — go to even or stay odd?
First of a four-part series
Although it’s America’s longest running women’s pro league, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is still seen by too many as below major league status. The MSR talked about this and related issues with coaches, players, analysts, fans and league officials throughout the league’s 17th season; their insights are included in this multi-part series on the WNBA.
Injuries perhaps hurt the WNBA more than any other pro league. Each WNBA club has 11-player rosters, and unlike other leagues they do not have an injured reserve list. Continue Reading →
It again occurred literally seconds after the Minnesota Lynx last week won its second WNBA title in three years — the “d” word was vainly uttered. After reading a local newspaper’s Sunday Lynx dynasty story, the team’s longest tenured beat reporter looked up “sports dynasty,” which is subjectively too often overused by uneducated sportswriters. The term “sports dynasty” applies to a team that dominates its sport or league for multiple seasons. Examples are UCLA’s 10-straight national championships in 12 years; or eight straight for the Boston Celtics or the Houston Comets, winners of the first four WNBA titles in as many tries (1997-2000); or Concordia University’s six Division II volleyball titles. Or there’s the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team, two-times-straight national champions, who I watched last Friday win their 52nd straight game. Continue Reading →
Monday was a special day a day of celebration for the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx. Since 1978, I have covered sports with great distinction in this town, and days like Monday are rare indeed, the community coming together to celebrate being number one. It does not happen often; winning is easier said than done. The Twins, led by the late Kirby Puckett, brought home championships in 1987 and 1991, and the Lynx in 2011 won it all the first time. As they say, that’s all folks. Continue Reading →
Monday’s Minnesota Lynx championship celebration looked more like a bon voyage send-off, especially given that every player soon will leave for off-season overseas jobs. “It’s awesome having our fans out here and be able to say good-bye to them,” said Lynx guard Monica Wright, who heads to South Korea by month’s end.
Added Israel-bound rookie Sugar Rodgers of her first overseas assignment, “I’m going down to take care of a little business, to see my family before I head out.”
“It’s a long off season, and I will miss this group,” noted Maya Moore, who will play again in China. Mounds of confetti became a temporary asphalt blanket on Monday as the procession that carried the 2013 WNBA Champions Lynx moved slowly along Nicollet Avenue, with adoring fans providing escort as they made their way to their downtown Minneapolis basketball home. There, inside, a large crowd impatiently awaited the arrival of the only local pro team that boasts a championship trophy these days. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
The 2013 WNBA Playoffs begin this week: Washington-Atlanta and Indiana-Chicago in the East, and Minnesota-Seattle and Los Angeles-Phoenix in the West in the four best-of-three first-round matchups.
“When we get into the playoffs, it’s our own destiny,” notes Indiana guard Shavonte Zellous, a member of the 2012 defending champions. The Fever, the only sub-.500 club among the eight playoff teams, has been injury-riddled all season. “We’ve gotten some good wins and some tough losses as well,” explains forward Tamika Catchings. “I think we’ve gotten better from the beginning of the season to now.”
“We are going to make a good run,” predicts Zellous. Continue Reading →
UNCASVILLE, CONN. — “Her-stories” were aplenty here last Saturday at the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game. “I think it is very reflective of the 17th season of the WNBA,” said League President Laurel Richie. “We have a wonderful mix of rookies and first-timers but also many of our veterans coming back.”
After a couple of near opportunities that for one reason or another didn’t materialize, Shelley Patterson was finally a West All-Star assistant coach. “It’s taken me a long time,” admitted the Minnesota Lynx’s only Black assistant coach. Continue Reading →
The 2013 WNBA season opened last weekend in Dickensian fashion — great expectations. “I think this is the most anticipated season for me,” proclaims ESPN analyst and former WNBA coach/general manager Carolyn Peck. SB Nation’s Nate Parham analyzed each W club, in 25 words or less, by conference, beginning with the East:
[New coach Mike Thibault] “will make a huge difference” in Washington, but unresolved ball-handling issues may prove too much. Atlanta still is Angel McCoughtry’s team, but point guard might be a problem. This year’s second overall pick, Elena Delle Donne, will help Chicago, but can the Sky overcome the early absence of star guard Epiphanny Prince, who contractually must play in Russia in June? Continue Reading →