Lynx not defending their title until playoff spot clinched





By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


There once was a movie called, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Substitute “Minnesota Lynx” for the fictional title character, and you have perhaps the top storyline of the 2012 WNBA season, which began last weekend.

The annual league GM survey last week put the Lynx as favorites to repeat as WNBA champs later this year. However, defending a title can only take place if the last-year champions reach the post season. Consequently, the words “defending champions” will not be uttered from this columnist’s lips until Minnesota clinches a 2012 playoff spot.

Nonetheless, following are comments received when this columnist asked a range of sources if the Lynx can successfully transition from being a hunter to being the hunted this season:

Minnesota third-year guard Monica Wright: “I think every single person in this program is willing to adjust their role, because we want [the championship] again that bad.”

Timberwolves broadcaster Lea B. Olsen: “I think they are going to be as strong as ever. I think the only thing that gives you a little bit of worry is that training camp wasn’t as smooth as players came in late [because of overseas commitments]. Last year they had a perfect training camp.

“The other thing that will be different is playing as defending champs,” Olsen continued. “That experience will be new for them. Every single team will be ready for them and want to beat them. They have to be game on, ready to play all the time, but I think this team is ready for the challenge.”

ESPN Analyst Carolyn Peck: “It’s uncharted waters.”

San Antonio Coach Dan Hughes: “They’re a very good team. I think they’re positioned to be the team that’s the mark that we’re all shooting to be in competition with or better.”

Former Lynx star Katie Smith, now with Seattle: “You’ve got to stay hungry. I think with that team and as young as they are, it’s just constantly kind of having a chip on your shoulder…an us-against-them type of thing where everybody wants to take it from us.”


Moved up

U of M Women’s Coach Pam Borton last week announced she has promoted Curtis Loyd from assistant coach to associate head coach. He is the first Black to hold such a position in Gopher women basketball.

“He is very deserving,” Borton said in a prepared statement. “He has really brought a wealth of experience into this program over the past two years. He has worked very hard, and we are excited about the future of the program.”

“I thought it was the biggest compliment to me,” Loyd told the MSR. “It is a great time to be at Minnesota. I am so excited.”


Duly honored

South Carolina Women’s Basketball Coach Dawn Staley was named female coach of the year by the Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA).

In her fourth season, Staley’s squad was 25-10 overall and defeated six top-25 teams during the season, including Tennessee for the first time ever in school history. The Gamecocks reached the Sweet 16 in their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2003.

Last year, Staley was named among the WNBA’s greatest players ever.


Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to