The 2022 Minnesota Lynx roster is all but set as veteran center Sylvia Fowles has re-upped for her 15th and final WNBA season, along with the signing of free-agent forward Angel McCoughtry.
Fowles was the second overall pick in 2008 by Chicago, the key part of a three-team trade that brought her to Minnesota in 2015, and a crucial member of the Lynx’s final two league titles (2015, 2017).
McCoughtry was the first overall pick in 2009 by Atlanta and played the last two seasons in Las Vegas.
Both Fowles and McCoughtry spoke to reporters last week, including the MSR, in separate Zoom press conferences.
“It pretty much was a no-brainer to choose to come back this year and finish out my season,” the veteran center said. “A lot of that had a lot to just do with the fans and making sure they get their appreciation of what I bring to this team.”
Minnesota Head Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve boldly declared, “I feel very, very strongly that I say [Fowles is] the best center, and in the truest terms of being a center, that has done everything. It starts with her competitive drive, her passion, her will to win that produces in the way of statistics and rebounding.”
Four-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (2011, 2013, 2016, 2021), 2017 league MVP, seven-time All-Star, and four-time Olympic gold medalist (2008, 2012, 2016, 2021), Fowles’ future Hall of Fame numbers can’t be argued against.
The 6’6” center leads Minnesota in field gold accuracy, rebounds and blocks per game, total blocks, and double-doubles. She averaged a double-double in 2021 (16 points, 10 rebounds) and led the W in shooting (64%).
When asked how much of the league she has seen transformed and changed for the better over the course of her 15-year illustrious career, Fowles told the MSR, “I can recall back when I was just entering this league and we was doing [the] collective bargaining agreement, we just took whatever there was to give us because we weren’t strong enough.
“We didn’t speak up for [ourselves],” continued Fowles. “You fast forward to a couple of seasons ago where you just have this unbelievable force of women just understanding what they are worth, what we want and what we think we need to come together.
“Women are very stubborn,” added Fowles. “So, when we put our mind to something, it’s bound to get done. But I can definitely say that’s my focus on the things that we deserve throughout this league [and it] has definitely been tremendous to watch over these last 15 years.”
McCoughtry, the 12-year veteran played in three league finals (2010, 2011, 2013) and is a two-time league-leading scorer (2012, 2013), 2009 Rookie of the Year, and five-time All-Star, she also holds single-game scoring records in a Finals game (38 points vs. Minnesota, 2011) and a playoff game (42 points vs. New York, 2010). She also is a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2012, 2016).
“Anytime Angel [is] on the floor, something’s going to happen,” said Reeve of McCoughtry.
“I’m grateful to be a part of the community of Minnesota,” McCoughtry told reporters.
When asked about her plans to get involved, McCoughtry told the MSR, “I’m actually glad you asked that question because that’s the first thing I thought about after signing. I understand this is a mecca of social injustice. What can I get involved in? What can I do?
“So, I actually plan on meeting with the team and our PR people in Minnesota to see what they’re actively involved in and how I can be involved,” she said. “I want to be involved in the community, and I’m ready to learn what the community is about so I will be definitely [willing to] help [fight against] social injustice.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.