by Dan Bell
Suzie McConnell Serio knows exactly when she found out that veteran point guard Teresa Edwards was coming back for another WNBA season. "I have it marked on my calendar when I got the message from her," the Lynx coach said. "It was Feb. 17. She left me a message, is how I found out she was coming back for this year. It's very exciting because she is a great player who brings so much to this team."
The 39-year-old Edwards (she turns 40 on July 19) has brought a lot to women's basketball over the years. She's the only U.S. basketball player — male or female — to play in five Olympics. The most decorated women's player in the history of USA Basketball, she was named USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year in 1987, 1990 and 1996. Edwards tops USA Olympic career records in assists, steals and games played while ranking second in points and fourth in rebounds.
A member of four gold-medal-winning Olympic teams (1984, 1988, 1996 and 2000), Edwards was a teammate of McConnell Serio in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics and a teammate of Lynx guard Katie Smith at the 2000 Olympics. A member of 19 different USA Basketball teams, she has won 14 gold medals overall and has compiled an overall record of 153-8.
Edwards played and coached in the American Basketball League from 1996-98, becoming a two-time All-ABL First Team member, a two-time ABL All-Star and the runner-up for the league MVP award in 1996-97. She scored a league-record 46 points in November 1997 and led the league in assists in 1997-98. In three seasons (98 games), she averaged 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. She was a two-time All-American at Georgia who reached the Final Four twice. The school has retired her uniform #5.
Edwards did not join the WNBA until the Lynx drafted her in 2003. She decided to take a low-key approach and be more of a passing point guard and subjugate her obvious scoring abilities. Her averages — 5.3 points and 4.4 assists — were decent last year, but McConnell Serio expects to see a more productive Edwards this season.
" 'T' is more comfortable — I know she has a wealth of experience — but she now has a year with this team, a year of being in the WNBA and knowing what the schedule is like in the summertime," McConnell Serio said. "She has come back in better shape, ahead of the game from last year. I believe she'll be a difference-maker for us this year. I think she will take more responsibility on herself to be a scorer."
Her numbers are already up in 2004. Through the first eight games of the regular season, Edwards is averaging 7.1 points and 4.5 assists per game, ranking sixth in the WNBA in the latter category. She also ranks third in the league in steals at 2.13 per game. Edwards scored a career-high 17 points in the season opener at Seattle on May 20, hitting a personal-best four three-pointers. She added seven assists in that game, one short of her career high of eight set three times last season.
"I believe she thinks that we can go even further (than the first round of the playoffs)," McConnell Serio concluded, "because she is someone who has communicated to me that she wants to win a championship and she wants to go out on top."
Edwards photo gallery
Edwards' WNBA.com playerfile
Edwards' USA Basketball profile
April 25, 2003: Lynx select Edwards in WNBA Draft
2003 feature: Rookie in Name Only
Lynx features archive