Scouting Report: Lynx at Sun
Web Editorial Associate
Lynx (0-0) vs. Sun (1-0) - 6 p.m. Mohegan Sun Arena
Follow the box score on WNBA Game Tracker at LynxBasketball.com
The 2011 WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx enter the 2012 season knowing they're the team to beat, and their expectations are higher than ever.
“We know people are going to be coming for us, being the defending champs," said Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen during training camp. "We’re just going to take it day by day. We just have to stay working hard and making sure we’re getting our shots up and having fun. That’s what we did last year.”
The Lynx will set out on the road to repeat with their first pre-season game in Connecticut tonight at 6 p.m.
Connecticut kicked off pre-season play at home Monday with a 96-81 win over New York. The Sun spread out their scoring to defeat the Liberty, with Kalana Greene and Asjha Jones scoring 12 points each, Renee Montgomery finishing with 11 points and Kara Lawson, Danielle McCray and Sidney Spencer adding 10 apiece. The Liberty was led by Kara Braxton's 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Minnesota comes off a 27-7 regular season record last year, the best in franchise history. In the postseason, the Lynx went on to defeat the San Antonio Silver Stars in three games and the Phoenix Mercury in two to reach the finals, where they swept the Atlanta Dream to win their first WNBA championship.
The Sun finished the 2011 season 21-13, losing 2-0 to Atlanta in the conference semi-finals.
Last time out
Last season, the Lynx split the series with the Sun, winning their first matchup 90-67 at Target Center on July 9 and losing 108-79 in Connecticut on August 16. In the August 16 loss, Whalen led the Lynx with 20 points, with Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson adding 11 apiece. Connecticut's Renee Montgomery had 17 points and seven assists, and Kara Lawson had 16 points, shooting 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Tina Charles also added 16 points for the Sun.
Key matchup: Whalen vs. Montgomery
Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen, coming into her third year in Minnesota, has proven to be a crucial part of the Lynx's offense, averaging 12.6 points per game in 2010 and 13.6 points per game in 2011. She’s provided a veteran leadership to the team that led them to a WNBA title last year, and she has been selected to compete in the London Olympic Games this summer.
Sun guard Renee Montgomery just missed playing alongside Whalen, as she made the opposite move, from Minnesota to Connecticut, in 2009. During her time with the Sun, Montgomery has averaged 13.3 and 14.6 points per game in 2010 and 2011. She’s proven herself as a quick point guard with the ability to penetrate or shoot from three-point range.
Lynx roster additions
The Lynx have made several additions to their roster this year in veteran guard Erin Thorn and rookies Devereaux Peters, Julie Wojta, Queralt Casas and Brittany Rayburn.
The signing of Thorn, a veteran guard who spent six seasons with the New York Liberty and the last three with the Chicago Sky, provides the Lynx with another ball handler and a threat from the three-point line, adding to the depth of their bench.
Rookie forward Devereaux Peters comes to the Lynx from Notre Dame, where she averaged 11.9 points, 2.12 assists and 9.3 rebounds per game her senior year, helping the Irish reach the NCAA championship game. While she was playing for Notre Dame, Peters caught the keen eye of Lynx forward Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who has begun to mentor Peters during their time in training camp thus far.
"When I watched her and coach told me the list of people she was thinking about, I was like I’m all for Devereaux. Pick her first,” McWilliams-Franklin said. “For me, it’s about building your bigs and for the future. In 10 years, I want the Minnesota Lynx to still be great.”
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