Day 4: Rolle Looking To Make Impact After A Year Overseas

Mark Remme
Lynx Editor/Writer

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Waltiea Rolle is already blazing a trail. When the Lynx drafted her in the third round of the 2013 WNBA Draft, she became the first player from the Bahamas drafted in league history. It took a year of playing overseas, but this spring Rolle has a chance to not only be drafted by Minnesota but earn a spot on its roster.

She’s willing to do what it takes this preseason to make that happen. Because she’s learned quickly that there’s a certain expectation and belief on this squad that made her realize, well:

“That they’re awesome,” Rolle said, smiling. “…They’re really awesome, and I’m just trying to fit in. Trying to get on the team pretty much.”

In order to make that happen, Rolle—a 6-foot-6 center out of the University of North Carolina—will need to showcase she has what it takes to fill one of the expected three spots on the roster up for grabs in camp. And she’s not alone: The Lynx have seven total rookies on this year’s Training Camp roster looking to snatch up those spots.

It’s a challenge she’s ready to accept. After all, she’s in position to potentially join not only a WNBA squad, but one that has won two of the past three WNBA championships.

“A lot of people wish they were here,” Rolle said. “I’m just taking advantage of the situation. I’m just going to do as much as I can.”

Rolle was a standout player for the Tar Heels, particularly in her last year in Chapel Hill. She averaged 12.1 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 48.3 percent from the field, but more importantly she was named to the ACC All-Defensive Team by the league’s coaches in two of her last three years at UNC. She ranked second in the ACC in blocks (89) as a senior and finished her career as the ACC’s eighth-leading shot blocker.

That’s something she hopes she can bring to the Lynx.

I feel like my defense is really good,” she said. “I’m a good shot-blocker. I runt eh floor well, and that’s what they do pretty much—run the floor and play good defense.”

She said with the players on Minnesota’s roster, the offense will be there. The Lynx have four All-Stars in their starting lineup, after all. But if Rolle can show promise as a strong defensive presence inside coming in off the bench, that could be her calling card. When it comes down to it, the Lynx will need defensive depth while trying to defend their title.

“There are players that they recruited, we’re all really good defensive players,” Rolle said. “I feel like that’s basically what they need—a little bit more defense. That’s what we’re here for.”

As she continues to get more comfortable at the WNBA level, she said both Maya Moore and Lindsey Moore—the lone two healthy returning players from last year’s Lynx squad—are helping the younger players adjust. That’s another thing she’s enjoyed in her first couple days with the Lynx family.

“Maya told us, you know, the stuff we need to work on. The little things we need to better at,” Rolle said. “Just go hard every time we do something and listen to the coach, take in what she’s saying. Go hard.”

Quick Hits

  • No major injuries besides Monica Wright’s knee, but the quad of post Asya Bussie is bothering her a bit. It limited her a bit at the end of Wednesday afternoon’s practice.
    “Yeah, I don’t know the extent of it,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. “A little spasm in there, it’s not a pull. I don’t know if they’re calling it a strain, I’ll have to get the official trainer word.”
    Fellow post Damiris Dantas had her hand taped up, but it didn’t hold her back during practice.

  • Wright brought Reeve an eclectic whistle to lessen the strain on Reeve’s back. For those who haven’t been to a Lynx practice, Reeve likes to whistle. A lot. The electric whistle is fine, but it just doesn’t feel the same. Here’s to a speedy recovery for Reeve.

  • The team was scheduled to practice tomorrow, but Reeve told media members that instead the team will take a day off. With eight new players on the squad, chances are they are mentally worn out. A break is probably needed.

  • For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.