Lynx Pick PG In First Round To Follow Whalen's Footsteps

Kyle Ratke
Special To


Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen is only 30 years old and has plenty of game left in her, but when her career comes to an end, the No. 12 pick in this year’s WNBA draft would like to follow her footsteps.

Nebraska point guard Lindsey Moore admitted that she has been a fan of Whalen since her days at the University of Minnesota and tries to style her game after Whalen’s.

Well, after being selected by the Minnesota Lynx on Monday night, Moore will have the chance to learn from her idol.

“I honestly see my role as being a backup for Lindsay Whalen. I can learn so much from her,” Moore said. “It’s truly going to be an honor playing with her. The biggest compliment you can receive as a point guard is you make the people around you better and she does that day in and day out.”

In the last three years, the Lynx have had four picks in the top-3.

On Wednesday night, head coach Cheryl Reeve and the rest of her coaching staff had the challenge of finding a gem at an unfamiliar spot: The end of the first round.

“Our biggest need going in were a backup point guard, so we were very happy that (Lindsey) Moore was there,” said executive vice president Roger Griffith. “We had her as the No. 2 point guard behind Skylar Diggins.”

Moore averaged 15.1 points per game and had 195 assists last season as a Husker, good enough to be Nebraska’s single-season leader. Her 699 career assists also rank No. 1 in school history. She shot 38 percent from the 3-point line, which is something the Lynx were looking for in a guard.

“I think the three is a strong part in my game,” Moore said. “I’m comfortable shooting them.”

She was a 2012-13 All-America Honorable Mention, an All-Big Ten Second Team selection and led the conference in assist/turnover ratio with a mark of 2.14:1.

Moore was also the first in school history to record a triple-double and was a Lieberman Award finalist (given to the nation’s top point guard) during her junior and senior seasons.

“If she does the things she’s good at, she’ll be serviceable at the minimum,” Reeve said.

Just two picks later, the Lynx selected guard Ta’Shauna “Sugar” Rodgers out of Georgetown. Rodgers is a taller guard, standing in at 5’11”. While Rodgers played plenty of point guard as a Hoya, Reeve believes that was out of necessity and that Rodgers fits more as a combo guard.

“Rodgers is more of a two, who was forced to play the one,” Reeve said after the selection.

Rodgers is a four-time All-Big East First Team selection and is the team’s career leader in points and 3-pointers made. During her senior season, she averaged a career-high 22.9 points to go along with 6.9 rebounds per game.

“She has great confidence to score the ball,” Reeve said. “Sugar’s an awfully talented player.”

Reeve, though, joked about Rodgers’ nickname.

“We’re going to have to find a new nickname for her, though. There’s no way I’m going to call her ‘Sugar.’”

When hearing that her nickname might not be all that popular with her new coach, Rodgers gave a laugh over the conference call.

“I’m just trying to go out there and work hard and train hard,” Rodgers said. “I can be a two-guard, that’s no problem. We had a lot of injuries in college.”

A Minneapolis native goes No. 4 overall

Minneapolis native Tayler Hill was drafted No. 4 overall by the Washington Mystics. Hill averaged 21.1 points per game last season. She’s the No. 5 scorer in Ohio State University history and is a two-time All-Big Ten First Team member.

Hill is also Minnesota’s all-time career prep points leader.

She comes from a basketball family. Her cousin, Devean George (also from Minneapolis and attended Augsburg College), played for the Los Angeles Lakers and was part of three NBA championships, and her brother, P.J., also played at Ohio State.¬

“I think it’s going to be like any other transition, as long as you stay confident, it should be fine,” Hill said.

She will head to a Washington squad that accounted for a WNBA-low five wins. Hill thinks she’s the right player to turn the Mystics around.

“I think I can make a big impact,” Hill said. “I trust the coaching staff to put me in good position… I’m just ready to come in and play some basketball and help turn the team around.”

Meet the Lynx last two draft picks

  • Chucky Jeffery, the third guard the Lynx took in this year’s draft, averaged 13.7 points as a senior for Colorado. She had two triple-doubles during the 2012-13 season and was an All-American Honorable Mention. She is a very athletic player and played youth football for eight years while growing up. She finished her career with 1,644 points, and despite standing at just 5’10”, averaged 7.4 rebounds per game during her career.

    “Chucky was a player that we had in the top 14-15 range,” Reeve said. “She was the best player available.”

  • Center Waltiea Rolle was the final selection in the draft, but many scouts expect her to compete for a roster spot. Standing at 6’6”, she gives the Lynx size. She finished her career with 262 blocks, which was good for eighth in ACC history. The North Carolina Tar Heel averaged 12.1 points per game during her senior season and averaged 6.6 rebounds. Both were career highs. She was named to the 2012-13 ACC All-Defensive Team. She played 26.8 minutes per game during her final year, which was up nearly 17 minutes from her junior season.

    Reeve admitted she doesn’t know if Rolle will play this summer or attend summer school instead.

    “With the final pick, we grabbed size,” Reeve said. “We are not 100 percent sure if she’ll be playing or be in school this summer.”

    It looks like the Lynx drafted the players they wanted. Now, it’s up to the players to compete and make a roster that is already loaded with talent.

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