(4th in West)
(12th overall, 7th in West)
2190 (2nd overall, 1st
-0.7 (7th overall, 5th in West)
Winners & Honorees
Coach of the
Suzie McConnell Serio
Rd. 1 - 6, Nicole Ohlde
Rd. 1 - 7, Vanessa Hayden
2 - 20, Tasha Butts
Rd. 3 - 33, Amber Jacobs
Rd. 3 - 38, Kate Bulger
Twice in seven years
2004, Lost in
What Went Right?
The Minnesota Lynx qualified
for the playoffs in 2004 with only five players from the 2003 squad. Despite a
roster overhaul, the Lynx equaled their franchise-best with a 18-16 mark, qualifying
as the third seed in the mighty Western Conference.
Coach Suzie McConnell Serio edged Connecticut coach Mike Thibault for
Coach of the Year honors. She guided her team to the postseason even though leading
scorer Katie Smith
was lost for the final 11 games of the season with a knee injury.
available, Smith was once again one of the game's top scorers. The four-time All-Star
averaged 18.8 points per game and, on June 11, reached the 3,000-point plateau
faster than any other player in WNBA history. With 3,299 points, Smith is the
fourth-leading scorer in the league's history.
One of the great players
to grace the game, Teresa Edwards turned 40 on July 19, but started every game
for the Lynx for the second straight season, and averaged 5.7 ppg. She was named
the winner of the WNBA's Kim Perrot Sportsmanship award.
The Lynx boasted
one of the league's top rookies in Nicole Ohlde, the 6-5 center from Kansas State.
The sixth overall player taken, Ohlde gave Diana Taurasi and Alana Beard stiff
competition for Rookie of the Year, averaging 11.7 points and leading all first-year
players with 5.7 rebounds per game. Her field goal percentage of 44.2 percent
also led all rookies.
Three other first-year players also made an impact;
point guard Amber Jacobs, forward Tasha Butts and center Vanessa Hayden. The four
rookies were among 11 different players that averaged 10 or more minutes last
year, giving McConnell Serio one of the deepest benches in the league. Five of
those players were 6-2 or taller.
The Lynx were playing their best basketball prior
to the Olympic break, winning nine of 12 before the month-long hiatus. Unfortunately,
Minnesota lost more than its momentum during the break; they lost Smith, their
leading scorer, to a twisted knee that ended her season.
The loss of the six-year
veteran slowed down the Lynx, who finished with a 3-5 mark in September and were
swept by eventual champion Seattle in the first round of the playoffs.
the team's biggest problem was holding onto the ball. They committed 18.0 turnovers
per game, while forcing only 14.8 per contest.
2004 Starting Lineup
G- Helen Darling
G- Katie Smith
F- Tamika Williams
C- Nicole Ohlde
Key 2004 Reserves
Ahead To 2005:
The only substantial change for the Lynx is at point guard, where point
guard Kristi Harrower returns after a one-year stint with the Australian National
Team. Harrower will battle second-year player Jacobs and rookie Nuria Martinez
for the starting job. Which player will provide the floor leadership? Collectively,
can they cut down on the turnovers?
Incumbent point guard Helen Darling was
traded to Charlotte in the off-season; in return, the Lynx received a swap of
second-round picks. Minnesota will have the 11th and 17th overall picks in the
WNBA Draft. Will either pick yield a prospect that can help immediately?
Lynx were an inconsistent team in 2004, finishing only 8-8 against the five lottery
teams, but posting a 10-8 record against the seven other playoff teams. The Lynx
were swept by Indiana and Charlotte, but swept Connecticut and Detroit. This time
around, can they win the games they're supposed to win?
With seven of their
first 10 games against playoff teams from 2004, the Lynx will be tested early.
Smith is expected to participate in training camp, Ohlde and the rest of the 2004
rookie class will be a year wiser, and the team is one of the biggest and deepest
in the West, whether or not free agents Svetlana Abrosimova and Amanda Lassiter
return. Are they ready to challenge Seattle and Los Angeles for a division title?