Wednesday Practice Report
Minnesota complete remade its roster entering the season, trading away all but four players from last year's squad. The transformation left a young team with a lot of questions. The Lynx have pulled through and answered many of those questions in their burst from the gate and 10-8 record to start the season.
But being simply the upstart team in the Western Conference is not enough. Minnesota has continually made moves to make the team better and help it reach the postseason.
With the injury to Seimone Augustus early in the season, the Lynx were a little thin in the backcourt coming off the bench and added Tasha Humphrey before the All-Star break.
Humphrey had been waived by Washington earlier this season after being taken in the first round of the 2008 Draft by Detroit. The second-year forward's versatility has made an instant impact for the Lynx in just three games.
"I think Tasha is really coming along well," coach Jen Gillom said after Tuesday's loss to the Sparks. "Tasha is the type of player that likes pressure. When she sees that the game is on the line, she can make big shots for you. She did that a lot when she was in college and I think she will continue to do that. I think she likes our system. I think that she blends in well with the girls."
Humphrey turned in another solid performance for the Lynx off the bench Tuesday, scoring 11 points and helping them comeback from a 13-point halftime deficit in the third quarter. This followed a season-high 17 point performance in Minnesota's win over Phoenix last Wednesday.
She has been a big boost off the bench, averaging 11.7 points per game off the bench so far this season. Her size and shooting ability has given the Lynx the versatile weapon it has needed off the bench.
"The coaches and the team have made the adjustment very smooth," Humphrey said. "They welcomed me with warm arms and it's just been a smooth transition."
Minnesota continued making tweaks to its roster Monday adding another versatile player off the bench in Spain's Anna Montanana.
Montanana debuted against the Sparks, scoring two points and grabbing two rebounds, but showed flashes of the player she can be down the stretch. The 6-foot-1 forward has the ability to battle down low for rebounds while also being able to stretch the floor and shoot. She should provide more versatility and depth at the small forward position for the Lynx as well.
Montanana played for the Spanish national team in the 2008 Olympics last summer and averaged 7.7 points per game while playing with Ros Cesares Valencia with Lynx teammates Candice Wiggins and Roneeka Hodges along with WNBA players DeLisha Milton-Jones and Erika De Souza and in the 2008-09 Euroleague.
She said her rhythm was off in her first game with the team as she tries to join a team fighting for a playoff spot in the middle of the season.
"I think it's tough to come to a team in the middle of the season either way if they are winning or they are losing," Montanana said. "I think necessarily when they are winning because their rhythm is better and the people are more positive. I just think I have to start now with my teammates and try to help them as much as possible."
Gillom said once Montanana finds her rhythm the team will certainly improve, lamenting how little practice time she had before playing her first game with the team Tuesday against Los Angeles.
Both moves should put the Lynx in better position to fight for a playoff spot as the team enters the second half of the season.
Anna Montanana Audio
Anna Montanana talks about what she can bring to the Lynx and how she has been welcomed so far.
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