Wright Shines in Preseason Debut



Jonah Ballow
Lynx Editor/Writer

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Cheryl Reeve

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Monica Wright

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Lynx fans piled inside the Gangelhoff Arena at Concordia University in St. Paul for a glimpse at the new-look squad. On Friday afternoon, the team only suited up eight players and one member of the Minnesota roster from last season with second-year forward Rashanda McCants in the starting lineup.

“I told them I thought there were more good things than bad things," head coach Cheryl Reeve said.

The first preseason game resulted in an 87-78 defeat for the Lynx without their full complement of players, however, the No. 2 overall pick jumped right into action.

Rookie Monica Wright showed no signs of first-year jitters by streaking down the floor and drilling a 3-pointer for her first professional bucket in the WNBA. Wright played a team-high 30 minutes along with recording a team-high 18 points at the shooting guard position. Following the initial long bomb from Wright, the former Virginia standout cooled off, only hitting 5-for-17 from the floor.

“I think games like this are good for rookies. I think she had very good shot opportunities. From a game standpoint, I thought she was stopping before she needed, I thought she could have attacked more to the basket, she took some longer range shots but for the most part, every shot she took is one that she has a great chance at making. Next time you see her play, hopefully is better in her recognition and knocks down some midrange jumpers," Reeve said.

Showing her true ability to light up the scoreboard, Wright reached the free throw line nine times and connected on seven of those attempts. She also dished out four assists in the debut performance.

Wright was placed in the starting lineup after a couple of notable surgeries to Candice Wiggins and Seimone Augustus prior to training camp. Wiggins underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a small meniscal tear in her right knee while Augustus needed a procedure to remove fibroids. Augustus is out indefinitely and Wiggins will miss approximately four weeks. Meanwhile, the Lynx carried on despite not having the services of several impact players, such as Charde Houston, Nicky Anosike, and Minnesota native Lindsay Whalen.

Minnesota was pleased to see the progression from McCants, who finished with 11 points in 16 minutes of action. Before suffering a minor quad strain, McCants scored in the open floor, posted on the blocks, and hit a couple midrange jumpers to prove her worth as a versatile threat in the lineup.

2010 third round selection Gabriela Marginean displayed a non-stop motor after replacing McCants in the second half. Marginean hopes to make the final roster cut and certainly left all her effort on the floor by snagging a game-high nine boards.

For most of the game, Reeve implored her team to push the pace following missed shots from the Sky. Across the court, Chicago raced out to 21 fast break points in an attempt to take advantage of Minnesota’s sub-par transition defense.

"Turnovers and fouls were critical. Good news is that I think our opponent field goal percentage was exactly where we want it to be. They had four of their five starters and we had a situation where we held them to 38.8 percent from the floor. Really happy with that," Reeve added.

The Lynx return to practice on Saturday and Quanitra Hollingsworth, Houston, and Whalen are expected to begin workouts on Sunday. Minnesota travels to Chicago for the second preseason game next Thursday.
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