Day 7: Jarry Making Her Impact At Camp
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Lynx guard Monica Wright played in Australia this past offseason for the Dandenong Rangers and got a pretty good feel for the type of culture not only on the continent but in the Women’s National Basketball League. In a nutshell, she learned they are incredibly welcoming off the court (she calls them “darlings, beautiful people”), but they are gritty, physical basketball players on the court—a big reason why they’ve established themselves as a force on the Olympic level.
During her time there, she also learned about the Melbourne-area based rivalry between Dandenong and the Bulleen Boomers, which last year featured Rachel Jarry—a player the Lynx traded for on draft day in 2011. Make no mistake, Wright learned Jarry embodies those same Australian traits.
“Know her well,” Wright said at Training Camp, joking: “Know her elbows well.”
Jarry is trying to make that same imprint with the Lynx during camp this month. Off the court, she has an engaging personality that has made her transition to America easy within Minnesota’s locker room. But on the court, she’s not holding back. She describes herself as a player who can aggressively throw her weight around, and among the Lynx’ start-studded roster she’s trying to make her impact with that aggressive play.
It’s something that has brought her this far.
Jarry averaged 13.9 points per game this season with Bulleen and scored a career-high 15.5 points the year before. She made her Olympic debut last season, helping Team Australia win the Bronze Medal in London.
She’s not new to intense competition, but joining this Lynx squad and trying to fulfill her WNBA dream did bring out some nerves when she first arrived in Minnesota. But talking with fellow Australians who have been successful in the league has helped. Phoenix’s Penny Taylor, for instance, gave her compliments that she has a place over here.
Her international experience is also helpful.
“I’ve played some of the girls who played for Team USA teams, so I know I can compete against them, and I do have a place I think,” Jarry said. “Aussies are traditionally good shooters, they’re tough, they do the hustle plays and can play defense. That’s what I’m trying to bring.”
So far, she’s impressing with that mindset.
Guard Lindsay Whalen said Jarry’s been great in camp. On Thursday, when Whalen spent some time on the sidelines to rest during the team’s scrimmage, she said she had a chance to sit back and watch some of the new players to see some of their tendencies.
“Seeing her get by people and making things happen, that was fun to see,” Whalen said. “She seems like a really good person, and she works hard. It’s kind of why the Australian National Team has had success over the years. Super-hard workers, can make the shots and really athletic plays, but they can really work hard and do whatever they can dot help the team. She’s showing that in camp.”
As for the Dandenong/Bulleen rivalry, Jarry joked she didn’t want to get into the fact that Wright’s squad had the upper hand this year. When it comes to the WNBL rival teams, there’s “no love lost.”
But she said she enjoyed getting to play against Wright and Jess Adair, who also played in the WNBL this winter. That has spilled over into Lynx camp this month.
“Monica and Jess in particular have been very welcoming to me,” Jarry said. “That’s been very easy from the get-go, so no troubles there.”
Wright added: “She’s been awesome. It’s good to have her here. She’ll be a good addition to our Training Camp.”
From here, Jarry understands what she needs to accomplish. Particularly on the court, she’s hoping to bring the aggressiveness that got her to the WNBA each day on the court.
If she does that, she’ll be a good complement to the type of culture coach Cheryl Reeve has implemented in the Lynx’s locker room.
“I know their style of game and know what to look for and where their shots come from,” Jarry said. “It’s been a pretty easy transition, I think. I’ve been playing professionally so I’m sort of used to new plays being thrown at me now and again. I can’t complain so far. It’s been good, and I’m just looking forward to playing more and getting more scrimmages in.”
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