Minnesota Lynx Season Preview
After a Finals loss in 2012, this trio of 2012 Olympians will be hungry to regain the WNBA title.
David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images
If you believe in astrology, bunkered down during the Mayan Apocalypse or just prescribe to the power of patterns, then 2013 could be a good year for the Minnesota Lynx.
Why? After losing to the Indiana Fever in the WNBA Finals last season, fortunes in Minnesota this year seem prosperous based off a cycle that its star player, Maya Moore, started a decade ago.
“I can go back to 13 years old. I lost in the national championship game with my AAU team in Georgia. The next year we went back to win the national championship,” Maya started.
My freshman year in college we lost in the Final Four to Stanford, we went on to win the next two, undefeated.
My senior year we lost in the Final Four. Next year we won with the Lynx, my rookie year.
Last year we lost to the Indiana Fever and I went on to go to China and win the whole thing.”
If you haven’t gotten the point yet, let Maya clear it up for you.
“I’ve lost,” Moore said. “But I try not to lose two times in a row.
The rest of the league -- which has been swooned by Phoenix’s marquee additions, has labeled Los Angeles a chic pick to win it all and that has been infused with game-changing talent from this rookie class -- has been put on notice.
Moore, who says she always has a bad taste in her mouth after losing, feels confident that the same-old Lynx can get back to the WNBA Finals. Returning the majority of its core -- minus Candice Wiggins and Taj Mc-Williams Franklin -- the Lynx, which still sport a trio of 2012 U.S. Olympians in Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Moore and that went 27-7 in the regular season last year, look to be as tough as ever.
“I feel so blessed and privileged to be able to come back to a veteran squad,” Moore said. “We have the talent to get back to the Finals and win another championship this season.”
The Lynx key offseason addition was Janel McCarville, who was the first overall selection in the 2005 WNBA Draft and most recently was playing overseas. McCarville, who teamed with Whalen to take an unheralded University of Minnesota team to the Final Four in 2004, will step in and replace the production of Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who retired at the age of 42 this offseason.
“Janel is here and willing to work and wanting to help us any way she can,” Moore said. “She’s going to add some great fluidity to our offense with her passing ability, so I’m really excited about that. She’s definitely someone that is going to add chemistry – she’s not going to hurt chemistry.”
It’s a chemistry that this team has forged over the past several seasons. Minnesota has posted back-to-back 27-win seasons with two trips to the WNBA Finals appearances in the process, winning it all in 2011.
Flanking Moore, the Lynx have Whalen, regarded as one of the top point guards in the league, Augustus, one of the league’s most consistent scorers, and Rebekkah Brunson, one of the league’s unsung heroes in the post.
Still, this amount of talent doesn’t guarantee success.
“Winning in this league is extremely hard and last year showed that,” Moore said. “Every year shows it, but especially last year for us. If you have a little bit that doesn’t go your way and you don’t make it happen, you can come up short to a really great team that you’re playing against.”
But, if history is any indication, Moore won’t let that happen this year.
1. Seimone Augustus (16.6)
2. Maya Moore (16.4)
3. Lindsay Whalen (11.5)
1. Rebekkah Brunson (8.9)
2. Maya Moore (6.0)
3. Taj McWilliams-Franklin (5.4)
1. Lindsay Whalen (5.4)
2. Maya Moore (3.6)
3. Seimone Augustus (2.5)