The Minnesota Lynx look a bit different this season. Gone are longtime franchise cornerstones Lindsay Whalen (retired) and Maya Moore (taking a year off), so general manager Cheryl Reeve rolled up her sleeves and got busy in the offseason, adding much-needed youth to the roster through trades and the WNBA draft.
Over the course of the season, we’ll periodically check in with the team and give updates on how the young players are performing on the court. From first-round pick Napheesa Collier to Lexie Brown and others, it’ll be exciting to watch these players develop and help continue the dynasty into the next decade.
This is the 3rd edition of the 2019 Young Lynx Tracker.
SPOTLIGHT ON …
Forward Steph Talbot
In a year thus far of Minnesota needing players to step up, Talbot is the latest to do so.
With injuries to Damiris Dantas and Karima Christmas-Kelly, the latter of whom joins another forward, Jessica Shepard, as being out for the season, Talbot made her first start with the Lynx against Dallas on June 30, scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds. After making just 3 3-pointers in her first 10 appearances with the team, Talbot hit three from downtown against the Wings.
In the Lynx’s next game, July 2 vs. Atlanta, Talbot started again made 5 of 9 3-pointers and tallied a career-high 24 points to go with five rebounds and three assists. After the win, Talbot gave credit to her teammates and coaches for telling her to keep firing from the outside.
Talbot played 32+ minutes in each of those games after not having seen more than 14 minutes on the court for Minnesota previously in any contest this season.
This is not an unfamiliar situation for Talbot.
Last year with Phoenix, after starter Sancho Lyttle tore her ACL, Talbot eventually moved into the Mercury’s starting lineup. In Phoenix’s final seven games, Talbot averaged 7.4 points and shot 50.0% from the field including 42.9% from 3 as the Mercury went 5-2 and made the postseason.
In the playoffs, she helped spark the Mercury to wins over Dallas and Connecticut but suffered a concussion in Game 2 of Phoenix’s series with Seattle and never returned to play.
Facing a roster crunch, Phoenix dealt Talbot to Minnesota for a second-round pick in 2020. For the Lynx she was considered to provide depth at forward. It turns out, it might have just been a nice insurance policy Minnesota acquired.
— In four games since our last Young Lynx Tracker, Odyssey Sims had three games with 20+ points, giving her four such outputs in her last six contests. Simms also averaged 6.8 assists in those four games, putting up eight in back-to-back games against Dallas and Atlanta. Sims is sixth in the WNBA in assists (5.4) and ninth in scoring (15.8 ppg).
— Rookie Napheesa Collier hadn’t posted back-to-back games with double-digit scoring, then did it in three straight from June 22-30. In a win over New York on June 22, Collier had 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including making all three of her 3-point attempts, and a career-high nine rebounds. She topped her rebounding mark on July 2, grabbing 11 boards against Atlanta. Collier also tied her personal bests with five assists and four steals at Dallas on June 30.
— Alaina Coates played in a season-high 18 minutes against Atlanta and proceeded to tie her career high with 10 points (she had 19 points combined before that game) and also grabbed a season-high nine rebounds.
— Italy got knocked out of the Women’s EuroBasket tournament, which means Cecilia Zandalasini could be rejoining the Lynx sometime soon. In Italy’s final game, a loss to Russia, Zandalasini had a game-high 24 points. Temi Fagbenle’s Great Britain team remains alive at EuroBasket and is in the semifinals.