Minnesota Lynx rebound from 0-6 start behind strong play from rookies

Updated Aug. 1, 2023 10:55 p.m. ET

After starting the season with six straight losses, it was easy to think that the Minnesota Lynx were on their way to a second consecutive appearance in the WNBA draft lottery.

The Lynx had turned it around, winning three straight, including impressive road victories over New York and Connecticut to move back to .500 (13-13) and climb into sixth place in the standings. Minnesota won both those games against the top teams without All-Star forward Napheesa Collier, who is sidelined with a sprained ankle. The Lynx couldn't sustain the momentum, falling to Connecticut on Tuesday night.

In Collier's absence, coach Cheryl Reeve has relied upon veterans Kayla McBride and Aerial Powers as well as rookies Diamond Miller, who went No. 2 in the draft, and Dorka Juhasz, who was picked 16th.

"She’s not afraid of the big moment," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said after Miller scored 22 points to beat New York. “Lots of times rookies can be intimidated. Look at some of the names on the other side. The rookies we had were excited for the moment.”


Miller is averaging 13.2 points, second on the team behind Collier. Juhasz is the team's third leading rebounder with 5.8 a game.


Las Vegas, New York and Connecticut remain the top three teams in the rankings. Dallas was next with Atlanta moving up to fifth. Minnesota switched places with Washington to climb to sixth. Chicago was eighth. Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix and Indiana rounded out the poll.


McBride had a stellar week to help the Lynx win all three of their games. She averaged 20 points while shooting 72% from the field, including making half of her 3-point shot attempts. She also averaged 1.7 steals. Chelsea Gray of Las Vegas, Jewell Loyd of Seattle and Breanna Stewart of New York also received votes.


Brittney Griner is sitting out a few games to focus on her mental health. Phoenix's All-Star center missed the team's game in Chicago on Sunday and will also miss Tuesday night's contest in Indiana. The Mercury then play four straight home games.

The 6-foot-9 center — who became an international story during her 10-month detainment in Russia last year — is averaging 18.2 points and 6.7 rebounds over 20 games this season.

“The Mercury fully support Brittney and we will continue to work together on a timeline for her return,” the team said in a statement on Saturday.


Diana Taurasi is within reach of becoming the first player to score 10,000 points in a career. The WNBA's all-time leading scorer returned from a quad injury on Sunday to score 24 points in a loss to Chicago. She had 29 in a loss to Indiana on Tuesday night and now sits 18 short of reaching that milestone. Her first chance will be on Thursday at home against Atlanta.


Las Vegas at New York, Sunday. The second matchup of the top two teams in the WNBA will take place. The Aces used a dominant third quarter to turn the first meeting into a rout. They've won 23 of their 25 games this season with the lone losses coming to Connecticut and Dallas. The Liberty have had a busy few weeks. They just finished a five-game in eight-day stretch.


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