Hey, remember the Lynx? Things didn't look so good after Seimone Augustus went down with a season-ending knee injury. In their first two games after Augustus was hurt, the Lynx were outscored by 52 points. Ouch. In their 3rd game after the injury (on June 24th, the day before the NBA draft), Candice Wiggins and Nicky Anoskie stood up, took charge and led the team to a victory over the lowly New York Liberty. Surprisingly, the New York media broke from the Rubio-madness and made no requests for the Lynx to trade either Wiggins or Anoskie to their awful hometown squad for a sack of practice balls.
The following game was against a real team, the Diana Taurisi led Phoenix Mercury...i.e. the team that destroyed the Lynx in their first post-Augustus match. This time around the Lynx displayed a tenacity that was lacking in the first two, even three, contests after the injury. Coach Jen Gillom has handled the injury perfectly and she has her players playing hard and professionally. Check out what she had to say after the Mercury game:
"We are not broken," Gillom said, "and we wanted to prove that to that team. We may have had a bad night [in Phoenix]; we lost our best player. But we weren't broken."
Hell yes. How refreshing is it to see a Minnesota ball club make no excuses while facing its challenges straight on?
The Lynx followed up their victory over Phoenix with a win over the Atlanta Dream. Once again, Wiggins and Anosike led the way on both sides of the ball. This win returned the Lynx to first place in the Western Conference. While still awful, the Augustus injury is forcing this team to learn how to play more as a unit (before, they still had a bit of the annoying Don Zierden-installed habit of watching Augustus run around doing her thing) as well as giving Wiggins and Anosike, the team's two other young building blocks, a chance to mature. Hopefully, it will also mean that 1st round pick Renee Montgomery can continue to develop off the bench and, by the end of the season, turn into an effective point guard. If Montgomery can turn it on, and if Augustus can return to form, the Lynx are looking at a fantastic four-woman core that could compete in the league for a long, long time.
The Lynx's next game is tonight against Sacramento. If you are in town, you should come on down to the Target Center and check out the action. If you can't make the game, remember that the WNBA broadcasts all of its games on-line...for free....unlike the NBA, which hates its on-line fans.