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Lynx Signature Series: The Stops

The Lynx got defensive this season. Relive their 10 best stops from the regular season.

Scheduling Reminder: The Minnesota Lynx will look to avoid being eliminated from the postseason for the second straight year by the Seattle Storm later today. You can catch this matinee game on ABC at 2:00 p.m. CT. Support women’s sports!

The Lynx Signature Series

  • Who this is for: Long-time Lynx fans. Aspiring Lynx fans. Anyone who’s a fan of the game of balls and baskets.
  • What this is: A highlight reel of Top 10’s (#SCTop10) from this year’s Minnesota Lynx squad. I’ve determined these rankings as the committee of one.
  • Why did you do this: As mentioned above, one barrier for me in getting more invested in watching the W was unfamiliarity of players. Hopefully you will use this to help you build your familiarity with the team as I detail some of our best moments!

The Dimes

Honorable mention: Herbert Harrigan guards 2, blocks 3

I want to show some love for our 1st round pick, “KiKi” Herbert Harrigan. It was a slow start for KiKi this season, but she eventually began working her way into the rotation. Part of the reason she earned minutes was because of the versatility she brings on the defensive end. On this play, Chelsea Gray whips a crosscourt pass between an open Seimone Augustus (weird) and Te’a Cooper. KiKi quickly closes out on both of them before blocking Cooper’s 3-point attempt. A great example of being in two places at the same time! Shoutout to the Sparks for their spacing.

#10: Banham chase down

Oh, you read that correctly. Rachel Banham CHASED a player down and blocked the shot. Ok, so maybe this wasn’t a spitting image of the LeBron on Iguodala block, though technically it was still a chase down from behind on someone. And that “someone” was two-time All-star Alyssa Thomas. It was against Banham’s better judgment to try and front AT without any help, but she refused to give up on the play and it resulted in this awesome highlight.

#9: Big Syl armpit block

I’ve seen players block shots with forearms. I’ve even seen players rise to block shots with their elbow. But this? This was the first time I’ve seen someone block a shot with their damn armpit! Courtney Vandersloot is best known for her passing chops and maybe she should’ve kept to her strengths instead of taking this shot. Sylvia Fowles was ready to throw this one to the 3rd row empty sidelines.

#8: Phee highpoints Mompremier

You know what’s better than tossing shots out of bounds? Rejecting shots and keeping them inbounds. Napheesa Collier sizes up Beatrice Mompremier and uses all 6’6” of her wingspan to rise and swat the ball back at the apex of it’s rise. Generally you’ll see players pump themselves up after a play like this, but the heady Collier sprints to recover the ball. Phee over Bea. Team over me.

#7: Collier decimates Williams

...but sometimes it’s just cooler to smack a shot out of bounds. The feisty Atlanta Dream guard, Courtney Williams, is always aggressive. As she explodes to the paint, 2020 Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield funnels her right. The 2019 Rookie of the Year, Napheesa Collier, makes the perfect read and rotates over. However, Williams doesn’t take the hint and requests Collier to meet her at the rim. As opposed to the previous play, Phee decides to show some nasty and eviscerates the Williams layup attempt.

#6: Syl turns Parker’s off arm offline

Sometimes it amazes me that players still try to challenge a 3x Defensive Player of the Year. Sylvia Fowles continues to show that at age 34, she’s still the most dominant player in the paint on both ends. In this play, it was Cheyenne Parker’s turn to be reminded of this. Parker enters the lane looking to scoop one in with the left, but as soon as she sees Big Syl shadowing, she uses her off arm to try and illegally shield Syl off. But this is nothing new for Fowles, who’s seen it all and uses her telescopic right arm to power through Parker’s own right arm to pack one home for her teammates.

#5: Fowles plays defense with both arms

As evidenced in the last play, Sylvia Fowles has so much experience when it comes to defending the paint. This time it was Bria Holmes who tried to push her luck by attacking Fowles. Watch closely as Big Syl puts on a clinic on how to defend a layup. She picks up Holmes as soon as she’s about to enter the paint to stop momentum. Syl raises her left arm straight up while sliding left to contest the layup. Just as Holmes tries to squeeze up an extremely difficult shot, Fowles swoops in with her right hand to smack the shot out of bounds. Clinic.

#4: DD and KiKi team up

I love when a team’s defense is on a string. To start the play, Damiris Dantas and Napheesa Collier team up to stifle a Chicago Sky drive while KiKi Herbert Harrigan cuts off the baseline pass option. This forces a correct pass to Ruthy Hebard who, at first glance, looks wide open. Hebard attacks, but Dantas and Herbert Harrigan quickly shift into perfect rotation and together unite for the rare double block! (Dantas got credited with the official block FYI)

#3: McCall dials up the defense

Just seven days after getting released by the Atlanta Dream and immediately getting scooped up by the Minnesota Lynx, Erica McCall provided one of her best highlights of her season. In her third game with Minnesota, Erica provided valuable frontcourt depth with Fowles out. This play is straight forward. Kelsey Mitchell attacks. McCall says no. That’s it. That’s the play.

#2: Phee covers the court

I absolutely love this play. It really demonstrates just how important our tri-captain, Napheesa Collier, is to what this team does on the court. The action on this play begins with a pair of Minnesota rookies, Herbert Harrigan and Dangerfield. New York’s Joyner Holmes screens for Jazmine Jones, forcing KiKi to switch onto Jones. The 6’3” Holmes immediately recognizes she has the 5’5” Dangerfield dangling on her and you can see her take a few steps to begin moving towards the post. Collier immediately recognizes this action and you can see her raise her right arm to signal to Dangerfield that she wants to kick her out of the post. Jones makes the smart read and swings the ball to Megan Walker who is wide open in the left corner.

This should be three points for the Liberty, but Phee realizes that Crystal didn’t get the signal so she sprints out to the corner. Normally this would just be an obligatory close out, but Collier goes the extra mile to hustle out and leaps to block the shot. The cherry on top this play? The Lynx were up 27 points. 27. This is the type of hustle from a team captain that certainly inspires the rest of the squad.

#1: Napheesa’s Gumby block

The first thing you’re probably wondering right now is - What is a Gumby block? The myth goes that the great JaVale McGee once blocked Wesley Matthews by completing taking the ball out of his hands (think block and rebound in one motion) and screamed out “I’m Gumby *****!!

Ever since then, my friends and I call these blocks, “Gumby blocks.” What truly makes this play special is that again, Napheesa Collier is everywhere. Candace Parker first saves an errant pass from her bff Chelsea Gray, but Collier smartly walls her off, forcing her to toss the ball to Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. TRP blows by Dantas and looked to have a clean shot from 5 feet away, but guess who’s back? Collier, from out of bounds, jumps back into the play to Gumby block TRP’s shot and collect her soul along with it. Let me remind you that this MVP and DPOY candidate is just in her second year in the W. No matter what happens moving forward, know that the best is yet to come!

On the next and final Lynx Signature Series: Top 10 Shots

Good luck, Lynx!