Buckets are back in the forecast for the Minnesota Lynx.
The team on Monday morning activated star guard Kayla McBride, fresh off her Turkish League title Sunday with EuroLeague’s Fenerbaçhe Safiport. Veteran guard Yvonne Turner was released from the team Monday, as she was the hardship replacement player tied to McBride.
McBride will fly straight from Turkey to Los Angeles, where she will report to the Lynx. The three-time All-Star is expected to start in the back-court alongside her former San Antonio Shooting Stars and Las Vegas Aces teammate Moriah Jefferson in Tuesday night’s road matchup with the Sparks.
Fenerbaçhe heavily relied on McBride’s two-way play in a tough EuroLeague season that ended with the team falling short of Sopron Basket in the championship game. McBuckets averaged 16.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists across 28 Turkish League games and, even more impressively, produced 17.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in 18 EuroLeague contests while defending the league’s best in elite competition.
The former Notre Dame superstar last season, her first as a Lynx, averaged 13.7 points on 43.3/37.9/91.0 shooting splits, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists to 1.1 turnovers, and 1.0 stocks (steals + blocks) in 31.6 minutes per game across 32 contests (all starts).
One of the most consistently reliable women’s basketball players on the planet, McBride will infuse needed perimeter defense and shooting into a Lynx team that is trying to find its groove in the midst of smoothing out a turbulent start to the 2022 season.
She will partner with dynamic perimeter players including Jefferson, Aerial Powers and newly-extended Jess Shepard to bring what Minnesota head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve believes can be a strong offensive balance around superstar center Sylvia Fowles.
Reeve is also getting back her most trusted perimeter defender. Minnesota has struggled at times this season against the likes of Ariel Atkins, Natasha Cloud, Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd and Courtney Vandersloot, all players who McBride could’ve helped slow down.
Even with McBride back, Reeve’s team will have to form a cohesive, two-way balance on the fly. McBride has been focused on her overseas commitments during the early part of the WNBA season and will not participate in a full practice with the team before Tuesday’s game, as Monday was a travel day for both McBride and the Lynx.
But, joining the Lynx immediately following a grueling overseas season is nothing new for the team’s passionate emotional leader.
K-Mac did the same thing last year following her overseas season -- flying in and playing right away.— Jack Borman (@jrborman13) May 16, 2022
She recorded 17 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 36 minutes.
The way WNBA players can hoop in-season all 12 months a year is crazy. Incredible athletes! https://t.co/jf4q6E7ZtA
This year, however, McBride is joining a team that is 0-4 and still searching for answers it came closer to finding in a thrilling loss on Saturday night to the defending champion Chicago Sky. Despite that, the former No. 3 pick isn’t taking kindly to those speaking down on her squad.
McBride last season delivered a legendary message after the team fell to 0-4 by way of a blowout loss to the Seattle Storm, during which Seattle led by more than 30 points. She doubled down last week.
She retweeted the above tweet, indicating she’s locked and loaded, and ready to fuel her Lynx teammates on another historic run. This time around feels different for her, though. McBride wants to send out her legendary teammate with another ring.
“You just want to give her your best,” McBride said about Fowles. “We’re hungry.”
The Lynx’s collective back is against the wall, but they have their most dependable perimeter player back on the court, their emotional leader back in the fox hole, and they’re ready to fight.
It’s go time.