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Lynx Offseason Update Vol. 20: Lynx Shine in Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Each week, we will provide an update on the Minnesota Lynx players overseas and how they are performing as part of our Lynx Offseason Update series.

BASKET 2024 OLYMPICS QUALIF BELGIUM VS USA Photo by DIRK WAEM/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

As the madness that is WNBA Free Agency continues, teams are starting to get their rosters in order ahead of the 2024 WNBA season.

Approaching the season, Minnesota Lynx players continue to play throughout the world while preparing for the year ahead. Some of the players are currently on the roster, played with the team in 2023 or have played with the team in the past and are still under team control.

Players across the globe currently playing include Minnesota’s Napheesa Collier, Kayla McBride, Dorka Juhász, Maia Hirsch, Bridget Carleton, Alanna Smith and Cecilia Zandalasini are playing overseas in Turkey, Italy, Hungary and France this offseason. In last week’s update, Smith continued her dominant offseason with a double-double performance, Collier and McBride led their squad to victory, and more.

This week, four Lynx — including Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve — took part in the 2024 FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Feb. 8-11 while the other Lynx talent overseas had some time off from action.

Let’s look back at how those Lynx performed in the Qualifying Tournament while representing their respective countries.


2024 USAB Women’s Practice Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images

Cheryl Reeve and Napheesa Collier

USA

Lynx head coach and president of basketball operations Cheryl Reeve and Napheesa Collier represented the United States in Belgium, going 3-0 over the three-game span. Led the way by Reeve as head coach, Team USA topped Belgium 81-79 on Feb. 8, followed by blowout wins over Nigeria 100-46 on Feb. 9 and Senegal 101-39 on Feb. 11 to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Collier shined in the trio of games for her country, leading the way for team USA throughout the Qualifying Tournament. On Feb. 8, Collier tallied 23 points (16 in the second half), seven rebounds, three steals and two assists in 23 minutes. She followed that up with 12 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists in 22 minutes on Feb. 9 and 22 points, four assists, four steals and one rebounds in 24 minutes on Feb. 11.

Over three games, Collier posted 19.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 3.0 assists over 23.5 minutes per contest. She also earned All-Star honors for her play in the tournament.


BASKET-OLY-2024-QUALIFIERS-BRA-AUS Photo by THIAGO GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

Alanna Smith

Australia

Like Collier, Alanna Smith also led her team to an undefeated finish in the Qualifying Tournament in Brazil while representing her home country of Australia.

Over three games, Australia went 3-0 while topping Brazil 60-55 on Feb. 8, Germany 85-52 on Feb. 10 and Serbia 75-73 on Feb. 11 to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Smith played a limited role for Australia over the three-game span, opening up the tournament with three points, six rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block in 13 minutes on Feb. 8. She recorded her best game of the tournament on Feb. 10, posting eight points, eight rebounds and one block in 18 minutes, followed up with one rebound and one assist in a scoreless outing in just three minutes of action on Feb. 11.

Over the three games, Smith averaged 11.2 minutes per contest while averaging 3.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks.


Australia v Canada: 3rd Place Game - FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Photo by Steve Christo - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Bridget Carleton

Canada

Bridget Carleton, along with former Lynx forward Natalie Achonwa, represented Canada in the Qualifying Tournament in Hungary, winning one of the three contests in group play and qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

The Canadians opened up the tournament with a 67-55 win over Hungary, but fell in the final two contests each by less than two points. Canada fell to Spain 60-55 on Feb. 9 and Japan 86-82 on Feb. 11.

Carleton provided a spark for Canada over the three-game span, opening the tournament with 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals over 35 minutes on Feb. 8. She added five points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists over 34 minutes on Feb. 9 and posted her best game on Feb. 11 with 19 points, eight rebounds and one assist over 39 minutes.

Over the three games, Carleton notched 14.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals over 36.1 minutes per contest.


BASKET-OLY-2024-QUALIFIER-ESP-HUN Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images

Dorka Juhász

Hungary

Building off a strong rookie season with the Lynx in 2023, Dorka Juhász built off her overseas play by representing Hungary in the Qualifying Tournament hosted in Hungary.

All three of Hungary’s games were decided by single-digits, with Juhász and company coming out on top in one of the three contests. Hungary fell to Canada 67-55 on Feb. 8 while topping Japan 81-75 on Feb. 9 and falling to Spain 73-72 on Feb. 11.

Juhász reached double figures in scoring in all three games, opening up play with her best game on Feb. 8 with 13 points, eight rebounds and one block over 28 minutes. On Feb. 9, she added 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists over 23 minutes and concluded play with a near double-double of 11 points, nine rebounds, one assist and one steal in 26 minutes on Feb. 11.

Over the three-game tournament, Juhász averaged 11.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 25.8 minutes per contest. She also earned All-Star honors for her play in the tournament.