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Minnesota Lynx Tracking Record Year

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June 15, 2016

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The Lynx set a WNBA record last night for most wins opening a season, pushing Minnesota’s record this spring to 11-0.  If the Lynx can win their next three games, including against the 10-0 Sparks on Tuesday, they can break the franchise record of 13 consecutive wins that spanned the 2011-2012 seasons.

The Lynx defeated Indiana last evening at Target Center to break the best start to the season record the 2012 Minnesota team set.  The 10-0 2012 club didn’t lose a game until June 17 and went on to lose in the WNBA Finals to Indiana.

The team is off to an impressive start but what matters the most is whether Minnesota can repeat as league champions, and it will be interesting to see how the break for the Olympics this summer impacts the franchise’s title plans.

Four years ago there was also a break in the WNBA schedule because of the summer Olympics, and the stoppage didn’t derail the Lynx season.  But there is risk involved with a long break, especially for the Lynx who will send four players to Brazil for the summer games.  The last Lynx game before the break will be July 22 and the first after the Olympics will be August 26.

Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen will play for the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team.  The Lynx have more players on the U.S. roster than any other WNBA franchise.  A serious injury to one or more of the Lynx’s Big Four in Rio de Janeiro could prevent Minnesota from winning its fourth WNBA championship in six years.

Maya Moore

Maya Moore

Moore is off to a sensational start this season, having twice been named Western Conference Player of the Week.  She is fourth in league scoring at 19.8 points per game.  Augustus, Fowles and Whalen are former WNBA All-Stars as is Moore.  Playing different positions, they bring varied scoring, playmaking, rebounding and shot blocking skills that have helped make the Lynx a dynasty and Minnesota’s most successful pro franchise.

Even if the Lynx players stay healthy during the Olympic break, there are other factors that will test the team when the WNBA season resumes in late August.  For example, the Lynx Big Four will face the demands and fatigue of the Olympics.  Of the four Lynx players, only Moore is under 30 years old.

Then, too, there is the question of whether team momentum can continue after the WNBA schedule break for the Olympics.  In another month the Lynx may still be the hottest club in the WNBA but that offers no guarantee in late August and early September as the schedule draws to a close and the playoffs follow.  Momentum is a major factor in continued success for any team and a long break could impact Lynx chemistry in the team’s final nine regular season games after the Olympics.  The Lynx’s Big Four will spend a month playing with Olympic teammates, then readjust to their Minnesota teammates.  How will that go?

This is not only another talented Lynx team but perhaps the deepest in franchise history.  Will this be the most historic of seasons for the franchise?

The 2016 Olympic team, with the key Lynx contributors on the roster and a five-time history of being Olympic champions, will be expected to win Gold again.  The Lynx could compile the best regular season record in WNBA history, perhaps breaking Phoenix’s 29-5 record set in 2014.  And by repeating as WNBA champions in the playoffs, Minnesota would tie Houston for most league titles with four.

Worth Noting

Former Timberwolves forward Kevin Love draws criticism for not doing more to help the Cavs who trail the Warriors 3-2 in the NBA Finals.  Love, though, isn’t a good fit in the Cavs offense featuring a lot of one-on-one basketball with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.  Rumors may continue about Love being traded and he would benefit by being in a more team oriented offense like those in Boston, New York and San Antonio.

Jerry Kill told Sports Headliners he starts his new job July 18 as associate athletic director at Kansas State.  His focus will be helping the Kansas State football program.

Kill was in Rochester, New York earlier in the week to participate in a Coaches vs. Cancer golf event fundraiser.  Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim, himself a cancer survivor, was honored for support of Coaches vs. Cancer.

The Gophers’ opening football game at home against Oregon State on Thursday, September 1 will be the first Big Ten Network telecast of the season.  Telecast time from TCF Bank Stadium will be 8 p.m. (Central Daylight).

New Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle is meeting in-person with athletic department contributors who have helped the program in the past.

Bobby Bell

Bobby Bell

Two-time Minnesota All-American and 1962 Outland Trophy winner Bobby Bell will be the Gophers’ dignitary for the first-ever All-Big Ten Alumni Cruise of Alaska June 20-30 of next year.  Each Big Ten school is inviting its own dignitary, according to an email last week from the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.

A sports industry source told Sports Headliners former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who still works for the organization, may interview for the University of Texas head baseball job this week.  Gardenhire has the experience and personality to connect with college players.

The Twins host the Yankees for a four-game series starting tomorrow night (Thursday) at Target Field.  Saturday the first 10,000 fans receive a Miguel Sano Bobblehead.

Late next week the Twins are in New York for a three-game series with the Yankees that includes a June 24 promotional giveaway of 18,000 Mickey Mantle Triple Crown Bobbleheads.  It was 60 years ago, in 1956, that Mantle won the American League’s Triple Crown.

Although the Minnesota Legislature didn’t grant a property tax exemption on the St. Paul land for a soccer stadium this spring, it’s expected to happen in the next 10 months or less.  Construction of the privately financed stadium has to start soon for a desired 2018 opening for Minnesota’s anticipated new MLS team.  It seems all but certain the team will play next year at the Gophers’ TCF Bank Stadium.

Jimmy Fortune, formerly of the Statler Brothers, will entertain at the seventh annual Camden’s Concert on July 11 at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.  WCCO Radio Sports Huddle host Dave Mona and wife Linda named the event after grandson Camden Mona.  Now eight years old, Camden was diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis and the concert raises money for cystic fibrosis research.  More at Camdensconcert.com.

The North Star Bicycle Festival that started earlier in the month will continue today (Wednesday) thru Sunday with the North Star Grand Prix, a five-day, six-stage race held in cities around east central Minnesota that is part of USA Cycling’s national racing calendar.  More at Northstarbicyclefestival.com.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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