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May 19, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Checking in on the Minnesota Lynx

Whalen2.jpgFormer Storm assistant coach Shelley Patterson is back in town, traveling with her new employer — the Minnesota Lynx. Patterson was a Storm casualty in the WNBA Board of Governors decision to limit coaching staffs to one assistant in an effort to collectively help teams save money.
She’s the Lynx’s advanced scout and director of player development, able to travel with the team because the league stipulated you can only have four “suits” on the road. Who they are — ranging from trainers and head coaches to director of operations and an assistant — is up to the individual team.
“Almost a year before all of this happened, Brian (Agler) alluded to the fact that the league was going to be making some changes and he put the bug in our ear,” said Patterson of being released from Seattle’s staff by the Storm coach. “I knew it was going to happen. It would be different if it was a blindside, that’s one thing that’s good about Brian. He’s so straight forward. He and I are still cool. We haven’t walked, yet, but it’s nothing personal. I know it was a business decision.”
Agler and Patterson both lived in Queen Anne, taking morning walks up tough hills together. Her birthday was Tuesday, getting posts on her FaceBook page from majority of the Storm players and hugs from nearly everyone Wednesday at shootaround.
But the WNBA board’s other move, limiting roster sizes to 11 players, also put a crimp in Minnesota’s style. All-Stars Candice Wiggins (knee) and Seimone Augustus (fibroids) are out, but traveled, making just nine players available for the matchup against the Storm on Wednesday at KeyArena.
“They’re real close,” said first-year coach Cheryl Reeve of the duo’s return. “You won’t see them tonight, but being new to stuff, they get to see how we’re rolling and what we like to do. It doesn’t do us any good to leave them home.”
Minnesota features PG Lindsay Whalen (pictured right by the WNBA), who previously played for Connecticut. She helped the organization experience its first lower-bowl sell out (9,985) for the home opener at Target Center on Sunday — a first since 2003. The Lynx (1-1) lost to Washington, however.
The Lynx won their regular-season opener at Tulsa on Saturday.
“Tulsa is a hard team to play against, a hard team to judge an opponent as they play them,” Agler said. “Washington sort of threw them (Minnesota) for a loop when they jumped into a zone.”
Agler, who’s also director of player personnel, began his WNBA coaching career in Minnesota. Storm free agent Svetlana Abrosimova did, too, playing seven seasons for the Lynx (2001-07). The highs were comebacks, like being down 26-points for wins. And the lows were how close the Lynx were to success, particularly with Agler as coach, and the team losing by one point.
“It was my first team and I still have some great memories,” said Abrosimova, who was in Connecticut in 2008 and skipped the 2009 season to rest. “We always worked hard and never gave up. It (Minnesota) is in my heart, I can’t say I don’t feel anything (when I play against them).”
Storm: None.
Lynx: Seimone Augustus (fibroid surgery), Candice Wiggins (knee).
NOTE: The game will be televised on Universal Sports, which is KONG-TV’s digital channel 5.2 and Comcast 115.



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