You got to hand it to the WNBA's scheduling gurus. Play a game one week. Play every other day the next.
This is the case for this year's Minnesota Lynx, who played their first game Sunday (a 84-70 home triumph over Detroit). Their next game isn't until May 27 at Houston, then two nights later at Chicago before returning home May 31 to host Phoenix, then off again to play the expansion Dream at Atlanta June 3, then to Connecticut to face the Sun June 6.
This isn't unusual, just Earth, Wind and Fire-type regular scheduling -- that's the way of the (WNBA) world.
But on the other hand, it gives Don Zierden and his staff is using this week basically as another week of training camp -- much-needed time to incorporate more stuff, improve on others, and continue to build player chemistry.
After Sunday's game, "We haven't put in half of our offense," says the coach. "We ran three plays the whole game."
After Tuesday's evening practice, Coach Z further told me about his plans for the week, "We get to work on a lot of concepts right now."
The Lynx picked up Sharnee' Zoll, a 5-7 rookie guard from Virginia, on Sunday. She cleared waivers after Minnesota claimed her last Friday after she was cut by Los Angeles, who drafted her as the 29th overall pick this spring, but couldn't be added until after the game.
As a result, to make room, Crystal Smith was waived -- she played only 19 seconds in Sunday's win. I wasn't that impressed with her, however.
Zierden says that Zoll has been on his talent radar for a while. "I personally has liked Sharnee' ever since I first saw her a year ago," he admits. "I think she (can) run the ball club and make everyone around her better.
"When we got to the third round, we were hoping tht she would slide through the draft," continues Zierden.
Zoll hit her only shot attempt, a three-pointer, against Minnesota in the final preseason game, a Los Angeles double-overtime win, at Grand Forks, N.D. on Mother's Day.
With Lindsay Harding still out indefinitely with an injury, Zierden believes Zoll may be a better backup point guard than Smith, who played two WNBA seasons, originally drafted by Phoenix in the third round of the 2006 Draft, then picked up by Houston last summer after the Mercury waived her.
Finally - - -
Shay Murphy, who was named inactive for Sunday's game, seems fine with Z's decision, according to the coach. The second-year guard "has taken the challenge of being inactive . . . She is really working hard in getting better."
Zierden isn't overly concerned about starting two-guard Anna DeForge, who made only one of four shots, and misfired on both her two trey attempts, in 24 minutes Sunday. "She (DeForge) never had 34 great games in Indiana (where the seven-year veteran played last summer)," notes the Minnesota coach. "Seimone (Augustus) don't have 34 great games."
DeForge only reported on May 10 after playing overseas, helping her club to a third straight title. "She is trying to get her legs underneath her after getting back from overseas," Zierden adds. Nonetheless, the 5-10 guard poses a constant outside scoring threat on the court, which opponents won't ignore.