The Lynx Enter the 2022 Season With Title Hopes

(image credit: courtesy of the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter)

The 2022 WNBA season is finally here for the Minnesota Lynx and the 11 other teams in the league, with the regular season tipping off on Friday.

Minnesota kicks the new year off as part of opening night by taking on the Seattle Storm at 9 p.m. CT in the Emerald City. It will be the nightcap of a four-game slate airing live on Facebook and on NBA TV.

The Lynx open the season with hopes of trying to make a deep postseason run, especially with the 2022 campaign being the final season in center Sylvia Fowles‘ decorated career. Minnesota concluded the 2021 season with the third-best record in the WNBA, receiving a first-round bye in the playoffs only to fall to the eventual champion Chicago Sky in the single-elimination second round.

To get you ready for the upcoming season, let’s look at Minnesota’s roster as the Lynx attempt to win their first title since 2017.

Winning One More For Fowles

Fowles will take the floor for the 15th and final season of her career this season, her eighth with the Lynx. After announcing her plans to retire following the 2022 season, Minnesota is attempting to honor one of the WNBA’s all-time greats by putting together a championship contender in 2022.

“Someone asked me what the impact Syl’s signing has had on our (offseason) moves, and it’s everything. Everything that we’re doing is to position ourselves to compete for a championship in Syl’s last season,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said during training camp. “We are going to do everything possible for Syl because that’s what she deserves. … We hope it’s one that ends in our fifth championship.”

Part of putting that title contender together has resulted in the Lynx making multiple moves in the offseason. Their biggest moves were adding five-time All-Star Angel McCoughtry and veteran point guard Odyssey Sims into the rotation. They also re-signed role players like Bridget Carleton and Rachel Banham, who will join Minnesota’s core of Fowles, Kayla McBride, and Aerial Powers.

However, there have also been some notable subtractions at the start of the season. Damiris Dantas (ankle injury recovery), McBride (playing overseas) and Napheesa Collier (pregnancy) will be absent to begin the year. Collier could miss most if not all of the regular season. Along with those three players, Minnesota released last year’s starting point guard Layshia Clarendon, 2020 Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield and 2021 first-round draft pick Rennia Davis during a wave of final roster cuts on Tuesday.

Some faces have come and gone, and the roster looks slightly different this season. Still, the Lynx are openly going all in to try and send Fowles out on top. They’re also honoring her all summer with a season-long “Syl’s Final Ride” campaign. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Lynx start the year off slower like they did in 2021. Still, Minnesota should end up being one of the top teams in the league at the end of the summer — similar to how it went down last year.

“Syl has more to give, and I just want her to be happy and at peace,” Reeve said. “We told her (this offseason) ‘we will do our very best, if you decide to play, to give you the best team possible’ to send her out the way we want to send her out.

“Syl deserves everything coming her way in this final season. We want Syl to enjoy the heck out of it. … She’ll deserve all of it. She deserves every bit of that.”

Get To Know The 2022 Lynx

A few days before the regular season, Minnesota made some headlines with its final roster cuts. They narrowed down the training camp roster to feature a total of 11 players set to fill out the regular-season depth chart.

Needing to make a handful of cuts to trim down the final roster, the Lynx announced the decision to release Clarendon, Dangerfield, Yvonne Turner, Davis, and 2022 draft picks Kayla Jones and Hannah Sjerven on Tuesday. They also announced that they had signed Sims, who played in Minnesota in 2019 and 2020, to bring the roster to 11.

“I’m really excited (to be in Minnesota). It really hasn’t hit me yet,” Sims said on Wednesday. “I’m more than happy to be back, I love this organization. … It’s surreal to me that I’m back. I always wanted to be back here if I had that opportunity.”

Following the final roster cuts made, the Lynx roster now stands as follows:

2022 Minnesota Lynx Roster
Natalie Achonwa
Rachel Banham
Bridget Carleton
Napheesa Collier
Damiris Dantas
Sylvia Fowles
Kayla McBride
Angel McCoughtry
Aerial Powers
Jessica Shepard
Odyssey Sims

Minnesota could still add a few players on hardship exception contracts — which are used to replace a player or players on the roster who are out because of injury, illness or other conditions — while Dantas, McBride and Collier are out to begin the new year. But for now, that is the final roster the Lynx will enter the 2022 season with.

After an offseason that saw many teams aggressively pursue and add players, following those moves up with some surprising cuts, the regular season is finally on the horizon. Minnesota should once again be one of the top handful of teams in the WNBA, even if the year starts a bit slower than they hope. Regardless, the Lynx are determined to put together a strong showing for their future Hall of Fame center while attempting to add a fifth championship to the trophy case at the end of the summer.

“This group feels like they have more of a tangible idea of what it takes. We feel like we have a team that has a shot to contend,” Reeve said. “We want to make sure we maximize all that, and with this group, it’s palpable.”

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