The Next Step: Gophers' Carlie Wagner eyeing WNBA career

Shades

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The Lynx came out of the gate losing their first game at home against a severely undermanned Sparks team (no Parker, no Lavender, no Vadeeva... only one active post player). The effects of Whalen pulling double duty are already taking a toll.


Actually, Whalen was one of the few bright spots in the game. Most of the team were like zombies out there. Around 24 turnovers? Yikes. Reeve may have been a zombie herself if she couldn’t light a fire under the team enough to pull out a win against the current hapless Sparks. The Sparks are only going to get much better this season, which is a scary thought.
 

tripledouble

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And, Shades, what does this have to do with Wagner? Are you still implying that Whalen should have stepped aside to open a roster spot for Wagner? I watched yesterday's Lynx game and I don't think Whalen's double duty had anything to do with the outcome. Whalen played well, as you said. (Now, as for Maya and some of the others, that was the problem.) You have made it abundantly clear, as have a few others, that you don't think Whalen should be pulling double duty. Enough, enough, enough already. You're beating a dead horse.
 

Shades

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I guess I’m just using this topic as an all things Gophers in the WNBA topic. I’m not really in the camp where every article or every thought needs it’s own topic.

Yes, I’ve said Whalen should retire before, but this time I thought it was obvious I was being glib about the effects of pulling double duty when I pointed out Whalen was a bright spot in the game... but not quite bright enough. Yes, I pointed how poorly the rest of the team played.

It’s just one game in, so hard to draw any firm conclusions just yet. DRob isn’t looking as good as some people advertised at this point, but maybe further on down the road? It’s a very compacted season that’s going to wear the players down, so we’ll see how that plays in. I’m always going to share my fair opinion on what’s going on in Minnesota basketball whether you want it to be heard or not. People who don’t think Whalen should be pulling double duty have a right to be heard just as loudly and as often as those who feel she can’t do wrong. I’m actually kind of waffling the middle right now, where most people should be, tbh.

It’s interesting that when I made the eloquent and thorough post about why I felt Bueckers would not chose the Gophers, you referred to it as “strange logic”.... and when bball_crazy confirmed a lot of the points I made, you said it was a good post. Why not give me some credit instead of knocking every post I make? It’s getting kind of obvious and annoying.
 

tripledouble

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Nothing personal...just not a fan of some of your opinions, especially lately, when you seem to have become a lot more glib. I appreciate your passion and you have every right to express your opinions.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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https://theathletic.com/362627/2018...len-sparks-odyssey-sims-cheryl-reeve-vintage/

That was a piece of the Sparks’ game plan in Sunday’s WNBA season opener: Attack Whalen.

“She’s a great player,” Sims said. “She’s a veteran in the league. She’s earned her stripes, but at the end of the day, I’m younger and I do what I do best. I know she doesn’t like pressure. It makes her feel uncomfortable. I knew at halftime she was tired and it showed. OK, she got some key buckets at the end of the game, but we really wore her out. … For us to disrupt her, to make her uncomfortable tonight was really key for us.”

Whalen gathered herself midway through the fourth and put together a string of plays to keep the Lynx alive in an otherwise sloppy game. She scored 10 of her team-high 17 points in the fourth and dished out nine assists overall. Sims, charged from the buzzer-beating win, still wanted to chirp her opponent.

“Of course (we expected Whalen’s comeback),” Sims said. “She was on the bench for a little while, honestly, didn’t even know if she was still on the team at one point, so I think she rested up just for those moments, especially when they came back (head coach Cheryl Reeve) had her on the bench for a reason. And then she came back, so it’s nothing new.”

Whalen almost single-handedly pulled off the comeback, as if to send the message that age won’t be a factor with the game on the line. She and Sims earned double technicals with 8:09 left in the fourth after the two fiery point guards spent too much time trying to get past each other on the way to their respective benches — an example of the chippiness between the Lynx and Sparks the last couple seasons.
 

Shades

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Sims is a little trash talker.

Iggy, since you subscribe to the Athletic, do you think you could reproduce the article where Reeve says something like “I don’t want to mess it up.” I think that meant she was nervous about her moves as a new GM. I’d like to see the specifics of what she was talking about.
 

hungan1

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Fueling the fodder for an eventual meeting late in the season when it matters.

At least Carlie has a taste of what it is like albeit being cut. Hopefully, this is a blessing in disguise stocking her desire to make it to a WNBA roster.
 

Shades

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Fueling the fodder for an eventual meeting late in the season when it matters.
Trust me, every game against the Sparks matters, if you think home court advantage in the Finals is important. Losing that game was a monumental disappointment.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Sims is a little trash talker.

Iggy, since you subscribe to the Athletic, do you think you could reproduce the article where Reeve says something like “I don’t want to mess it up.” I think that meant she was nervous about her moves as a new GM. I’d like to see the specifics of what she was talking about.
https://theathletic.com/355361/2018...coach-gm-wnba-title-champions-lindsay-whalen/

Here are two parts of the article one with the phrase, "don't screw it up" (which may or may not be a quote). The second part refers to how as a coach she could react in a way she shouldn't as a GM.


She is about to start her ninth season with the Lynx, and with the newly minted title of general manager to go with her head-coaching duties, she has never been more powerful. Despite all her success, despite helping to turn what was a woebegone franchise into the envy of the WNBA, one thought sits in the back of her mind as the Lynx prepare to pursue their fifth title in eight seasons.

Don’t screw it up.

Longtime general manager Roger Griffith stepped away from the organization after the Lynx defeated the Sparks last fall. Reeve worked closely with Griffith to help construct the juggernaut the Lynx are today, always having appreciation for the demands placed on him as he worked the salary cap, prepared for the draft and generated opportunities for trades and free agents.

Now those demands are hers....


...“I want to be different. I want the player to always win because I have to coach them,” Reeve said. “I will probably be the one that maybe leans more towards, does $5,000 really make a difference? Unless it matters on the cap, do I really want that $5,000 or whatever it is, is it really worth what we might have to go through as coach-player? From that end, I would think that communication will be huge.”

That’s where the problems can begin. A coach gets too attached to a player and makes a financial mistake. Or, on the flip side, gets too upset with a player and prematurely jettisons her.

“If we go through a four-game losing streak, all of a sudden I want to go, ‘I want to trade this player,’” Reeve said. “Well, I wasn’t feeling that way when we weren’t losing games. One of the things I think Roger and I have done well through the years is staying the course. We’ve had opportunities to do something at a time when emotions were a little higher that we’ve always kind of steadied ourselves a little bit and said stay the course, stay the course. I hope that it’s something I’m going to be able to, as a GM, remind myself, as a coach, that when we’re in it, no, that’s not going to be something we’re going to do right now. That’s short-sighted.”
 

Shades

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Thanks! I think that’s what I was looking for. She doesn’t say anything about this year’s moves, but I guess what she’s saying is she’s worried she’ll make hasty or bad moves since there’s no longer that balance of power they had before. It’s all Reeve making the decisions.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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https://www.swishappeal.com/2018/6/...-beat-aces-sparks-beat-lynx-diamond-deshields

Swish Appeal on Whalen and the Lynx loss to LA.


As stated before the season, fatigue from overseas commitments, Team USA participation and moonlighting might be an issue for this aging team and this is proving to be the case....

...Of most concern for Head Coach Cheryl Reeve should be the head-scratchingly poor play of point guard Lindsay Whalen, who not only has not looked like a champion but barely looks like a player who should be in the league. At the start of the season, Reeve acknowledged that Whalen would only be expected to play about 30 minutes per game as she plays her way back into game shape. Well, if the happenings in Los Angeles on Sunday are any indication, Whalen cannot hang even 10 minutes against the league’s most dominant teams. She played just seven minutes before Reeve pulled her. In that time, Whalen stunk up the stat sheet: 0 points, 1 rebound, 0 assists, 1 foul and 1 turnover. Danielle Robinson entered the game and contributed 12 points, but ultimately fouled out of the game. Still, Robinson has demonstrated an ability to make actual contributions, so if the Lynx want to stop the downward slide, Reeve must go with the player who can contribute something. Because — like it or not, Lynx fans — fan favorite Whalen did not show up to the season in playing shape and she has now become a liability for her team.
 

hungan1

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The Lynx appeared like a tired bunch with not enough fuel left in the tank to eke out those last second victories. Is their age a factor? I think conditioning is.

Carliie Wagner is still raw for the level of play she will see in the WNBA, and IMHO will be best served by going overseas at this point of her career. She must stay in game shape. You never know when a phone call from a pro team will come. She better be ready.
 

samloupete

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The Lynx are in desperate need of young legs and 3 point shooting especially in their 2nd five. Robinson has never made a 3 point shot in her 7 year WNBA career if you can believe that!! Jones is a terrible shooter, Kiser can’t shoot a lick, Miyem can’t shoot. It really puts the Lynx at a disadvantage with respect to the Sparks and Mercury! One thing Wagner can do is shoot 3’s.
 

Shades

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Kizer has been so disappointing that the Lynx couldn’t really afford to bring back another guard. Miyem is the player they brought back but so far she hasn’t brought anything more than Kizer has. She was never a great rebounder overseas which is what the Lynx could use right now.

Zandalasini has been the most pleasant surprise, and they can use her at the shooting guard position. At 6’2 she can also do some spot time at PF.

Whalen just plays in those times where a savvy vet may be needed, however Reeve determines that.

The biggest blown move is letting Howard go. She’s gone onto to be an All Star level starter for SEA, and the Lynx are sitting there with Brunson who is already experiencing sore knees this early into the season, and with nobody that Reeve has confidence in playing behind her.
 

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The Lynx are in desperate need of young legs and 3 point shooting especially in their 2nd five. Robinson has never made a 3 point shot in her 7 year WNBA career if you can believe that!! Jones is a terrible shooter, Kiser can’t shoot a lick, Miyem can’t shoot. It really puts the Lynx at a disadvantage with respect to the Sparks and Mercury! One thing Wagner can do is shoot 3’s.
Agree that Robinson is not an outside shooter but is obviously quick to the basket and shoots ok to about 18 feet. Jones is actually a very good outside shooter and will get more consistent with more playing time. She was a star at both Duke and Baylor. During her 2017 rookie year she shot 38% from three and actually shot 67% in the playoffs. With more game experience her shooting might turn out to be exceptional. We don't know yet about Miyem, she has not played any minutes. Wright can also shoot the three. Once they get more experience Ceci and Jones will be very good outside shooters and Wright will be good enough. They will more than make up for the loss of Rene at 36%, Perkins at 32% and slowing down by Seimone and Lindsay.
 

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Kizer has been so disappointing that the Lynx couldn’t really afford to bring back another guard. Miyem is the player they brought back but so far she hasn’t brought anything more than Kizer has. She was never a great rebounder overseas which is what the Lynx could use right now.

Zandalasini has been the most pleasant surprise, and they can use her at the shooting guard position. At 6’2 she can also do some spot time at PF.

Whalen just plays in those times where a savvy vet may be needed, however Reeve determines that.

The biggest blown move is letting Howard go. She’s gone onto to be an All Star level starter for SEA, and the Lynx are sitting there with Brunson who is already experiencing sore knees this early into the season, and with nobody that Reeve has confidence in playing behind her.
While we sometimes miss Howard it is not a slam dunk that we are worse off without her. There were salary cap issues and she wanted more time. At 27 minutes and 15 points a game this year she is not quite All Star level and probably benefits from attention given to Stewart. She has had 4 or more fouls in 9 of 12 games this year. Brunson is still looking pretty good defensively. Jury still out on how we will do rest of this year.
 

Shades

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While we sometimes miss Howard it is not a slam dunk that we are worse off without her.
I miss Howard all the time, and it’s a two handed slam dunk that the Lynx are worse off without her. Notice how the teams have flip-flop their standings? No fluke.

she wanted more time.
She wanted a decent contract, and SEA was smart enough to give it to her. Now they get the dividends.

At 27 minutes and 15 points a game this year she is not quite All Star level
You can be MVP with 18-19 ppg, so that’s up there. The voters decide All Star and I’d say she’s popular enough to be included. To suggest she’s not comes off as sour grapes or denial.

probably benefits from attention given to Stewart.
The Lynx have a couple MVP caliber players themselves.

Brunson is still looking pretty good defensively.
Reeve keeps talking about her knees being sore and how she needs to watch her court time. Disaster if she can’t play.

Jury still out on how we will do rest of this year.
Not looking like a championship season. Maya would have to strap a cape on just for the Lynx to end up respectable this season.
 

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No need to accuse me of sour grapes. I like Howard a lot. I would certainly take her over Kizer this year. That is not the issue. I am not a fan that likes to second guess management decisions of a successful team. The reason we don't still have Howard is because she was stuck behind five starters that had each been an All Star and won multiple titles. Also, there is this thing called a salary cap and there are only forty minutes in a game. Which of our All Star players should we have taken money and playing time away from? Seattle had money and minutes available and we didn't so we allowed Howard to try for more success. That, however, is NOT the major reason for our losses this year. Two things stand out. We have three players that are starting to reach later career issues. We also have four second team players that have been replaced. Each of those takes new players spending time playing together in order to adapt. We lost four players that averaged over 10 minutes per game (Renee 22, Plenette 14, Howard 12 and Perkins 16). We replaced them with four other players averaging over 10 minutes (Robinson 18, Wright 18, Jones 13 and Ceci 11). We are also replacing minutes and scoring from Lindsay. All is not lost. We have lost two home games and one away to the best two teams in the league (Pho and LA). We lost a buzzer beater away plus two other away games to good teams that played above their normal level. We are playing better together each game. Better to do both but if I had to choose between having best regular season record or winning playoffs the latter is better. We still have a pretty good shot at that.
 

Shades

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No need to accuse me of sour grapes. I like Howard a lot. I would certainly take her over Kizer this year.
Reeve didn't see it that way. That was a big problem. Felt they could get by with Kizer, who is now cut. The season still could work out, but making it a lot harder for the team. Laying even higher expectation on Maya and Fowles. They can't be perfect every game, and that's basically what it takes now to win.

That is not the issue. I am not a fan that likes to second guess management decisions of a successful team.
This is the first year for Reeve making all the decisions, and I never liked the decision not to re-sign Howard. Still not liking it obviously. if you don't like to second guess, then don't. But also don't try to take away right to second guess.

The reason we don't still have Howard is because she was stuck behind five starters that had each been an All Star and won multiple titles. Also, there is this thing called a salary cap and there are only forty minutes in a game. Which of our All Star players should we have taken money and playing time away from? Seattle had money and minutes available and we didn't so we allowed Howard to try for more success.
We allowed it, huh? Aren't we just generous to other teams. SEA must have the money, because they pay max to Langhorne, who was also supposed to get the bulk of the minutes, but she was injured coming into camp, Howard took over as starter and hasn't looked back. That's how good she is. Giving up good young vets in their prime isn't the best way to keep a dynasty going.


That, however, is NOT the major reason for our losses this year. Two things stand out. We have three players that are starting to reach later career issues.
I guess you just answered your question above. You seem to think all the starters are irreplaceable and are worth their salaries, and then go on to say these "later career issues" are an excuse for losing.

We also have four second team players that have been replaced. Each of those takes new players spending time playing together in order to adapt. We lost four players that averaged over 10 minutes per game (Renee 22, Plenette 14, Howard 12 and Perkins 16). We replaced them with four other players averaging over 10 minutes (Robinson 18, Wright 18, Jones 13 and Ceci 11).
This is the crux of the debate, did Reeve do a good job replacing these players? I'm saying no, should have made it a priority to keep Howard with Brunson likely retiring after this season. There was no keeping Montgomery, i understand that. But she's more easily replaceable than Howard. Did the Lynx have to pay max for DRob and give up a first round draft pick? Probably not, but I'm pretty sure you can have 7 max players on the team if you're frugal with the rest. A cheaper Kizer was Reeve's solution for losing Howard. It didn't pan out. That's a reality. It's a reality that might bite for a few years because Howard is obviously that good.

We are also replacing minutes and scoring from Lindsay.
Oh, how's that? Are you saying Whalen has become a detriment to the team? Why is she on the team then? She has a great paying job.

All is not lost. We have lost two home games and one away to the best two teams in the league (Pho and LA). We lost a buzzer beater away plus two other away games to good teams that played above their normal level. We are playing better together each game.
They have recently lost two of the worst teams in the league in Indiana and Chicago, most likely because we can't keep up with the youth on these teams, and Maya & Fowles can't afford to have an off night.

Better to do both but if I had to choose between having best regular season record or winning playoffs the latter is better. We still have a pretty good shot at that.
One of the chief reasons the Lynx have had great playoff success is securing that #1 seed every year for home court advantage. It means a lot. This year will likely be different.
 

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Grand Marshal honors go to Carlie Wagner

Carlie Wagner was Grand Marshal in the Farm and City Days parade Saturday in New Richland.

Wagner was in the 2018 training camp for the Minnesota Lynxes, but she currently has no obligations with them. Her plans now are to head overseas in September to play professional basketball in Zamora, Spain. “I’ll be there for about seven months,” said Wagner. “So it’s a long season. And then I’ll come back and try the WNBA thing again.” Wagner is looking forward to her first trip to Europe and to staying in the beautiful city of Zamora, which dates back to medieval times. “It is exciting. I’m kind of just dropping everything and heading over, and I’m just going to see what happens.”
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Carlie will play in Spain.
 

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Carlie heads to Spain in a day or two.
 

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Looks like it’s a preseason game that Zamarat is playing today. Zamarat is up 36-32 at the half. Watching on Facebook.
 

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Not knowing Spanish, I've tried accessing the @cdzamarat Twitter feed then pasting tweets into Google Translate, which works OK. But that's a lot of work, so the other day I was just skimming the tweets on smart phone to see what I could find. Sure enough, on a tweet containing the roster list, there was the first mention I found of Carlie Wagner #33.

I continued clicking more or less at random, and arrived at the box score for last Thursday's game at https://mobile.twitter.com/FBCyL/status/1047935118189514753 (don't ask me how I got there, I'm not sure I could replicate it).

Their team won, 60 to 53. The bulk of the minutes were spread among 7 players. Carlie was a starter, and played almost 23 minutes. She scored 7 points in her first Spanish pre-season exhibition game. That's 2/3 on two-pointers, and 1/7 on threes - so apparently she was either a bit rusty on her shooting from deep, or else perhaps just nervous. I suspect that once she relaxes and gets her Spanish basketball legs underneath her, she'll be scoring 10+ points regularly. She had 2 assists and 2 rebounds and 1 foul.

The high-point scorer (23 pts) for this game was Chelsea Nelson, who looks to be an NC State post player in Carlie's graduation class. The other players on her team look mostly Spanish, judging by the names.

Also, I learned that Faltas means Fouls, and Rebotes means Rebounds.
 

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Welcome to the new Carlie fan. There aren’t enough Carlie fans here, even though she was a major part of the Gophers going to two recent NCAA tournaments.

Carlie went to Spain the first week in September (as noted above), so she should have her Spanish basketball legs by now. I don’t think that game was the first exhibition, but I can’t find boxscores for the other games. The regular season starts Oct 13.
 

hungan1

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She is a bright spot on the team with her blond hair and her smile.
 
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