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Waltiea Rolle makes her case for a roster spot as Lynx defeat Australia 82-66.

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In a game that featured Maya Moore and the WNBA Minnesota Lynx reserves against the 2012 Olympic Bronze Medal Australian Opals, the Lynx maintained the upper hand pretty much throughout. The contest was a good chance for the Lynx coaching staff to get a look at a lot of potential young talent in action before the 2014 Lynx roster is finalized.

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“We’re playing a great team that’s been together for awhile and is tremendously well coached…I give credit to the Lynx defense with a lot of hand pressures and athleticism…This is a tour to expose girls to the talent and develop them against the best players in the world. And I feel that’s happening.”

Australian Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce

This is a unique offseason for Minnesota, with the Lynx coming off two WNBA Championships in a three year span they have quickly become a coveted destination for aspiring young talent. As a result seven rookies enter the Lynx locker room this preseason in the hopes of joining the defending WNBA Champions during the upcoming regular season in 2014.

Making the most of her opportunity 6’6 rookie center Waltiea Rolle led Minnesota in scoring with 17 points, to which she added 5 rebounds, and 3 steals. Minnesota also saw good production out of rookies Asia Taylor, Damiris Dantas, and Christina Foggie who all made solid contributions during the Lynx victory combining for 27 of the team’s 82 total points.

On the play of the rookies…

“It was good, they did a lot of the things Cheryl (Coach Reeve) had asked of them. There were some areas they need to improve on, which is normal for a rookie coming into the system. I think we took big steps tonight, and obviously got the win.”

Minnesota Lynx center Janelle McCarville

The young Lynx squad looked to Maya Moore for leadership, and she delivered with tremendous presence and effort. Maya finished the night with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 7 steals, and 6 assists. Veteran free agent acquisition Tan White made her first appearance in a Lynx uniform and posted a game-high 8 assists to go with 11 points and 2 steals.

On her focus this season…

“Seeing how I can elevate my game playing amongst a bunch of great players, and seeing how I can contribute throughout the season. Just taking it each day at a time, just coming in and seeing early on what I can get better at, and how I can support this team.”

Minnesota Lynx guard Tan White

The game itself wasn’t completely cut and dry. Minnesota built a 14 point lead going into the half, but Australia came out with conviction during the 3rd quarter and brought the game back to just a two possession margin heading into the 4th quarter.

When the Lynx answered back, it was just too much for the Opals to overcome. After staggering slightly in the 3rd, Minnesota pulled together and outscored Australia 29-17 during the final period leading to a 82-66 preseason win to open the year at Target Center.

“Pretty good game for us. What I told the group is that they’ve worked really hard in the first week of training camp and what I appreciate most is the improvement they’ve shown. We’ve got a pretty good battle going on for some roster spots and I think the players that are battling showed some really good things.”

Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve

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