BY MIKE PEDEN
2,055 people watched the Minnesota Lynx roster play under official game conditions for the first time in 2011 Tuesday, when they hosted the Indiana Fever in preseason play.
If the game took place at Target Center, those fans would fill just over 10 percent of the building's total capacity. At Concordia University's Gangelhoff Center in St. Paul, where the game was held, that number stood for the first preseason sellout in Lynx history. Although results do not count for the season, the Lynx suffered no omens in their 71-66 win against the Fever.
To be sure, the addition of Maya Moore in this year's draft generated buzz not seen since the Lynx entered the WNBA in 1999. Lynx front office members also took on a long outreach campaign to attract kids from neighborhood schools for the noon game. Those students comprised about half of the crowd in attendance.
While courting the young meant decibel levels matched the Lynx's annual Kids Day promotion throughout the game, the Lynx's outreach strategy paid off in an unexpected way when audio equipment problems at the scorer's table prevented a scheduled vocalist from performing the National Anthem. After a few minutes of murmurs and wonders, Fever players performed the song a cappella, and fans young and old quickly joined in.
School kids showed their gratitude to the Fever's gesture as most cheered when Tangela Smith sank the game's first basket, a 22-foot three-pointer.
Those kids quickly reverted to the hometown team, as head coach Cheryl Reeve played everybody on her training camp roster except Alexis Hornbuckle, whose strained hamstring kept her in street clothes.
Although Moore has been hailed as Minnesota's next star since she was drafted, fellow first-round pick Amber Harris showcased the team's revamped post players. The Xavier alum finished with a double-double, netting 10 points and 10 rebounds, showing the versatility that landed her on Lynx radar since last year.
Moore was more sluggish, scoring just four points on two-of-eight shooting, but she did get five rebounds and three assists. She also got a visitor's "welcome to the WNBA" greeting, when Fever forward Tamika Catchings juked Moore one-on-one for a lay-up early in the first quarter.
With a full training camp roster, the preseason game served an effective audition for players considered "on the bubble" to make the final cut of 11 players for the regular season. One predicted battle is the backup center slot between Quanitra Hollingsworth and Jessica Adair. Hollingsworth had one rebound and one assist in 7:23 of floor time, while Adair was limited to 4:37 after racking up four quick fouls, but she scored two points on free throws and scooped one rebound.
Guard Kachine Alexander, a former Iowa Hawkeye who attended high school at Benilde-St. Margaret's, banked a 20-foot jump shot for her only basket of the game. She added two steals in her 7:13 of playing time.
The best performance came from St. Paul native Angel Robinson, who first made local headlines in high school when she led an undefeated St. Paul Central team to the class AAAA state championship in 2007. Robinson finished with four points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in 13:22.
The Lynx have one more preseason tune-up at Indiana next Tuesday before they decide who stays and who goes.
Click this link to listen to interviews with Minnesota's Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson and Angel Robinson and Indiana's Katie Douglas.
Programs available for DVD purchase
Autism: The Wall That Knows No Limits - Award-winning documentary series providing insights on autism rarely seen in contemporary media. Produced by someone on the spectrum, this series is a wealth of information for anyone seeking to learn about autism.
$15 for one episode, $50 for the complete series (4 episodes)
What Are You? A Dialogue on Mixed Race - Originally a school assignment, this one-hour documentary explores a population that existed for many years but didn't get much focus until recently. This program examines how a small but growing segment of the population could shift racial and cultural identity. Screened at the 2009 Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival and will be screened at the inaugural Critical Mixed Race Studies conference at DePaul University. $15
From Vices to Verses: Featuring Voices Merging - From Vices to Verses: A New Era of Hip Hop and Action is a biannual conference held at the University of Minnesota. The goal is to promote the culture and history of hip-hop, which is often lost in the corporate mainstream representation. In this program, you'll see how the Voices Merging student group absorbed what they witnessed and how their experience will transform them as a group and as individuals. DVD copies come with 14 minutes of bonus footage not seen online or on TV. $15
Minnesota Machine: 2010 - Geared for Greatness - Join the professional women's football team in their historic 2nd season. Despite several injuries that depleted the roster, the Machine finished 2010 with a 6-3 record and their first division title in franchise history, edging the Iowa Thunder in the Midwest Division of the American Conference. This highlight reel includes clips from the 2010 season and their interview on the cable television show Rollin' and Tumblin' - $15
Silhouettes by RZI Couture - The inaugural breast cancer benefit fashion premiere took place in St. Paul and was met with a fabulous response. All the models were breast cancer survivors or relatives of someone affected by breast cancer and all the clothing was designed by Rosalyn Smaller, owner of RZI Couture and currently fighting breast cancer herself. The TV version features testimonials from the models and co-host Miss Georgia of KMOJ. $10 of every purchase will be donated to RZI Couture to help the breast cancer fight! $15