Swish Appeal had a nice piece on Monica Wright’s first three games in the WNBA…. I can’t wait to take my family to see her play in Washington (Friday the 13th of August!) With her family there, it will be a special night. I won’t be able to wait that long to see her play live though. I’m going to need to make a road trip.
In reviewing game film of Minnesota Lynx rookie guard Monica Wright, Seattle Storm coach Brian Agler noted that she is a confident go-to player and liked “how physical she is for being that young.”
Wright wasted no time in person showing Agler and the Storm just how good she could be when she came to Key Arena on Wednesday evening.
On an inbounds play during Minnesota’s first possession, Wright came around a screen on the right wing and received the ball from forward Hamchetou Maiga-Ba and in seemingly one fluid motion elevated over Tanisha Wright for quick jumper falling away for the first two points of the game.
That was just a sneak preview of what was to come.
In the first five minutes before a Storm timeout with 4:44 left in the first quarter, Wright had already scored 6 points on 3-5 shooting capped off by a strong layup off of two feet after driving by Wright on the left wing and pulling a crossover on a rotating Lauren Jackson in the middle of the key.
It wasn’t just that the Lynx were running plays to Wright, it’s that she so smoothly showed the ability to score in multiple ways and an undeterred tenacity even in the face of a stalwart defender like Lauren Jackson.
In catching up with her after the game, Wright was definitely disappointed with the Lynx’s 79-76 loss, but relieved by the breakthrough performance in which she finished with 19 points on 8-16 shooting in 34 minutes.
“It just felt like it was a weight lifted off my shoulders,” said Wright. “It was just something I needed to do for the team to be in the game and be able to win.”
The weight Wright was referring to was the 8-31 shooting in her first two games against the Tulsa Shock and Washington Mystics, which some might see as a harbinger of inefficient volume shooting to come. However, Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve shared a more nuanced analysis of her performance with Swish Appeal prior to Wednesday night’s road game against the Seattle Storm.
“You know, without Monica Wright to start the Tulsa game, we don’t get off to a double figure lead,” said Reeve when asked about Wright’s 6-18 and 7 turnover performance against the Shock. “So we didn’t really have a whole lot to say to her. We actually took her out at the end. And we’ve got some veterans that we need to count on. It should not be a situation where you count Monica Wright to get through this time. So I’m more interested in letting Moni just kind of adjust to our league and when she plays well obviously we’ll be really good, it’s just going to take some time.”
Between Agler’s observations of the Lynx offense, Reeve’s faith in her rookie, and Wright’s self-assessment of her game, it might almost seem inevitable that Wright ends up becoming a great scorer in this league. Perhaps needless to say, Wright was a bit better than the Storm expected.