Jace Frederick / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — The sight outside of Target Center on Sunday was better than the one inside, especially for Lynx fans who watched their team lose a nail-biter to the Los Angeles Sparks in the season opener. Maya Moore's presence was fully felt in the game, but she loomed larger than life a short distance from the arena. For 24 hours, downtown Minneapolis was home to a massive Jordan Brand poster that featured Moore re-enacting the famous "Wings" poster from 1989 that featured Michael Jordan himself. "It was amazing," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "It was the talk."
MINNEAPOLIS—The hype videos were great. The pregame championship ring ceremony was memorable. The Target Center crowd was electric. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve thanked the fans and the team's game operations staff for all of that to start off her postgame press conference on Sunday, May 20. "And we could probably end with that, if you want," Reeve said, "because there wasn't much more after that."
ST. PAUL—Heading into this weekend's NCAA Regional in Seattle, first-year coach Jamie Trachsel has set the focus on this Gophers softball season as an individual entity. Never mind the program's past success. "(We're) trying to write our own story," Trachsel said. "This is their opportunity. It's our tournament to go out there and try to win and be competitive. ... We're going to go give it our best shot."
ST. PAUL—Sylvia Fowles is nervous about this season's WNBA schedule. It's an odd year, meaning there's a major international basketball competition. In 2018, it's the World Cup. Traditionally, the WNBA stops its season mid-campaign to allow players to go compete internationally before returning for the season's conclusion. This year, the league chose to ram the entire regular season and playoffs in before the World Cup tournament begins Sept. 22 in Spain. So the schedule is condensed, meaning games will be coming fast and furious.
MINNEAPOLIS — Moving forward, Mark Coyle will be more informed during Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action investigations that involve Gophers student-athletes. The new student-athlete code of conduct, which came into effect in January, outlines a process in which more communication exists between the athletic director and other University of Minnesota entities.
OWATONNA, Minn. — It's a "crazy world" in men's college hockey right now, new Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. The Gophers team that won the national title in 2002, with which Motzko served as an assistant coach, was led by star players such as John Pohl and Jordan Leopold — who were both seniors. "Those days have changed," Motzko said. A team's best players being seniors is fading farther from the norm with each passing season in college hockey, as talented players are bolting for the pro game before their final seasons.
ST. PAUL—The annual Gopher Road Trip allows the various coaches of the University of Minnesota athletic programs to travel the state and connect with fans who support their programs. It also allows many of those coaches to flash their sense of humor. The coaches prepare speeches to deliver to the crowds at each stop, and most are littered with comedy. Here were some of the best lines delivered Tuesday morning in Owatonna:
MINNEAPOLIS — Minutes after the Timberwolves season ended in a Game 5 loss to Houston in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, Andrew Wiggins started to reflect. In his final performance of the season, a 122-104 loss in Houston, Wiggins tallied 14 points on 5-for-14 shooting, committed two turnovers and had not a single assist. "I kept losing the ball a lot," Wiggins said. "Just got to take it into the summer and use it as motivation."
MINNEAPOLIS — By the end of the season, there weren't many reasons left to criticize what was one of Tom Thibodeau's most scrutinized moves to date with the Timberwolves. Derrick Rose proved his worth in his short time in Minnesota. The veteran guard and former NBA MVP provided valuable wing depth to a team desperate for it, supplying a scoring burst and, more importantly, a toughness and a defensive presence in the playoffs to help keep Minnesota somewhat in a series against Houston in which its lack of perimeter depth was tested.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Lynx's offseason plans changed when rumblings of a comeback came out of Charlotte. Veteran guard Tanisha Wright had stepped away from playing basketball prior to the 2017 WNBA season, citing a need to rest, and last fall was hired as an assistant coach for the UNC-Charlotte women's basketball team. "I needed to just regroup," Wright said. But around January, she felt the want to return to action. A few good workouts led to a few more and "a few teams caught wind," she said.