MINNEAPOLIS On the heels of the franchise's first WNBA championship, the Lynx will begin training camp Sunday afternoon.
Just more than three weeks in advance of its first game, a May 20 matchup against Phoenix, Minnesota will see a limited roster in its initial training camp practices. Most of its players remain overseas competing in postseason matchups, and Monica Wright, Candice Wiggins, Erin Thorn, and Jessica Adair will be the only returning players present. Devereaux Peters, Kayla Standish and Julie Wojta all picked in this month's draft will also be present, along with five training camp invitees.Over the next few weeks, the rest of the players will return from overseas, which guard Seimone Augustus, who's currently playing in Russia, said will be a welcome change."It's time to go home," Augustus said. "It's time to get back to the states. It's good to see the ladies and to know that this year is going to be a lot different from past years. We're not talking about the letdowns that we had in previous years. We're trying to come back and repeat a championship."No team has won back-to-back championships since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002, so the Lynx have a challenge ahead of them. But after an offseason that coach Cheryl Reeve said was close to perfect "To be really honest, there's not a better offseason than after you win a championship," she said the ambition is there.Perhaps the highlight of training camp, or at least its first week, will be to see first-round draft pick Devereaux Peters begin to integrate with the team. Peters, a forward who averaged 10.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.7 steals in her career at Notre Dame, led the Fighting Irish to the NCAA championship game in her last two seasons. A two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year and All-Big East First Team member, she was the second player in Notre Dame history to finish her career with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 150 blocks and 150 steals."(Reeve) said she's a great player, a helpful player," Augustus said. "Her personality is great. She'll fit well with the team. I actually get to meet her, and we'll kind of feel each other out at training camp goes on."With three weeks and the arrival of potential role models like Maya Moore and Taj McWilliams-Franklin between Sunday and the season opener, Peters should have ample time to begin to adjust. But no matter her time frame, the team appears poised for further success in 2012.Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.