One game into the season and it already looks like the Minnesota Lynx got it right when they selected Napheesa Collier with the sixth overall pick in the WNBA Draft.
The rookie from the University of Connecticut exploded for 27 points, six rebounds and three blocks in her WNBA debut Saturday night, leading the Lynx to a 89-71 victory over the Chicago Sky to open the 2019 season.
Collier barely missed all night, hitting 8-of-10 shots, including 3-of-4 from 3-point land, and knocked down 8-of-11 free throws.
Sylvia Fowles was dominant as usual, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The new-look Lynx are without Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore, two All-WNBA stars who were key players on all four WNBA championship teams since 2011. Whalen, now the coach of the Gopher women's basketball team, retired after last season, and Moore is sitting out the season to focus on ministry.
The Lynx were also without 14-year veteran Seimone Augustus, who is considered day-to-day with knee soreness.
The starting lineup that for years has featured Whalen, Augustus, Moore, Fowles and Rebekkah Brunson, who also retired after last season, was entirely different:
- PG: Danielle Robinson
- SG: Odyssey Sims
- SF: Napheesa Collier
- PF: Damiris Dantas
- C: Sylvia Fowles
Collier wasn't the only rookie with a big debut. Jessica Shephard, Minnesota's second-round pick (16th overall), scored just three points but piled up 13 rebounds and six assists.