Napheesa Collier Returns to WNBA For the First Time Since Giving Start


Napheesa Collier made her 2022 season debut on Sunday and helped Minnesota beat the Dream, 81-71, lower than three months after giving beginning to her daughter, Mila, in Could.

The 2019 Rookie of the Yr completed the competition with six factors, two rebounds, one help, one steal, and one block in 21 minutes of motion. In accordance with Coach and GM Cheryl Reeve, Collier made her return to courtroom after it grew to become clear that Aerial Powers would miss Sunday’s recreation with a sore knee.

“Her vitality, her motion, it simply creates simpler issues for different individuals, and her size defensively is fairly useful,” Reeve mentioned per ESPN.

The previous UConn’s presence was wanted on an evening the place each the Lynx and Dream are combating for his or her playoff lives with three video games left within the season. With their victory over Atlanta, the Lynx moved inside one recreation of a playoff spot and are one among six groups that might safe one of many final three remaining spots within the playoffs.

“I’m going to assist us make a playoff push,” Collier said. “Each recreation is do-or-die for us, and I’m going to do all the pieces I can to assist that occur.”

Whereas Collier’s debut might not have produced some gaudy stats, she put collectively a efficiency that additional validated simply how important her presence shall be in Minnesota’s future.

She may not have put up gaudy stats in her first look of the summer season, however Collier demonstrated a lot of what she does greatest: the little issues that assist her crew win. Collier admitted that she felt bodily able to go and that the one factor holding her again on the courtroom was “some nerves.” She additionally mentioned she felt a bit winded in the course of the recreation after taking part in twice so long as she initially anticipated to.

Nonetheless, Collier mentioned her season debut was a “good first recreation” again.

“I used to be actually excited,” Collier mentioned whereas holding Mila on her lap postgame. “Clearly, there’s some nerves coming in, particularly this late within the season and making an attempt to get again right here and rush to do all the pieces. But it surely felt so good to listen to my identify referred to as and have the followers cheer for me. It was a very good feeling. So I’m actually glad I performed tonight.”

The Lynx have a tricky stretch to beat with video games towards the Mercury and Solar arising on Wednesday and Sunday, respectively. Enjoying towards high-level groups just like the Mercury and Solar will assist Collier get her wind and rhythm again with simply three video games remaining on the schedule. When she was final wholesome, Collier averaged 16.2 factors, 6.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks per recreation.

“She’s received to meet up with the velocity of the sport and as issues are occurring, however that’s most likely about as profitable as I believed it could possibly be, taking part in most likely a bit longer than what we initially thought,” Lynx head coach/basic supervisor Cheryl Reeve mentioned.

“Every time she performs, she’s going to get extra snug,” Reeve mentioned. “Plenty of performs, she doesn’t know. She’s received to rise up to hurry on all the pieces we’re operating. After which we additionally need to get to the place we will function her.”

Her efficiency in 2021 garnered a multi-year extension with the Lynx that runs by 2025. Collier just lately graced the quilt of WSLAM Vol. 2 with Dearica Hamby as WSLAM celebrated the 2 moms.

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