September 3, 2021 

The Lynx continue to rely on the bench after Damiris Dantas season-ending injury

“It’s just a next man up mentality.” - Kayla McBride

The Minnesota Lynx will be without forward Damiris Dantas for the rest of the season after she suffered a right foot injury in Minnesota’s 77-66 win over the New York Liberty.

On Sept. 2, the team announced that Damiris Dantas was diagnosed with a Lisfranc injury, the same injury Washington Mystics free agency pick-up, Alysha Clark, had at the beginning of the season. Unlike Clark’s injury, Dantas won’t require surgery, per Mayo Clinic in Rochester by foot and ankle specialist Dr. Norman Turner III.

A six-year veteran, Dantas averaged 7.7 points, 4 rebounds and 2.3 assists this season.

The Lynx have battled against injuries all season, including hardship signings that helped land them guard Layshia Clarendon.

“Everybody in the league knows that when you have an injury, it’s very unfortunate for the person injured, but it’s an opportunity for someone else.” said general manager and head coach Cheryl Reeve.

Forwards Bridget Carleton and Jessica Shepard will likely be relied on to fill Dantas’ absence on the court.

Damiris Dantas
Minnesota Lynx forward Bridget Carleton (6) drives to the basket during the WNBA game between the Minnesota Lynx and the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA on August 19, 2021. Photo Credit: Chris Poss

In Thursday’s victory over the Los Angeles Sparks; Carleton was added to the starting lineup, playing 25:47 minutes with 3 points, 2 defensive rebounds and 2 steals. She was 1-for-3 on three-point attempts, just above her average of 2.2 attempts per game. Her attempts will need to increase to match the production that will be missed with Dantas missing in action; who averaged 4.3 three-point attempts per game. 

“She’s got to get more assertive in taking shots,”  said Coach Reeve, “The fact that she only took three three’s is very disappointing. She has a job to take a minimum of five three’s.”

Despite struggling with turning down open shots, Carleton has helped the Lynx secure much-needed points or made strong defensive plays when the Lynx needed it the most. Her 4th quarter shot against the Liberty helped stretch the Lynx lead.

“[Carleton] believes in herself. That’s the great thing. [Tonight] might not be the game that she wanted to have…but she’s gonna stand in there and, you know, just make these timely threes.” said Reeve.

Shepard is another player the Lynx will look to for help in filling Dantas’ rebounding and assists role. In Minnesota’s 74-66 victory over the New York Liberty on Aug. 31, she finished the game with a season-high 8 rebounds and 1 assist, playing just shy of 19 minutes.

Even with reduced time on the court against the Sparks, Shepard grabbed 4 rebounds and dished 2 assists. Her ability to see the court and get the ball to her teammates is vital. 

The Lynx have one more game at home against the Washington Mystics before heading on the road to face the second-place Las Vegas Aces. 

In addition to missing Dantas, the Lynx will be without guard Clarendon, who has missed the last two games due to a right lower leg injury. The Lynx are familiar with shuffling around their roster and the bench is always ready to step up when called upon

As guard Kayla McBride said, “It’s just a next man up mentality.”

Written by Alyssa Graham

Leave a Comment