February 16, 2021 

‘They have a tradition of excellence’: Aerial Powers excited to join Minnesota Lynx

The team announced its acquisition of the 2019 WNBA champion on Monday

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Aerial Powers during a game between the Washington Mystics and the Atlanta Dream on July 21, 2019. Photo Credit: Domenic Allegra.

Minnesota Lynx Head Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve announced Monday that she’s added yet another young and scary-good asset to her squad ahead of the 2021 season.

Five-year veteran forward Aerial Powers will be heading to the Midwest this year after averaging 16.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals over six games with the Washington Mystics in 2020.

“Aerial Powers is an exciting young player with endless potential,” Reeve said in a statement released by the team. “She plays with a great deal of passion, is a dynamic scorer and defends at a high level. We are excited to welcome her to the Lynx family.”

Powers is no stranger to the postseason run, which is the undisputed goal for the Lynx in 2021. She is a 2019 WNBA Champion (Washington Mystics) and saw action in all nine of those playoff games, averaging 7.6 points on 45.1 percent shooting from the field and 3.3 rebounds. In Game Four, she racked up 15 points and dealt three assists.

Powers locked in some career-highs last season, including 27 points on 10-of-14 field goals on July 28 against the Connecticut Sun. Throughout the 2020 season she averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals with the Mystics.

And she’s not planning on slowing down any time soon.

“I am beyond excited to be joining the Minnesota Lynx this season. They have a long-standing tradition of excellence and hard work that I know is the best fit for me. I am excited to get to work as we look to bring another championship back to Minnesota and the fans.”

With her position flexibility and skill at coming off pin-downs, Powers will fit right in with the kind of dynamic offense Coach Reeve wants to run.

More power moves for Minnesota

The Lynx made another move on Monday that sent Odyssey Sims, the negotiating rights to Temi Fagbenle and Minnesota’s own 2022 first- and third-round picks to the Indiana Fever in exchange for the team’s 2022 second-round pick.

Sims spent the past two seasons with Minnesota and had her best season in 2019, in which she averaged 14.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 34 games (all of which were starts). Sims started her career with Tulsa (now the Dallas Wings) and has appeared in 17 postseason games.

While keeping Sims onboard would’ve surely been beneficial for the Lynx, there was only so much salary cap wiggle room to play with after adding Powers and Kayla McBride.

Fagbenle spent three seasons as a Lynx holding career averages of 3.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 9.3 minutes in 69 games. She was a 2016 third-round pick for Minnesota and also saw her best season in 2019, averaging 5.4 points and 2.9 rebounds over 18 games.

Fagbenle saw playoff action three years in a row with the Lynx and was a part of the 2017 WNBA Championship team that beat the Los Angeles Sparks.

Minnesota also announced on Saturday that the team has signed guard Linnae Harper to a training camp contract. Harper played for the Chicago Sky in 2018 and averaged 2.0 points on 40.4 percent shooting, 0.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 25 games throughout her rookie season. She is currently playing in Italy for Lucca where she holds averages of 13.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 11 games played.

It’s clear to see the Lynx have no intention of missing a shot at the championship in 2021. With the development of players like Crystal Dangerfield and Napheesa Collier along with these off-season signings, it seems like the pieces are falling into place for Minnesota.

All three of their big acquisitions so far this off-season, Kayla McBride, Natalie Achonwa and now Powers have expressed one unified goal: bring a trophy back to the Twin Cities this year.

Written by Sydney Olmstead

Pac-12 and Las Vegas Aces reporter.

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