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    Lynx show off youthful, new-look offense in 72-69 preseason victory over Washington

    Because it was a preseason game — and the first one at that — the tendency is to take every stat, every number with a grain of salt.

    But Friday at Target Center perhaps the most interesting thing about the Lynx’s 72-69 victory over Washington was this:

    While coming from eight down to start the fourth quarter, while shutting the door on the Mystics defensively, the Lynx gave major minutes to four players they selected in this spring’s WNBA draft.

    Friday the Lynx got 19 points from Diamond Miller, an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double from Dorka Juhász. And both Brea Beal and Taylor Soule played all 10 minutes of the fourth quarter, during which Washington was held to 1-for-10 shooting with eight turnovers.

    “We got a lot done in that 40-minute game,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said.

    A short list: Improving on both offense and defense from a Thursday scrimmage against the same Mystics team; getting some of the jitters out, especially for the younger players.

    Displaying the connectiveness on this team which, according to Reeve, is about “two miles” ahead of last year’s team.

    “Could you guys feel it, see it?” Reeve said. “People who came to the arena saw it. This team gets that part.”

    Along with Miller’s scoring and Juhász’ steadiness, fans also saw Soule’s energy down the stretch. She scored all four of her points in the fourth quarter, with two rebounds. She also drew a charge.

    Of course, there is so much to learn. Many veterans sat, on both sides. Washington star Elena Delle Donne didn’t play in the second half.

    “For us it felt like a real game,” Miller said. “It was our first time. And I think we played well.”

    Said Juhász: “It was awesome to be out there, wearing WNBA jerseys. A great experience.”

    Tiffany Mitchell (nine points) and Rachel Banham (13) started the fourth quarter charge, each scoring five points in a 16-2 run to start the quarter and put Minnesota up six with 4:08 to play.

    But then it was mainly rookies. Miller showed her ability to get to the free throw line, getting there 12 times. The four rookies combined to go 11-for-24 and score 34 of Minnesota’s 72 points.

    “If you watch Diamond, she’s really competitive,” Reeve said. “Man, she wants to win every possession. A ton of mistakes, but that’s expected. She’ll listen, that’s important. Dorka? This has always been her way, very steady, a very mature player.”

    Soule, meanwhile, has made her mark quickly in camp as being the team’s highest-energy player.

    The new “five-out” offensive scheme was not bad in its debut. The Lynx shot 44.1% overall. And despite only shooting 21.7% on three-pointers, the Lynx did a good job of focusing on getting threes or getting to the basket. While taking a 24-21 first-quarter lead Minnesota took just one midrange shot.

    “We have a lot of fun out there,” Miller said. “It makes it easier when you’re having fun. The coaches are hard on us, but give us the chance to learn. Mistakes will happen, but we have the encouragement around us to keep going. If you think we had a connection today, wait until we get real connection.”

    Minnesota had the edge in points on the fast break (10-6) and in the paint (34-26).

    “They fed off each other,” Reeve said. “They wanted to win. You could see that.”

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