Lynx newcomer Williams shows her stuff in preseason victory

Friday's preseason opener against Chicago at Target Center was, for the Lynx, something of an on-court chemistry test.

There are three new players who figure heavily into Minnesota's plan this year in Courtney Williams, Alanna Smith and Natisha Hiedeman. Three are three Lynx veterans in Napheesa Collier, Kayla McBride and Bridget Carleton, who had been given the early part of training camp off after returning from Europe.

Collier and Carleton had participated on one practice. McBride, recovering from a bout of food poisoning, had none and didn't play Friday.

So Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was looking to see how all the pieces fit together.

The first early impression after a 92-81 victory?

Welcome to Minnesota, Williams.

She scored nine of Minnesota's first 13 points. She finished with 17 points and five assists in 22 minutes played. And:

Welcome back, Collier. She scored 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting.

Indeed, the Lynx starters were very, very good. The bench? The reserves struggled early, but sealed the victory late.

All five Lynx starters were between plus-13 (Hiedeman) and plus-17 (Diamond Miller). The opening lineup of Williams, Collier, Hiedeman, Miller and Alanna Smith were a combined 21-for-37 with 15 assists. That assist total shows the possibilities of this lineup, especially since it was the first game for the group.

But none of those starters played a minute in the fourth quarter. And the Lynx reserves were able to nail down the victory.

Off the bench, Carleton made three of four three-pointers and scored 12 points. Others making a strong case were forward Taylor Soule (six points, two rebounds), guard Kayana Traylor (six points) and forward Camryn Taylor (eight points, four rebounds). First-round draft pick Alissa Pili strugged in her opener, making one of seven shots. Hiedeman had eight points and six assists.

Rookie Angel Reese scored 13 points with nine rebounds for Chicago, which also got double-figure scoring from Lindsay Allen (17), Dana Evans (13), Chennedy Carter (12) and Michaela Onyenwere (11).

Williams had those nine points in a 13-2 start for the Lynx, whose lead grew as big as 13.

But, with the starters on the bench, the Lynx started giving back the lead, allowing Chicago to get within a point six times in the first six-plus minutes of the second quarter. But, up three with 5½ minutes left in the half, Reeve put the starters back in and Minnesota finished the half 16-8, with Collier scoring eight of those points, including a three-point play and a three-pointer.

By the time the Lynx finished the half with a 44-33 lead, all five Lynx starters were a plus-17 or better.

The lead was back to 13 early in the third quarter and was still at 11 before Chicago — led by Allen — pulled within seven entering the fourth.