In third season with team, Kayla McBride in Lynx’s training camp for first time

Lynx guard Rachel Banham told reporters Monday there was a weird element to Monday’s training camp practice — Kayla McBride was there.

McBride is entering her third season as a member of the Lynx, but Monday marked the 30-year-old sharpshooter’s first official participation in training camp. In past years, McBride’s overseas season went so long they forced late arrivals for the veteran guard.

McBride got to Minnesota essentially just in time for the Lynx’s season opener in 2021, and last season McBride joined the team mid-road trip after missing the squad’s first four games — all losses.

But the schedule better aligned for McBride and the Lynx this season. McBride still guided her European team to EuroLeague and Turkish League titles and managed to get a few days off in between seasons before taking part in training camp Monday.

Lynx coach and president of basketball operations Cheryl Reeve noted it’s reporters who continually remind the coach that McBride hasn’t previously been in her training camp.

“I really forget that she hasn’t been. I’m sure she probably would’ve preferred to keep up that track record — she’s a veteran, they don’t like coming to camp,” Reeve said. “But I think she just looks great. When you come off of a season like that, I think in terms of what they were doing, her conditioning is really good, she looks really confident.”

The less-hectic integration of McBride into the fold this season figures to allow both the starting guard to be the best version of herself this summer, which should help the Lynx find an earlier rhythm after the team suffered 0-4 starts in each of the past two seasons.

“I’m like, ‘Oh, hello, welcome back.’ It’ll be good to have her,” Banham said. “We can actually, like, build that chemistry early compared to, like, last season or the last couple of seasons, so I’m really excited about that. I think it’s going to show more this year, the chemistry that we’re gonna build earlier than later.”

Carleton returns

Bridget Carleton is also set to be back in Minnesota after completing her season overseas in Spain. Reeve said the wing player was slated to fly in Monday.

The Lynx don’t know when Carleton will be ready to re-join the team in actual action. Carleton was battling a back issue toward the end of her overseas season. Reeve said head trainer Chuck Barta and the entire medical team have to get a feel for where Carleton is physically.

It’s a big week for Carleton, with the Lynx playing in the first-ever WNBA preseason game in Canada — more specifically, Carleton’s home province of Ontario — on Saturday against Chicago.

“She will be there, she will absolutely be there,” Reeve said. “And I know if BC can at all, even if it’s limited time, she’ll play.”

Lynx forward Jessica Shepard also got work in Monday after she missed Friday’s preseason opener with an oblique issue. Reeve said it was “good to have her out there.”

Future coach?

Banham’s role as director of quality control with the Gophers women’s basketball team has been a heavily discussed topic throughout Lynx’s training camp to date. On Monday, the guard from Lakeville was asked if she’d ever like to be a head coach.

“I don’t know yet. You’ll have to ask me down the road, later on,” Banham said. “I definitely want to coach, I don’t know if I want to be a head coach. But I do like kind of being bossy, so I think it’d be fun. I don’t know, we’ll see.”

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