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The last time most fans saw Hannah Sjerven was March 26, late in an NCAA Sweet 16 matchup with Michigan, when the South Dakota center and former Rogers High School standout fouled out with 2:19 left and her team within three points of the Wolverines.

After leading the Coyotes to upsets over Mississippi and Baylor, it was difficult for Sjerven to watch the closing moments of a 52-49 loss.

"It took awhile, honestly," said Sjerven, who was selected by the Lynx in the third round of last week's WNBA draft. "Just knowing the potential we had and that the game ultimately came down to one or two plays. It's tough when there are calls like that."

The 6-2 Sjerven is a center who can spread the floor with her shot. She and Kayla Jones — the North Carolina State forward drafted in the second round — had their first practice Sunday as the Lynx opened training camp at Mayo Clinic Square.

Both post players are hoping their offensive versatility can earn them a spot on a Lynx roster that will be tough to crack.

They have to develop another skill: Being able to shut out thought of roster spots and just play hard every day.

"I think I carry the same philosophy that I did when I was in the NCAA tournament," said Sjerven, who averaged 17.7 points in three tournament games. "It's just basketball. While it is exciting to be here, to be playing with these players, at the end of the day it's basketball and it's a lot of fun."

Jones? She and top-seeded N.C. State made it to the NCAA regional final before losing in two overtimes to Connecticut. "I can only control what I can control, and that's my effort, learning from the vets and embracing this moment, honestly," Jones said. "I'm thankful to be here."

Sjerven grew up rooting for the Lynx. She admitted working in practice with players like Sylvia Fowles and Angel McCoughtry is thrilling. "It's something I never could have dreamed growing up watching the Lynx," she said. "And now getting to work with them at training camp is a lot of fun."

Jones is a veteran of high-end basketball, helping elevate the Wolfpack into a top-tier program in recent years. Sjerven, who also played in multiple NCAA tournaments, hopes she can bring some momentum from this spring's run to camp.

Making the roster will be a challenge. "The first thing we say to a player is you're here for a reason,'' Lynx coach and GM Cheryl Reeve said. "Whatever that skill set is, you have to make sure you do that.''

A full go

Two key veterans hit the ground running Sunday. McCoughtry is coming back from knee surgery that kept her out of last season. Layshia Clarendon is coming back from a right tibia stress fracture that slowed the point guard down the stretch of the 2021 regular season and into the playoffs.

The biggest challenge now is conditioning.

"The last part of it for Angel is preparing her body for in the shape that's necessary,'' Reeve said. "So the way to do that is to be on the court.''

Same for Clarendon. Reeve said the Lynx will be mindful of how much pounding Clarendon takes during training camp practices. Sunday, Clarendon and Rachel Banham split reps at point guard with the first team, with Cece Hooks getting all the work with the second unit.

Late arrivals

Crystal Dangerfield, Kayla McBride and Jessica Shepard all missed the opening of camp due to overseas commitments.

Shepard just finished up her season in Italy and should practice with the team Wednesday. Dangerfield (Israel) could be a week away, while McBride (Turkey) will likely miss the first two weeks of the season.

The team's decision to waive forward Natasha Mack was due to her needing some extra time to rest after her season in Poland coupled with Shepard's imminent return.