After three intense days of practice, the Lynx will take Saturday off before getting back to work Sunday with their first of two practices at Williams Arena.
Not yet knowing who they will play in their semifinal series, which starts at Williams Tuesday, has allowed the Lynx to focus entirely on themselves this week. And that, said coach Cheryl Reeve, has been very valuable.
The goal this week? “Just reps,’’ Reeve said. “Repping your identity. That’s what we’ve been doing.’’
Knowing the rigors that come with playoff basketball as much as any team, the Lynx know executing the offense will be a huge challenge. So a lot of work was put in on that end of the court.
“You’re not always going to get your first option, your second option, third option,’’ Reeve said. “So how do you get through that? How do you just keep playing? How do you still get the percentage shot you want? At this point it’s not pretty offense. You have to understand how that works, how to stay aggressive.’’
One person who definitely benefited from the work was Lindsay Whalen, who returned to practice full time Wednesday after missing the team’s final 12 games with a broken left hand. Reeve promised a week ago that her goal was to push Whalen hard this week to help her regain her stamina.
Job achieved? “This has been an incredibly valuable time for her,’’ Reeve said. “It’s been tough for her. These practices were designed to kick her in the butt, and we’re kicking her in the butt.’’
--For all the talk about Whalen getting back, about Maya Moore getting hot and the very good chance Sylvia Fowles will get the league’s MVP award, Reeve talked today about how important it was for Seimone Augustus to get more aggressive when the playoffs start Tuesday
Augustus is averaging career lows in points (10.9), field goals attempted (9.2) and field goals made (4.6) per game. But she has been efficient. She is shooting 50.2 percent, her best in three seasons and is making 51.4 percent of her two-point attempts.
“It’s one of those things that don’t get talked about enough, especially as a player moves through their career,’’ Reeve said. “To sustain that type of efficiency, in field goal percentage, the types of shots she takes, she’s the best.’’
True, playing with Fowles, Whalen and Moore has a lot to do with that. But she still has the knack of getting open on pin-downs. “She knows our offense really well,’’ Reeve said. “Her timing is really there.’’
And Reeve wants more. “We’ve been on her about that,’’ Reeve said. “Games when we’ve dug out of tough scenarios, Seimone was a big part of that. Her being aggressive was a big part of that. So we need aggressive Seimone for the playoffs.’’
--The Lynx will practice rather early Sunday, starting at 11. Then the team will reconvene for a meeting once Tuesday’s opponent will become clear. That meeting, Monday’s practice and Tuesday morning shootaround will, then, be devoted to preparing for that particular team.