If Sunday Cheryl Reeve was demanding more from guards Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen, Monday she was asking more of their teammates.
And the league’s in-game officials.
In what may have been an attempt to shift the story – and the pressure – off her starting guards, and in particular Lindsay Whalen, Reeve said today that part of Whalen’s problem this year is that she is no longer getting the calls she used to get driving to the hoop.
“Early on it seemed kind of like it was an agenda that she wasn’t going to be able to go to the basket as she’s done throughout her career,” Reeve said. “And get calls when she’s contacted illegally. It’s been a season-long struggle for her to overcome. So she’s changed her game because of it. And I think it’s really important that Lindsay Whalen be Lindsay Whalen and I’m going to try to help her do that.’’
What does that mean? I think you’ll see her more off the ball, on the wing, like she did a bit of earlier this season. But I also think the staff will make a concerted effort to put her in position to have early success. Today Reeve talked about how it was important for her teammates to set good, crisp picks to free Whalen up.
I think Reeve was also making a point about officiating she hopes will be heard. She said Whalen isn’t doing anything differently than in years past.
“Don’t get me fined,” she said “I don’t want to go down this road. It’s just, she’s had to adjust to a new style. It’s not the same when she goes in there. Every game we go, ‘Whalen doesn’t get that call,’ and it’s really discouraging. She’s trying to find ways to help her team. And try to do Whalen-like things. And it’s been a little harder for her.’’
Meanwhile, both Augustus and Whalen acknowledged they had to do more. “We need to take pressure off Sylvia and Maya,” Augustus said. “And we will.’’
Reeve also asked for more from Rebekkah Brunson, who has the job of guarding Tamika Catchings. Brunson, a rebounding machine in the first two rounds of the playoffs, had just three boards Sunday, none on the offensive end, and had just one point.
“She held herself to zero offensive rebounds,” Reeve said. “She needs to go in there and get offensive rebounds, like she wants it. The same way Tamika Catchings went to the glass like she wanted it. Every possession.’’
That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you after shootaround tomorrow.