The ball went from Lindsay Whalen to Maya Moore. Back to Whalen, then to Rebekkah Brunson. Eventually the ball went to Sylvia Fowles in the post, who kicked it out to Seimone Augustus for an open mid-range jumper.
A rare sight.
The band, as Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve likes to say, is back together.
The Lynx, who spent the season working around injuries and midseason additions, were at full strength when they met for practice Tuesday, the first of their three workouts before Minnesota opens the WNBA playoffs against Los Angeles on Friday at Target Center.
Finally, Augustus and Whalen are back. Augustus for the first time since sustaining a left mid-foot sprain Aug. 19, Whalen for the first time since straining her right Achilles Aug. 30.
“Now that I’m back, Whalen’s back, we’re all together,” Augustus said. “We should have a fun time.’’
That’s the idea.
As coach Cheryl Reeve said, she’s had her top five current starters, together, healthy, on the same court for about 50 minutes this season.
Part of the reason for that is that Fowles wasn’t acquired by trade until the All Star break. But it was mainly due to injuries.
Augustus was among the league leaders in scoring, averaging 15.4 points over the first 13 games, before missing a month following arthroscopic knee surgery. She returned for three games, then sprained her foot.
“Any time you have to sit out with injuries is gut-wrenching,” Augustus said.
“It stabs you in the heart every time to see your team grind and try to pull out wins. It hurts.’’
Whalen, meanwhile, missed one game earlier in the season when she got poked in the eye. She was already trying to play through significant ankle pain before straining her Achilles in Minnesota’s victory over Phoenix Aug. 30, missing the final four games.
After Tuesday’s practice both sounded ready to go.
“I’m all in,” Augustus said. “I’m ready to go.’’
Whalen, as usual, was a bit more circumspect.
“I’m just going to keep doing everything I can, icing and treatment and everything,’’ she said. “Take it one day at a time and get ready for Friday.’’
Having played together for years, Whalen, Augustus, Moore and Brunson should be able to get right back in sync. The three days of practice, Reeve said, will get everybody comfortable playing with Fowles’ low-post presence.
And while Reeve said she wanted to see how both Whalen and Augustus responded to Tuesday’s vigorous practice, she knows that, if fully healthy, the Lynx are a pretty deep team entering the playoffs.
Guards Anna Cruz and Renee Montgomery played extensively down the stretch and give Reeve more flexibility.
But, as is usually the case in the playoffs, it’s about the starters. And, finally, the Lynx appear to have all of them.
Augustus said she’ll be dealing with swelling in her foot. She’ll need extra treatment, but pledged to play through it.
“I’ll have to push through it,” she said. “I’m a warrior, and I’ll be here for the team.’’
Said Whalen: “I’m pretty encouraged with how I felt today,’’ she said.
Both expect to feel even better by Friday’s playoff opener.
“It makes me proud to see we’re still the No. 1 team in the West despite all that we’ve been through,” Augustus said. “Now that we’re back, it makes us have hope for the playoffs.’’
Note: Because of scheduling conflicts with the Staples Center, the second game of the Western Conference semifinals between the Lynx and the Sparks will be played on the campus of Long Beach State University.