Janel McCarville got the ball at the elbow. She faced up, put the ball above her head. Maya Moore was working the baseline, covered closely.
And then, for a moment, the defender took his eye off the ball to make sure he was covering Moore. That was the moment that McCarville threaded a pass into a very tight window that Moore caught and converted into a layup in one motion.
“We turned to each other and said, ‘That’s why she’s in that spot,’ ‘’ Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “
This is why McCarville is here, with the Lynx, about to play in the WNBA for the first time in three years. After taking the weekend off the Lynx returned to their practice facility Monday knowing there were five more workouts before the regular season begins Saturday against Connecticut.
Scrimmaging against a grew of men, the intensity of the team’s training camp took a noticeable jump. Monday the Lynx practiced end of game situations.
It was also the first time McCarville has been able to go, full-out, start to finish since she rolled her ankle in practice a week ago.
This is important. McCarville, acquired in an off-season trade, has dealt with bumps and bruises since camp started and was lost for much of a week with the left ankle sprain. It is important that she is able to practice with the first unit in the week leading up to the season opener.
Both Reeve and McCarville said that would be enough time.
“I’ll do everything in my power to put myself in the position to be there, obviously, to help the team win,” McCarville said.
Said Reeve: “I think it’s enough time. I don’t know how many minutes she’ll be able to play. I hope it’s 25, that’s where I’d like it to be. But we’ll see where she’s at.”
McCarville still has some work to do on her conditioning; Monday she went straight from practice to an individual workout.
But it’s clear the Lynx like what they have seen out of McCarville. For a center to work in Reeve’s offense the player has to be able to hit a mid-range jumper, be a creative and accurate passer and set solid picks. McCarville can do all of that, and a bit more.
That’s about it for today. I’ll get back to you after Tuesday’s practice.