Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve chose her words carefully. Before Friday’s game against Indiana at Target Center, she was asked whether she was surprised that the Lynx have begun the season 4-0.
Reeve didn’t want to sound arrogant. While she didn’t know how things would play out, she said, she knew her team was capable of running the table against a tough early schedule. They will try to make it 5-0 tonight, which would tie Los Angeles—the only other undefeated team in the WNBA—for the most victories in the league.
The Fever, who lost to the Lynx in the WNBA Finals last fall, will be another major challenge. Reeve acknowledged that Indiana (2-1) may have some residual desire for revenge. Her team, she said, pledged not to ease into the season and has held itself to a high standard of play right from the start.
“We were ready coming out of training camp,’’ Reeve said. “Against Phoenix that first night, we wanted to be ready to play. We didn’t want to just kind of evolve as a team as the season goes on. We wanted to have a certain starting point, then go from there—and we wanted to make sure that starting point was at a high level.
“We have no excuses not to play at a high level. We’re a very veteran team. I just appreciate (the players’) interest in doing that. Sometimes you get caught up in, ‘Well, it’s a long season,’ and you kind of save yourself. We didn’t do that, which I think contributes to why we’ve been playing so well so early in the season.’’
Reeve said the keys to winning Friday will be limiting fouls, avoiding turnovers and asserting themselves in the one- to five-foot range. The Fever is getting to the free-throw line 31.67 times per game, best in the WNBA, and making a league-high 25 per game. The Lynx commit 19 fouls per game, third-lowest in the league.
The Fever lead the league in scoring at 90 points per game, with the Lynx just behind at 88.8.
“Both teams are very consistent in their identity,’’ Reeve said. “We want to make sure we don’t contribute to their pace because our offense isn’t good. We want to push the pace, take good shots, take care of the ball and really work their defense.
“We learned a lot about them in the (WNBA Finals), and they learned a lot about us. One to five feet will continue to be the area that can give us separation. (In that area,) we’ve got to score and protect.’’