Lynx expect tough test at San Antonio
- Blog Post by: Roman Augustoviz
- July 2, 2012 - 3:07 AM
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said San Antonio started playing better in the second half of a 83-79 loss to her team on June 3 at Target Center. The Silver Stars closed a huge deficit to within two points in the closing seconds.
"They picked it up in the second and competed and they saw the results of that," Reeve said. "Since that game they have been playing extremely, extremely well on both sides. Very efficient on offense. Really locked in defensively. It is going to be a hard game for us."
San Antonio is 4-1 in its last five games.
The Lynx (13-1) play the Silver Stars (6-5) at 2 p.m. today (Sunday) at the AT&T Center on Hounds and Hoops Day. Fans can bring one dog per person, provided the dog is on a leash.
Reeve said what she likes about the way the Lynx are playing -- and they have won three in a row after their only loss -- is that the Lynx fight through situations in a game where the team is not playing that well.
"We share the ball well and I like our balance," Reeve said, "and for the most part we have a group, that for the most part, all of them understand what they should be doing."
* The Lynx will return home after the Texas trip and then play at slumping Los Angeles on Thursday.. "They have played more [games] than any other team in the league," Reeve said, "has kind of creeped in. Then they have had the injuries that they have. They just have to get through this stretch and weather the storm where they are at. The break for them is something that they will really welcome.
"But it is a team that is very talented. And it's got some individual players that are playing well. But right now [they] look a little bit different than San Antonio. San Antonio is kind of on the upswing an L.A. is in more of a slide."
* Asked for a grade on the Lynx's season: "I am very pleased where we are record-wise, obviously. But I just think in order for us to have a playoff mentality, there are some areas of the game where we got to get better. Our staples are our defense and our rebounding. And we have to keep evolving in that area. ... We are out of position oftentimes."
* On Lynx's big lead in the standings over most of the teams in the West: "As I told our players, 'the league is going to catch up with us.' San Antonio from our [last] game to this point is playing harder. Seattle is in a much better situation, a greater sense of urgency. So we want to be the team that doesn't stay right here. We have to know the games are going to get harder as we move through the season and playoff positioning becomes a factor.
"So we want to be mindful of the future. Not just playing well enough to win right now."
TAJ ON GOING HOME
"It is a big game for us," Lynx center Taj McWilliams-Franklin said. "it is the start of a big week [three games] and San Antonio is playing really well right now. All of them are firing on all engines. It is going to be a tough game."
But McWilliams-Franklin's home is in San Antonio. Her husband Reggie and youngest daughter Maia, 9, live there during the school year.
"I am happy to be home. I am happy to be home. My mom comes down and acts crazy at the games. And I get to drive down the highway to my house and to the game, so it is going to be fun for me."
McWilliams-Franklin said the Lynx will have to control the boards against the shorter Silver Stars. "We have to get our fast break going and the only way we can do that is with rebounding the ball. And playing great defense, not allowing them the opportunity to get second shots.
"And San Antonio is such a challenging match-up for us, as they have been in the past, because they do a lot of the same things we do. And it is because Cheryl Reeve started with [San Antonio coach] Dan Hughes a long time ago in Cleveland. So she understands his concepts. And he understands hers, so when we play each other, it is like two rams locking horns. And so the little things that we can get over on them is going to help us."
The Lynx are 7-0 against the Silver Stars in their last seven regular-season meetings but two of those wins came on buzzer-beaters by Lindsay Whalen in Texas and McWilliams-Franklin in Target Center only days apart.
Counting last year's playoffs, the Lynx are 9-1 in their past 10 meetings.
"Rebounding is a high point for us but, more importantly, is containing penetration," McWilliams-Franklin said, "so we can rebound so we have the right people on the right bodies"
* McWilliams-Franklin said she does not pay any attention to the standings. "I am just happy we are in first place this early," she said. .
* Asked a grade for the team at this point: "As a player I want to say a B, and as a coaching mind I think we are at a C-minus. We have moments where we are brilliant. And then we have moments where we just stink it up. And we have moments where we win games stinking it up. And, so for us, the key is going to be consistent and being the team that is getting stops on defense and not relying so much on our offense to get us going."
After winning five games in a row, Seattle lost 77-59 at New York on Saturday. Sue Bird, who Storm broadcasters call Birdie, was only three for 11 and scored nine points as Seattle (6-8) was held to its lowest point total of the season.
The Storm committed 24 turnovers and had nobody with more than 10 points. Seattle shot just 32.2 percent.
Essence Carson scored 22 points and Cappie Pondexter 20 for the Liberty (5-9). The Liberty won despite losing Kia Vaughn, its leading scorer, in the second quarter with a concussion.
Ex-Lynx Svetlana Abromisova, signed by the Storm on Friday, played but did not score in just under six minutes.
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