Lynx shooting to become third repeat champions in WNBA history

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 16, 2014 - 6:03 AM

Only two teams have won back-to-back league titles. A third has a chance.

hide

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve has a tougher job at the start of this season. Three of her top seven players are out with knee injuries.

Photo: JEFF WHEELER • jeff.wheeler@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Lindsay Whalen, at 32, can see the big picture.

Both on the court, as the player recently named the best point guard in the league by WNBA general managers, and off.

She knows she and her Lynx teammates are about to get a second crack at an opportunity many never get. She knows there is history out there, ready to be made.

“There are reasons you do this,” Whalen said after a recent practice, talking about the game of basketball she plays nearly year-round.

The Lynx open the WNBA season Friday in Washington, looking to become the first back-to-back champions since Los Angeles in 2002.

“You do it for the next generation, you try to advance the game,” she said. “But you’re also working hard for the people who paved the way for you. So, to be mentioned with those teams would be amazing. But that’s a big-picture thing. It’s the short term that counts.”

In 2012 the Lynx, defending league champs, stormed their way into a second consecutive finals only to lose to Indiana. That loss proved to be the rallying point of last year’s title team.

So here they are again. With essentially the same core group, with U.S.Olympians Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and Whalen leading the way, this group gets a second chance to repeat. And the memory of that 2012 season is now the fuel.

There are already some unexpected barriers. All-Star forward Rebekkah Brunson is out at least two months following knee surgery. Top backups Monica Wright and Devereaux Peters are out at least a couple weeks following knee surgeries, too.

But their core is back, determined.

“That time in 2012 will stick with us until we retire,” Moore said. “That will be motivation.”

‘Vibe wasn’t perfect’

On one thing there is consensus. Things were never quite right in 2012.

Even when the Lynx started the season 10-0, there were rumblings. The defense wasn’t quite right. They could rebound better. The vibe wasn’t right.

“It wasn’t complacency,” coach Cheryl Reeve said of 2012. “They worked really hard. … The vibe wasn’t perfect.”

Perhaps there was a veteran reserve or two who chaffed at their small role. And nobody will admit it, but the three Olympians likely came back from London with gold medals and some fatigue.

Whatever it was, by the time the Lynx reached the finals, they weren’t focusing on the right things. Combine that with a peaking Fever team and the result was disappointment.

“It’s all the mental part of it,” Augustus said. “Why it never switched on to get us to the point where we needed to be, I have no idea. But look at us now, and you can see it. The intensity level is higher than it was in 2012 because now we know the sense of urgency we need to have.”

  • related content

  • Chart: Five WNBA story lines

    Thursday May 15, 2014

    FIVE WNBA STORY LINESA dynastyOnly two teams have won at least two WNBA titles in succession. Houston won the first...

  • Gameday preview: Lynx at Washington

    Thursday May 15, 2014

    Lynx gameday6 P.M. at Washington • verizon ctr, • no TV, 106.1-FMLynx update: The Lynx begin their defense of the...

  • Lynx schedule, games on TV

    Thursday May 15, 2014

  • 2014 Lynx roster

    Thursday May 15, 2014

  • Guard Lindsay Whalen hopes to use her experience to lead the Lynx to another title.

  • lynx season opener

    6 p.m. today at Washington No TV (106.1-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles 6 Bottom 2nd Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Boston - A. Webster 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - J. Locke
Toronto - M. Buehrle 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda
Washington - D. Fister 6:10 PM
Miami - T. Koehler
Chicago WSox - J. Quintana 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Cleveland - T. Bauer 7:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Seattle - T. Walker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Arizona - C. Anderson 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Cincinnati - D. Holmberg 7:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Lackey
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 8:35 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
Texas - L. Bonilla 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
San Francisco - T. Hudson 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 9:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close