Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Reeve trying to convince Lynx center McWilliams-Franklin to return

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: October 9, 2011 - 11:36 PM

Taj McWilliams-Franklin sprained her right knee in Game 2 of the Lynx-Atlanta series in the WNBA Finals. Seimone Augustus' left knee was swollen.

But, two nights later, both played most of Game 3 in Atlanta. And, of course, the Lynx won to sweep the series. "I don't think they feel a thing," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said afterward.  "And we certainly didn't talk about anythng that is ailing anybody.

"Right now they are sore. Maybe tomorrow they are sore."

But in a closeout game in the WNBA, Reeve said, they were going to play.

“The reason we signed Taj was exactly what she gave us all season," Reeve said.  "I don’t know if I remember a signing in the offseason that affected [a team] as much as Taj effected ours in a positive way. Being healthy helped. Maya Moore was OK.

[Moore was the league's rookie of the year.]

"Taj was just so instrumental in this season we had and she has a huge piece of that championship."

McWilliams-Franklin, who turns 41 on Oct. 20, played 33-plus minutes in Game 3. She had seven points, including four big free throws at the end, five rebounds and two steals.

Reeve said she has a hard time ever taking her out of the game.

Will the Lynx try to re-sign her for 2011? “We are going to try," Reeve said after Friday's game. "I am going to start talking to her right now. This is the best time to get her when she is really happy like this.”

Reeve and McWilliams-Franklin hugged on the court after the Lynx won. And No. 8 gave Reeve a pat on the head for a job well done.

McCOUGHTRY HELD DOWN

“We tried to make her touches more difficult,” Reeve said, asked about how the Lynx held Angel McCoughtry to 22 points in Game 3. She had 33 points and 38 in the first two games.

“Seimone did a better job setting the tone, dictating where McCoughtry caught it," Reeve said. "She still got 25 shots. She is a great player.”

“[We did] something we should have been doing in the first game[s], dictating,” Augustus said. “Just making every pass that she tried to catch difficult. Trying to deny her touches. And when she did try to attack, containg her, staying in front of her. Contest every shot.

 “[Friday] night we just kind of smothered her and forced her into bad shots.”

McCoughtry was nine for 25 from the field.

EARLY SIGNS

“I feel happy, I feel very happy,” said Roger Griffith, the Lynx’s executive vice president. “The first day of training camp, we knew we had something different, we knew we had something special.

 “Just the way they went out and practiced and bonded. [They] bought into everything from what the coaches were doing to their teammates from the first day of practice.


 

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