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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Lynx left behind will work on their skills

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: July 16, 2012 - 2:11 AM

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said she is going to use the Summer Olympics break for skill workouts, not practices in the beginning. She wants to see a lot of improvement in individual areas.

"We've got a list for each of the players and we will work heavily in that area," Reeve said after the Lynx beat Tulsa 89-74 last Thursday at Target Center. "They have an individual responsibility to make sure they stay in shape. That if we are not doing enough in skill workouts, they know their bodies.  At the same time, being fresh and ready to go is really important.

"From a team perspective, the later part of the break, we will move into making sure we don't forget the system. But I want them to be fresh. I don't want this to be a grind for them. Five weeks is a long time."

The Lynx, except for their three Olympians, are off until they play Washington on Aug. 17.

"The first week is really going to be fun for them because they are not going to be with us," Reeve said. "They are going to enjoy the heck out of that hopefully on a sandy beach somewhere. And that is not something they get to do very often. So I know they are going to embrace that.

"And we are going to try to have fun. You are going to see us on Lake Calhoun doing some paddle-boarding. You are see us doing some stuff that is going to be a little different. Taj [McWilliams-Franklin] is really interested in playing paintball. I will try to be out of town on that day. I will be a big target. If I play paintball, I will try to make sure Taj is on my team because I am sure she has a great aim."

Reeve's Lynx are 15-4 and in first place in the West, but Los Angeles is only one game behind, San Antonio one and a half games.

"We have to come out of this thing a well-oiled machine," Reeve said. "I hope Lindsey [Whalen], Seimone [Augustus] and Maya [Moore] go over there and do great.  Get the gold. Get a bounce in their step. Come back here with a swag and be on a mission to get back to the [WNBA] Finals. That is the only goal.

INJURY UPDATE

Reeve said her three injured post players all should be ready after the Olympic break.

Jessica Adair had arthroscopic knee injury. Devereaux Peters has a broken finger on her left hand. Rebekkah Brunson has a strained calf.

"We are very fortunate the injuries happened when they did," Reeve said. "That they will get the time they will get to heal because, other than a couple of games, they are not going to miss any significant time from a game perspective.

"They are easy injuries to recover from. ... I would be really surprised if those three don't come back really hungry, really healthy and helping us out of the break."

THREE LYNX WILL BE SUBS

Reeve said none of the three Lynx will start for the U.S. team in the Olympics. "Of the group, you will see Maya more than Seimone or Lindsay which is a little different from what they are used to," Reeve said. "Because we usually see Seimone and Lindsay on our of end of things, and Maya sprinkled in.

"They will probably be on the court together some because they are [on] the second team. But I am not sure what the rotation is going to look like. Seimone wasn't present for the [2010] World Championships. I do remember a lot of Maya and Lindsay getting kind of limited minutes, which I actually am OK with.

"I want the gold medal and I want [Whalen] to play and get some mojo but I don't want her to get overworked over there. Sue Bird -- run her into the ground. That's what I want. Sue Bird 35 minutes, then Whay a little bit. Same for the other ones. I hope they have fun together. And they will be on the court together which will be a little bit like home for them."

Bird is Seattle's point guard and will start for the Olympic team ahead of Whalen.

MORE REEVE

Reeve was happy with her team's defense in last Thursday's win over Tulsa. The Shock shot 33.8 percent from the field and 7.1 percent on three-pointers (1 for 14), "which is refreshing after the number of games we had when they were dropping threes on our head."

* On her team's three-game losing streak to San Antonio, Los Angeles and Connecticut: "We didn't lose to bad teams. It was a hard week. We gave the teams we played credit. And I can guarantee you, the next time we play those teams, we will ready for [them]."

* On first 19 games: "We will analyze the heck out of it as a coaching staff. Like every team tries to do, cover your weaknesses, bring out your strengths. We will really study that. We will watch a lot of video with the six [healthy] players that are behind. We will have a limited amount of time when we get our Olympians back. But I know when we are ready to practice with a full group, we will be on point, and we will have a direction and we will go full speed ahead."

* On Maya Moore's 28-point game against Tulsa: "When Maya is getting to the foul line and getting buckets around the rim, that is really, really good for our offense.

"I went into these Tulsa games saying that for me, these were the two biggest games of Maya's career to this point. Because she has such a responsibility that if she played very solid on both sides of the ball, we had a chance to be successful. If Maya was erratic and jacking up shots and being undisciplined, we were going to be in big trouble. ... I was really impressed how she responded.

"I enjoyed watching her today just pick apart pressure. Her and Lindsay made some great plays. I think Maya wished we would play Tulsa all the time because she has pretty good numbers there."

* Reeve said she prefers balance to one player dominating a game: "We are at our best when we go into a game and we don't know who is going to be our leading scorer. We have to have that mindset. Obviously, Maya is very talented and is capable. But I don't ever want any of them [to want to take over a game]. If I could choose a player to have that mindset, it would be Seimone."

FOUL STUFF

During the five-week Olympic break, there is time to do a lot of digging -- as in mining stats.

For instance, who is the best Lynx player in limiting her fouls? The worst?

Maya Moore has committed the most fouls, 47, but she also has played the most minutes, 536. She averages 28.2 minutes per game.

Seimone Augustus, who missed two games with a strained quad, averages the most minutes, 28.9 minutes, and almost never commits a foul. She has 20 personal fouls, or one for every 14.55 minutes on the court.

Here are the foul numbers for each Lynx:

                                                   Fouls                   Avg. court time per foul                   

Erin Thorn                                 1                          96 minutes

Seimone Augustus                20                        14.55

Lindsay Whalen                      43                       12.46

Taj McWilliams-Franklin        43                       12.11

Maya Moore                              47                       11.47

Rebekka Brunson                  43                        10.48

Candice Wiggins                   43                          9.23

Monica Wright                         43                          8.90

Amber Harris                          18                          7.61

Jessica Adair                         17                          5.58

Devereaux Peters                  41                          4.90

Julie Wojta                                 2                         2.00

Devereaux Peters, a rookie post player, has the most trouble avoiding fouls. She commits one personal foul almost every five minutes. On the other extreme is little used guard Erin Thorn. She has one foul in almost 100 minutes, the equivalent of nearly 1-1/2 games.

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