Cheryl Reeve was quick to give Phoenix all the credit in the world after tonight’s victory. She said the Mercury players played great (they did), they’d had a great season (they have) and that Diana Taurasi was one of the best players in the world (she is).
But she is not ready to cede the balance of power in the Western Conference to Phoenix for the long term.
The Lynx overcame a number of injuries this season, both at the start of the season, when three of their top seven players were recovering from surgery, and at mid-season when Seimone Augustus had knee problems.
She feels that next year, with a healthy team from start to finish, the Lynx will be in the mix going forward.
“They won it this year, we won it last year,” Reeve said. “We were in the finals three straight years. I don’t think because we’re not in the finals that there is a sea change. I think Phoenix had an unbelievable season, record-setting. …. This has been Phoenix’s season.’’
Here are some thoughts on the Lynx’s final game this season:
--To give you an idea how well the Mercury played on defense tonight, consider that the Lynx shot nearly 50 percent through three quarters, out-rebounded the Mercury and had fewer turnovers. And they trailed by five points.
--Janel McCarville really struggled to guard Brittney Griner in this series. This is something the Lynx are going to have to figure out going forward, because Griner isn’t going anywhere.
--It will be very important for Rebekkah Brunson, Monica Wright and Devereaux Peters to, somehow, get back to 100 percent by next season. All three, who had preseason knee surgery, struggled at times in this series. I don’t think Wright or Brunson ever got back to the level they played at last season.
There won’t be a lot of rest for the team’s Big Three. I would expect Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Augustus to be on the U.S. Team. Then there will be the European season. Here’s hoping everybody stays healthy.
That’s about it for now.