Final preparation for WNBA Finals can begin

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 12, 2012 - 7:23 AM
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Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen drove to the basket past Los Angeles' Jenna O'Hea.

Photo: Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

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Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said her team got back to worrying about itself -- "which we haven't done in a very long time" -- during two midweek practices while its opponent for the WNBA Finals was still unknown.

"We will have two days to get ready for whoever the opponent is," Reeve said Thursday before Indiana defeated Connecticut in the deciding third game of the Eastern Conference finals.

The extra rest this week, Reeve said, has especially helped players such as guard Lindsay Whalen, who has a bone bruise on her left wrist, and center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who turns 42 on Oct. 20.

Reeve said Whalen is fully involved in practices. "The only time that she missed action [parts of two quarters] was the night that it happened against Seattle," Reeve said, referring to the third game of the Western Conference semifinals. "Other than that she has been a part of everything."

Following same script

So far the Lynx's 2012 season has mirrored 2011. Both teams went 27-7 during the regular season, won the first playoff series in three games, the second in two.

"There are some similarities, for sure, in the way we win our games," Reeve said. "We like to be gritty. We like to be a team, with five minutes to go, that executes whether it be on offense or on defense getting stops.

"We won two games [in the playoffs], getting a stop at the end, which we really like," Reeve said.

The Lynx beat the Storm 73-72 in the third game of the first series and Los Angeles 80-79 in the deciding second game of the conference finals. Both times the opponent missed a last-second shot from near the right baseline.

"But there are certainly differences [this year]," Reeve said. "There is no question this journey was harder than last year. Because when you have expectations, that ratchets things up another notch. Fulfilling those expectations was extremely hard, even though at times this group made it look easy."

Etc.

• Reeve on her team not playing a game in six days: "In the WNBA, we just don't believe in the rust thing."

• Both levels of Target Center will be open for Sunday's Game 1. Tickets are selling well, but seats are still available for the lower bowl. A year ago, the Lynx's two home games against Atlanta in the WNBA Finals both drew more than 15,000 fans.

• WNBA President Laurel Ritchie will be at Target Center for Game 1. The All-WNBA teams are expected to be announced sometime early next week. The Lynx have been shut out on all postseason awards this year, except for the Peak Performer award that Whalen received for leading the league with 5.39 assists per game.

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