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Continued: Lynx, with three Olympians, expect to show they are still WNBA's best

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 1, 2013 - 12:30 AM

But for this group, there is no time like the present.

“We are three years from when we started this thing [with Moore, Whalen and Augustus as the team’s core],” Reeve said. “We have a few legs that are a little older. Whalen’s feeling things, Brunson is feeling things.”

Like, perhaps, a sense of urgency?

“We always have a sense of urgency,” Whalen said.

“You can’t look too far into the future. But, at the same time, you want to get down what you want to get done, and do it this season.”

Said Augustus: “I can’t say if the window will be five years or however long. But we are going to take advantage of the opportunity we have here, this year. We came in, we’re healthy. So let’s take advantage of it.”

A new path

No matter what happens, this season will look different, Reeve said.

Last season, coming off a title, it seemed a surprise every time the Lynx lost. This year the competition will be more fierce. There is a reason everyone is picking Phoenix to win it all, with Griner joined by a healthy Taurasi, Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree. There is L.A.’s trio of Candace Parker, Kristi Toliver and Lindsey Harding.

As recently as this week the Lynx were trying to find what Reeve called “their identity.” And part of the problem has been McWilliams-Franklin’s absence.

“Last year, we were able to kind of seamlessly move into the season because she was so steady,” Reeve said. “The little things got done. If they didn’t come off a screen right she was going to tell ’em. … Right now [what] I’ve learned is that has to come from me.’’

Add to that McCarville, whose assimilation into the Lynx system was slowed by injury, and a schedule that includes two games against both L.A. and Phoenix and another two against improved Tulsa in the first month. A run for the championship is still expected, but …

“We’ve had the second-best two-year run in league history — 27 [victories] each year,” Reeve said. “We’ve got to make sure that we’re grounded and understand that 27 wins is not our barometer. L.A. is better. Phoenix is better. Tulsa is better. This is a new year, a new time. But the goal remains the same.”

Even if they won’t be atop the league marquee — at least to start.

“Last year, going into the season, they were the clear-cut favorites to repeat from Day 1,” said ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo, who admitted to hearing from Reeve after predicting a Phoenix-L.A.-Minnesota finish in the West the night of the draft.

“This year they can kind of embrace the underdog role because a lot of people are picking Phoenix to win the West and maybe the championship. But, if they can stay healthy, [the Lynx] have championship experience, they’ve got a great coach and they’ll be in the hunt.”







 

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