The Lynx hope to use their loss to Indiana in last year’s WNBA Finals as motivation in the playoffs.
One year later, the situation seems so similar, but the feelings are so different — at least for Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve.
A year ago her team was trying to defend a WNBA title. This year they’re trying to reclaim it.
Big, big difference.
When this season began, the Lynx talked about the motivation of trying to make up for last season’s loss to Indiana in the WNBA Finals.
As the season progressed, those thoughts got pushed to the background. But not long after the Lynx clinched the top playoff seed with a victory over Chicago in the regular-season finale on Saturday, all those emotions came back.
“To fall short of something we worked really hard for, to basically have a team take it from us,” Reeve said, “those feelings are kind of back. I think this is a group that will draw on those feelings. And it will be positive for us.”
The Lynx begin their quest for a second title in three seasons in the Western Conference semifinals against Seattle, a best-of-three series that starts Friday at Target Center.
Nobody is looking past Seattle. And nobody was about to start talking about the WNBA Finals. Not yet. But there is a general consensus that the team let something slip through its fingers a year ago.
“You use it as motivation, of course,” guard Lindsay Whalen said. “But I think we’ve done that all season. This team has been really focused and prepared, and the feelings from last year fed into that.”
Reeve said she’s eager to get the playoffs started, to see if the lessons from last year carried over.
“We felt in the playoffs there were things we could have done better,” she said. “Mostly in two areas. One, being more unfazed by some of the adversity you face in the games. And two, making sure that our passion is greater than our opponent’s at all times.”
The Lynx are coming off their third consecutive season with the league’s best record.
Minnesota set a franchise record for shooting percentage (47.4) while leading the league in scoring.
The team was third in scoring defense and rebounding, using both to lead the WNBA in fast-break scoring.
Now that focus needs to be carried into the postseason.
Reeve is happy with her starters but has been thinking of tweaking her rotation. Reeve said the bench could be a key in a playoff run, and is looking to put top backup Monica Wright in better position to succeed by asking her to play less at point guard.
But, overall, the main focus of preparation has been just that: focus.
“I think, for [the team], there is that feeling of being pretty hungry,” Reeve said.
|Minnesota||26||4th Qtr 0:04|
|Miami||34||4th Qtr 0:01|
|Cleveland||26||4th Qtr 1:29|
|Tennessee||13||1st Qtr 7:01|
|St. Louis||3:25 PM|
|NY Giants||3:25 PM|
|Dallas||12/9/13 7:40 PM|
|San Diego||12/12/13 7:25 PM|
|San Jose||5:00 PM|
|SW Oklahoma St||55||FINAL|
|Illinois||59||2nd Half 12:28|
|Washington||33||2nd Half 12:54|
|San Diego St||39|
|Maryland||22||1st Half 5:00|
|Ark-Pine Bluff||4:00 PM|
|TX-Permian Basin||4:30 PM|
|Jacksonville St||5:00 PM|
|Boston College||6:00 PM|
|Seton Hall||7:00 PM|
|Eastern Wash||7:30 PM|
|(13) Oklahoma State||24|
|(16) Arizona State||14|
|(1) Florida State||45|
|(7) Ohio State||24||FINAL|
|(4) Michigan State||34|
|(21) Fresno State||24|
|Army||12/14/13 2:00 PM|
|(10) Penn State||77||FINAL|
|Central Conn St||82||FINAL|
|(12) South Carolina||76||FINAL|
|Colorado State||52||2nd Half 15:53|
|Bradley||35||2nd Half 11:36|
|Evansville||62||2nd Half 11:25|
|Houston||30||2nd Half 12:15|
|Cal State Fullerton||39||2nd Half 9:00|
|(20) Iowa State||54|
|TX-Pan American||39||2nd Half 13:43|
|Stephen F Austin||55||2nd Half 15:02|
|North Dakota||37||2nd Half 12:13|
|Utah State||44||2nd Half 16:03|
|Morgan State||5||1st Half 14:14|
|(2) Duke||18||1st Half 10:23|
|Long Beach St||3:25 PM|
|Loyola-New Orleans||4:00 PM|
|Santa Clara||4:00 PM|
|Boise State||4:00 PM|