Lynx finally have a healthy starting five

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 25, 2014 - 1:28 AM

The Lynx coach has her entire starting five healthy for the first time this season.

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Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx is surrounded by teammates, from left, Rebekkah Brunson, Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore during the WNBA Finals last fall.

At one point during practice Thursday, it really hit Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve.

Everybody was there. The band, as Janel McCarville likes to say, was back together. It was a moment with impact, a moment the Lynx have been waiting months for.

“I had to do a double take,” Reeve said. “Wait. I have my first five out there. It’s kind of cool.”

Seimone Augustus, who has missed the past eight games and nine overall because of knee bursitis, was back at practice and is probable for Friday’s game with San Antonio.

With her on the floor was Rebekkah Brunson, fresh off a 17-point, 12-rebound performance in her first game of the season, plus McCarville, Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore.

Get ready for a stretch run.

“It’s scary to see this team come together right when it needs to come together,” Augustus said, “pushing it to the last 10 games of the season and into the playoffs.”

Augustus was having one of her best seasons in years when the pain ultimately pushed her out of the lineup. Her 17.2 scoring average and 52.6 percent shooting are her highest in five years.

“This is by far the most frustrating situation I’ve been in,” Augustus said. “I’m excited to be back on the floor, be there with my teammates and pull through some wins.”

But the team Augustus is rejoining is different from the one she left. Top reserves Monica Wright and Devereaux Peters, out early in the season following knee surgeries, are back in top form. Brunson doesn’t appear to have missed a beat after returning from her knee surgery.

Augustus knows she has to, in a sense, relearn how to play with this group. Reeve said she thinks Augustus’ return will only make everyone — including Maya Moore, who is averaging nearly 30 points a game in July — better.

“It’s the Batman-and-Robin thing,” she said, referring to Moore and Augustus. “They’re better together, for sure. It’s Jordan-Pippen.”

With another threat on the floor, Moore might see fewer double teams. Conversely, Augustus might have more opportunity with teams conspiring to slow down Moore. Lindsay Whalen will have another threat to pass to and might not have to attack the rim as much as she has this summer.

Despite the injuries, the Lynx are 18-6. They trail Phoenix (19-3) by two games in the Western Conference. But there are still two games left between the teams, including one at Target Center on July 31. Because there are two more games before that showdown, Reeve was in no mood to discuss the Mercury. But when Augustus was in Phoenix for last weekend’s All Star Game, she said she heard a lot about next Friday’s game from Phoenix fans eager to see the Mercury test itself against a fully healthy Lynx team.

“They said that’s what they wanted,” Augustus said. “We’re back [healthy]. So I can’t wait to see ’em.”

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