The Lynx have a tradition. In the team circle after a practice, when someone is celebrating a birthday, they are required to do a little dance while the players clap. And then that person has to run through a birthday spanking line.

It's a lot of fun. Unless you don't want to do it.

Which brings us to Wednesday's practice. After two days off the Lynx returned to start preparing for the WNBA finals, which start Sunday against the Los Angeles Sparks in Williams Arena.

It was a good practice. Very high intensity. "The energy felt great,'' Seimone Augustus said.


It was coach Cheryl Reeve's 51st birthday. So everyone knew the drill. The players clapping, Reeve obliged with a little step or two. But the spanking line? She wanted to part.

The players, led by Renee Montgomery, insisted. Reeve demurred. Then, with some negotiating going on, Reeve tried a trick play. She bolted through the players hoping to get through before anyone was ready.

Didn't work.

A nice way to get the week started. "I got through it,'' Reeve said.

OK, on to other stuff. Here are some things from today's workout:

--Reeve talked at some length about center Sylvia Fowles, who will have a huge impact on this finals series. The newly-minted league MVP, she will get all sorts of attention. But Reeve stated flatly that the team isn't about to change the way it's runs. Things will go through Fowles. "She knows how to handle multiple defensive scenarios,'' Reeve said of Fowles, whose game went to another level this season. "She's much more equipped for it. We're not going to change.''

--One must-see matchup of this series will be Alana Beard vs. Maya Moore. More is a key Lynx cog, and Beard is the 2017 WNBA defensive player of the year.

--On the flip side Rebekkah Brunson – who in may ways is the Lynx's version of Beard – will be matched up on Sparks star Candace Parker.

--Augustus on whether the Lynx are feeling pressure: "Nobody feels any pressure. We've been here before. We know what we have to do. It's a matter of doing it. And it felt good today.''