"The biggest thing with this team," second-year Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said, "is we have really good people. And if you watch when we play, I am enjoying coaching them, they are enjoying playing and we work hard. When you work hard, good things happen to you."
A lot of good things have happened to the Lynx so far. Here is a brief list:
* Their 11-4 record is the best in franchise history through 15 games. Even if they go 9-10, or just under .500 in their last 19 games, they would finish the regular season with a 20-14 record. Eighteen games is the most the Lynx have ever won in the regular season before.
* Four Lynx were named to the all-star, the previous team record was two.
* Rebekkah Brunson was named the WNBA's player of the month in June and the Western Conference player of the week twice. Seimone Augustus has been player of the week once.
* Streak-busters. The Lynx ended Seattle's 22-game home winning streak, Indiana's seven-game winning streak and Phoenix's six-game winning streak. Then there was Los Angeles' eight-game winning streak over the Lynx. That ended in the second game of the season.
"They have embraced so much of what we are doing," Reeve said. "You can tell they really like each other. I enjoyed seeing the pictures from the all-star game, seeing those guys. It is a genuine like for one another. It is a genuine chemistry.
"It has been a lot of fun. We have been fun to watch. We have been fun for the fans. But internally, every day that we are around one another, it is something that we are really enjoying."
On Taj McWilliams-Franklin's big first quarter against Los Angeles in the last game: "Taj is my best screener and she loves the pick and roll," Reeve said. "Her and [Lindsay] Whalen have been doing it for a long time. Those two did a nice job connecting with one another."
On holding leads better: "They kind of got tired of that in the beginning. Having a big lead and in the fourth quarter a team coming back on us. So they have really put a lot of focus on the idea of trying to maintain a lead. ... They have been pretty focused about what we have to do to finish off games."
DEFENSE BEING STRESSED
McWilliams-Franklin, asked if this team has a special bond: "I don't know. It feels the same to me. But I am always very friendly and happy all the time anyway. I don't know the inner workings of what they did last year and what the difference is now. But I am always having fun.
"We are playing basketball. It is exciting for me whether we win or lose. New personalities, new things for me."
The 40-year-old center said she is pleased how the Lynx are playing. "Individually, I do whatever coach asks me to do," McWilliams-Franklin said. "Shooting, posting up, rebounding, defense, whatever it is I try to do it. I am OK. I am not too focused on anything offensively because we have enough people who can score and will score.
"It is just about defense for me and what I can do defensively to help the team."
McWilliams-Franklin said coach Reeve from the start of training camp said the Lynx are going to be about defense. "Which is something she told me when she asked me to come her," McWilliams-Franklin said. "And she followed through with that. The whole coaching staff understands and is teaching preaching about the defensive aspect of the game.
"And when you focus on defense, it turns into great opportunities on the court. When we defend and we get the ball and run, you have scorers at every position, it is going to be fun. It is going to be fast breaks. It is going to be 17 turnovers. I don't think that is the norm for us, but I hope we realize our potentially defensively than our offensive potential.
"Some teams, if they don't play well on offense, they don't play well on defense. And we have to switch that mentality to be: if we don't play well on offense, you are not scoring against us either. So we are both going to have problems.
"And as we move along in the season, people are getting that mindset in."
Asked about the tough schedule ahead, starting with Seattle on Friday, followed by San Antonio and Phoenix, McWilliams-Franklin said, "For us, it is a way to test our mettle. It is going to be a tuning rod for us to see if we can string together consecutive good games. Great opponents, Seattle, Phoenix, San Antonio. All of them are great opponents and we need those games to keep our standing at the top.
"If we want to do anything in this league, we have to go though the Phoenixes, the San Antonios and Seattle, the Seattle Storm are the defending champs. So everything goes through them, no matter what their record is. And for us, this team wants to make noise as we go further and further along in the season, we have to beat those teams. And we have to put together strings of wins against teams of that caliber."
MORE PLAYERS' VIEWS
* Seimone Augustus after L.A. win: "[Tuesday] it was kind of up and down. We were up 20 and then we let them back in. This was an up and down game for us emotionally, energy-wise, play-wise. We were stagnant at times on the offense. But defensively we were consistent. That's a plus."
Augustus on L.A.'s 27 turnovers: "We had people in the passing lanes, we were getting deflections. The help side was there. It was just tough for them all night to get the ball where they wanted it to go."
* Lindsay Whalen on team's success: "Hopefully we can keep this thing going."