The Lynx were without assistant coaches Plenette Pierson and Rebekkah Brunson for Thursday's playoff victory over Phoenix. Both have left the WNBA's bubble in the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and will not return this season.

It was a death in the family that caused Pierson to leave. In Brunson's case it was a previously arranged departure. A parent, wife and business owner, she was never going to stay the whole season there.

So, as the Lynx prepare for their semifinal series with Seattle, it will be Reeve and lead assistant Katie Smith the rest of the way.

"Both of them will be supporting us from afar," Reeve said of Pierson and Brunson, who will continue to contribute and communicate with the coaches and players. "Katie and I are here in person, with Plenette and Rebekkah supporting. They're still involved, just remotely."

They're not the only ones offering remote support. When Reeve got back to her room after Thursday's victory there was a bottle of champagne waiting for her, along with a note congratulating her on winning WNBA Coach of the Year. It was from Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders.