The gym was empty when Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve and team captains appeared out of a meeting room Tuesday afternoon at Mayo Clinic Square. Guard Seimone Augustus wasn't sure how much time had passed but knew it was enough that they had missed practice.
The four captains — Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson and Maya Moore — spent more than three hours meeting with Reeve while the rest of the team practiced. The Lynx, the WNBA's top team, face the Washington Mystics on Wednesday hoping to reverse a Sunday loss at Washington.
"I can't really talk about what we talked about in the meeting, but it was much-needed and I think it's going to help catapult us to where we need to go," Augustus said.
The Lynx lead the Western Conference by 2½ games and have the league's best record at 18-7, leading the WNBA with the most double-digit come-from-behind victories. They added to this stat by overcoming an 11-point deficit at San Antonio last Tuesday and a 16-point deficit on the road against Atlanta Friday. Then they lost for the third time in six games at Washington on Sunday.
The letdown didn't sit well with Reeve, who didn't speak to the media on Tuesday, and her staff.
"Another trend for us is we've been getting down double-digits," assistant coach Jim Petersen said. "We're leading the league right now in double-digit comebacks. Well, we don't want to do that. … We want to be able to build double-digit leads and sustain them, which is what we've typically done.
"To let down in Washington was very, very disappointing for Coach Reeve and our whole staff. … Cheryl [was] meeting with the captains to make sure that they understand that we are approaching the home stretch. That these are all playoff games going down the home stretch. … The playoffs have started for us as a coaching staff in terms of what we expect from our players and how we prepare for each game."
With the increased expectations in place, the captains stuck around for their own midafternoon workout Tuesday. With Augustus back in the lineup the Lynx hope they won't have to rely on Whalen or Moore to carry the load. Augustus, though, has scored just 10 points while making five of 23 shots in two games since missing three weeks following arthroscopic surgery on her right knee. Moore was named the Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 26.7 points over three games during Aug. 10-16.
"We're just narrowing our focus and just emphasizing our discipline we need to have if we want to be able to win for more than one quarter at a time," Moore said. "We want to put together full games. Just getting back to the basics is something I think will help us more [going] forward.
"This is the time of the year we want to be able to build momentum going into the end of the regular season and that's going to start with the captains."