Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve led a Western Conference All-Star team that featured four of her players to a victory last weekend, and she has her Lynx once again atop the WNBA with the best record in the league (18-2) heading into Sunday’s home game against Seattle. She chatted recently with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand.
Q You were on Twitter earlier in the week being critical of the local media in Minnesota for not being at the WNBA All-Star Game in Seattle. What was it about that in particular that led you to tweet about it?
A There was coverage leading into the All-Star Game, so there wasn’t zero coverage. But we did not have, aside from Charles Hallman of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, a presence from our major outlets. I’m sure if there was an all-star game that had four starters, we would have had some sort of presence if it was a men’s sport. I think it’s unfair, to be honest, that there wasn’t some level of commitment to bringing the news back to our fans. We’ve got a tremendous fan base, and they deserve better coverage. I’m big on, “When you see something, say something.” Media here is quick to remind me that coverage here is better than anywhere else, but that’s not my standard. My standard is that women’s sports deserve more coverage. … I’m appreciative of a lot of the work that’s been done. I just want to raise the bar. The most important thing I want people to know is that I’m not saying people are more interested in women’s sports than men’s sports. I’m saying “and.”
Q We’ve always known you as an outspoken advocate of women’s basketball and social justice. Have you always had that voice, or did you find it along the way in your career?
A I think I probably more grew into that. I’ve always used my voice, but maybe not always for these same issues. I’ve always been outspoken and had an opinion. My dad always shared that with me. What I’ve learned is how to use that voice, and I feel like I have a tremendous amount of responsibility as a head coach and a leader.
Q The Lynx have the league’s best record — again. Does it get harder or easier to stay on top as the years go by?
A I think the simple answer is it is harder. It’s harder because from 2011 until now, we’ve seen 11 other teams get better, adding better players. … We’ve seen the talent gap close. There are only 12 teams. That’s why I think it’s significant what this team is doing. It would be easy for these guys to say, “We’ve had the limelight and our share.” It would be easy to soften to it. But when you’re around these players, they grow in their passion and get even more interested in accomplishing things. It is just unheard of.
Q They might as well rename the Western Conference player of the week award the Sylvia Fowles Award this year. She’s having what has to be considered the best season of a very good career. How do you explain this season she’s having?
A I think it’s maturity. That’s what you’re seeing from Syl. She had a tremendous résumé coming into the season, like you said, but there’s just this recognition for her as a player this year that there’s even more she can accomplish as a player. She knows she doesn’t have to do spectacular things, she just has to be patient.