Lynx coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve was sharply critical of the WNBA in her comments to the media before Sunday afternoon's game in Washington.
Reeve's frustration stems from an approximately 12-hour travel day Saturday, as the Lynx attempted to get from Indianapolis — where they played Friday night — to D.C. to play the Mystics to end a stretch in which the team played four times in six days, with a back-to-back thrown in. The day included travel headaches and, according to Reeve, complete silence from the league about the problems.
"I felt we deserved more respect than that,'' Reeve said. "And I felt I deserved more respect than that."
The problem started when the team's direct flight to Washington was canceled after the plane sat on the tarmac for 30 minutes. Then the team had to travel through Chicago, where difficulties forced the team to change airlines.
Ultimately, the Lynx didn't arrive in Washington until around midnight and the players didn't get to their hotels until 1 a.m.
Because WNBA teams still fly commercial, these problems happen. Reeve said she understands that. But she said she alerted the league when things started to go wrong — and again when things went further south — in the hopes an accommodation could be made, like moving the game to later in the day. Or, considering that both teams have multiple days off early this week, postponing the game to Monday.
At the very least, she expected some response. She said she received none.
"It was challenging and disappointing we were in that situation,'' Reeve said. "But probably the greater disappointment was the lack of support we felt in terms of the unresponsive messages to the league. There was no communication with the leadership of the Minnesota Lynx. That, to me, is an epic fail."
Reeve said she heard that the league contacted the Mystics but not the Lynx. The only responses the team received, Reeve said, were messages to assistant GM Clare Duwelius with suggestions for flights.
In his pregame availability, Mystics coach Mike Thibault seemed to dismiss the Lynx's travel concerns, saying travel problems go way back and that it would have been difficult to alter the scheduled game, considering the team was expecting a sellout because of Japanese Heritage Day.
Reeve said it wasn't until the team was finally on the flight to Washington from Chicago — after she had expressed her frustration with the league — that she started getting any kind of response from league leadership.
"But nothing with regard to what we thought would be acceptable,'' Reeve said. "I can't control how other people treat us, and what WNBA leadership thinks of us, or me.''