After a week’s worth of preparation, including another crisp practice Thursday, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said everybody is ready to stop practicing and start playing.
“There are always things you can work on,” she said. “But you get to a point where it is time to go play, and not overthink things. Both teams are working really hard to take away one another’s identity. We know what they’re working on, I’m sure they know what we’re working on. There won’t be any secrets.’’
--The one striking thing about the Lynx and the Sparks is how both teams have had to handle similar problems. Brian Agler, in his first year coaching the Sparks, was without a bunch of players for much of the season. Forward Candace Parker sat out the first half of the season resting. Guard Kristi Toliver missed the start of the season while playing for the Slovakian team. G Alana Beard missed many games with plantar fasciitis and F Nneka Ogwumike missed several games with an ankle injury.
The Lynx, of course, were without Seimone Augustus for much of the season, didn’t have G Lindsay Whalen at the end of the year and had to deal with the mid-season additions of Sylvia Fowles, Anna Cruz and Renee Montgomery.
“We’ve gone through as much change as they have,” Reeve said. “Brian, in the trenches with his team, had to learn them, where to put ‘em in certain situations. When we got Renee and Sylvia we had a different lineup. I had to learn about where to put people. So we’ve both gone through similar challenges.’’
--Both Whalen and Augustus made through the whole week of practices. Of the two, it would appear Whalen is closest to mid-season form. And that’s not surprising, considering she only missed a handful of games at the end of the season with her Achilles strain.
Reeve admitted that Augustus, out since Aug. 19 with a left mid-foot sprain, has not knocked off the rust in practice this week. “I think every game we have a chance to play, she’ll get better and better,” Reeve said. “I think she’s worked really hard not to be rusty, but there is no way you can sit out that long and not have that element of being a little off.’’
That’s it for now. I’ll get back to you after shootaround tomorrow.