On the third day of training camp, for the first time, the Lynx went against a live defense, did some scrimmaging, showing coach Cheryl Reeve how much of the offense they had assimilated so far.
Mixed results. “We put defense on stuff and didn’t look very good today,’’ Reeve said. “Today was an illuminating day.’’
But not necessarily surprising.
Reeve was looking to see who responded well when things got difficult. Especially among the young players and new faces. “Who can improvise when something is taken away?’’ Reeve said. “Who knows stuff, who will respond to adversity. We had some game-like situations today.’’
Reeve is doing things a bit differently this season. There have been camps where she has gradually installed this offense. This year she has dumped a bunch of plays on them early.
“I’ve overwhelmed them,’’ she said. “I think we have 15 things in. Today, Day 3, I wanted to see how they’d execute those 15 things. They knew the plays, that’s the big thing.’’
Here are some notes from today’s workout:
--Reeve singled out rookie guard Carlie Wagner as one of the young players who responded well to the challenge of the first real scrimmages.
--With Maya Moore not yet at camp, Reeve looked at both Breanna Richardson and Camille Zimmerman at the small forward spot. But she also did a lot with three-guard sets, something she things will be a big part of the team’s offense this season.
Not surprising. Along with starters Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen, the Lynx have top backups in Tanisha Wright and Danielle Robinson and second-year guard Alexis Jones. Reeve looked a lot at a set that included Wright, Robinson and Jones, with Augustus at the small forward spot.
--Reeve said she was pleasantly surprised at how agile new backup post player Lynetta Kizer is on the defensive end. On offense Kizer, who has a good outside shot, is a stretch-big who can put pressure on a defense. On the other end, Reeve is starting to think Kizer will be able to play defend both centers and power forwards, depending on the opponent.
“On the offensive end, if they put a four on her, she can carve out space on the block,’’ Reeve said. “She’s very skilled down there.’’
--The Lynx announced today that, due to demand, the upper bowl of Target Center has been opened for ticket sales for the team’s regular season opener against Los Angeles May 20, a rematch of the last two WNBA finals.
It will be the team’s first game in Target Center since the end of the 2016 finals; while Target Center was being remodeled, the Lynx played their regular season games at Xcel Energy Center before moving to Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus for the playoffs.
Last year’s home opener drew just under 10,000 fans. Reeve things this year’s crowd will be bigger. Indeed, she’s hoping the game sells out.
“With 20 days to go we’re probably ahead of the game from last year,’’ Reeve said. “It’s fun to see our fans continue to support us as we come back to Target Center. The opponent might have something to do with that. I think that game, with the ring presentation, the banner raising, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be selling out the game.’’