The Lynx are two days away from the season opener and coach Cheryl Reeve isn’t pleased.
She doesn’t feel her team, filled with new faces, has become connected as a group. She is disappointed in the way the team is responding when things don’t go well in practice.
After Thursday’s practice ended Reeve and co-captain Seimone Augustus spent a good while discussing how to change all that.
“I don’t know if it’s a case where we’re three weeks in training camp, that sort of thing,’’ Reeve said. “We still have a lot of work to do. We have some people thinking about themselves. Feeling sorry, maybe, for how they’re playing. Things like that. We can’t beat ourselves, and that was what we were seeing today.’’
That conversation with Augustus? A back-and-forth on what to do about it. Reeve said early in camp the veterans were doing a good job of being vocal when things didn’t go well. Lately, less so. “That’s probably because the captains (Augustus, Sylvia Fowles and Danielle Robinson) are thinking of how they’re playing,’’ Reeve said. “Seimone is able to help. I told her I need her, her leadership. That was the conversation.’’
Usually the player whose easy-going personality facilitates camaraderie, Reeve said Augustus can put her foot down when things aren’t going well on the court. “She has pride in the franchise and where she wants us to be this season,’’ Reeve said. “She has a mindset that she wants it to be better than when she started in 2006. She understands the teams we’ve had, for all those championships. She understands it’s not the same team. But she also knows we’re capable of winning and competing. For her, when that’s not happening, it’s a poke-the-bear sort of thing. When she gets upset, that’s good for us. She gets going and people follow her.’’
The biggest problems in practice? A lack of defense and rebounding as well as how players and the ream responds to mistakes. “How to stop the bleeding when things aren’t going your way,’’ Reeve said. “That takes time and maturity, things we don’t have yet as a group.’’
--Meanwhile Stephanie Talbot, acquired in a trade with Phoenix, had her first practice with the team Thursday.
Early impressions? “She plays hard,’’ Reeve said. “We saw that today. Made some shots, we ran some plays for her. She’s confident.’’
Her first two seasons with Phoenix Talbot – a 6-2 forward from Australia – started 32 of 65 games and proved herself an efficient three-point shooter. But, on a team that featured the trio of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner, there weren’t a lot of shots to be had.
That could change on a Minnesota team looking for players who can spread the floor.
“Phoenix is a great team, but they’re very much about the big three,’’ Talbot said. “I think this team, Minnesota, is looking for players to step up this season. So I’m hoping I can be that player.’’