Seimone Augustus has been with the Lynx for much of the last decade and kept it short and sweet at practice Tuesday afternoon.
Yes. Minnesota has a glutton of playoff experience as it takes aim at back-to-back titles. Yes. A majority of the current roster has been to the finals in three straight seasons. Yes. The Lynx took home their second title in three years last season with an unblemished record throughout the playoffs.
Those things considered, as the team preps for its best-of-three first-round series with the San Antonio Stars, it boasts an understandable amount of swagger.
Augustus, however, made it clear that amid that success, there is still one thing the Lynx havent accomplished.
Weve never defended a title, she said.
And shes absolutely right. Though this has been one of the most dominant stretches in WNBA history, the team hast yet to win back-to-back titles. In its only attempt to do so two years ago, the Indiana Fever clobbered Minnesota en route to a 3-1 series win.
A couple years later the Lynx have another prime opportunity to repeat as the 2014 Lynx Playoffs, presented by Medica, officially tip off Thursday night at Target Center.
Its all kind of coming together again, Augustus said. Weve won a title and now were in a position again to and defend a title.
Though the pressure will be amplified throughout this particular run through the playoffs, Minnesota also possesses an unprecedented amount of experience across its veteran-laced roster.
That experience is huge, Maya Moore said. We want to make sure were all jelling at this point in the season and having been to this point in the season a few times really helps us. We know we have to walk the walk now and knowing weve done it so many times, I think, it naturally gives us a confidence in each other.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said shes noticed a comfort level across the team with the playoffs a couple days away. Her players brought an added intensity to practice, she said, but it never felt like they were pressing, trying to do too much.
Its really helpful to have players that have been there, Reeve said. It really, really helps the players that haven't been there and its fun to see all the experience and laugh about some of the past stories and things that weve gone through during our previous title runs. There really is no substitute for experience.
Minnesota also has health on its side something that couldnt be said for most of the season. Lynx players dropped like flies throughout the regular season slate and the team has only been at full strength for a little less than a month.
Those injuries seem to be a nonissue at the moment, though. Augustus had a great practice Tuesday afternoon and Rebekkah Brunson appears at 100 percent after she missed more than half the season as she recovered from knee surgery.
It cant get no worse than what its been like this year with everyone in and out of the lineup, Augustus said. I think the only thing thats been consistent for us this year is Maya and Lindsay playing well and keeping us together. Were just looking forward to a healthy team being there and being together.
Moore, who has had an MVP caliber season to say the least, said shes just excited to get the postseason underway, adding the team is definitely more battle tested at this point compared to last season.
That gives us a lot of confidence going into any situation because we know we can overcome it, Moore said. We know that every moment is precious, especially right now with the season close to being over, so were definitely going to enjoy it and put in as much as we can from now until the season is over.
As far as the chance at back-to-back titles?
Itll come down to what weve learned and the experience weve gained over the last three years, Augustus said. Thats going to be the difference that helps us do something that hasnt been done in a long time in our league. And that is defend a title.
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