Last season didnt end exactly how the Minnesota Lynx envisionedthe defending champions fell just short of a second straight title after running into a determined Indiana squad. Seven months and overseas regular seasons separate the Lynx from that WNBA Finals defeat, but the sentiment isnt far from their minds.
The Lynx are hungry, and they havent forgotten what that loss felt like. As they returned to start Training Camp on Sunday, that message was clear for both the returning players and the new faces alike.
It still lingers, but at what point do you just fold it up and put it away? coach Cheryl Reeve said. That usually comes around January in our league that you start looking to personnel decisions and that sort of thing and move forward. But I have to tell you, getting everyone back and kind of starting again, like Maya [Moore] that was one of the first things she said. We have a bad taste in our mouths.
Moore said that to the group on Sunday, conveying the team did everything they needed to last season to put the Lynx in position to win another championship. But they didnt finish the job, and that needs to be taken into account as they head into 2013.
Minnesota rebooted on Sunday, if you will, getting under way with new practice uniforms, new faces and some new drills. Of the 15 players invited to camp vying for the 11 available spots on the final roster, 12 were present and in uniform. Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson are still en route from their offseason schedules, and Reeve said both should be back on the court by May 12 at the latest. Guard Lindsay Whalen was also not present due to illness.
The rest of the group dove in head-first, getting acquainted with the playbook, half court sets and the style of play the Lynx require out of their players.
That includes the intensity and the mindset, which was established on Day 1.
Everybody feels itexpectations are high, said center Janel McCarville, who came over via trade this offseason. And with high expectations come a lot.
Moore and Reeve agreed holding onto that feeling left by last seasons run to the finals isnt necessarily a bad thing. Its a way to establish what went right and what needs to be worked on heading into 2013.
Its absolutely a motivating factor, Moore said. To be the best team all year and not take care of what we needed to in the Finals, losing to a really good Indiana teamthats not taking away anything away from the way they played in the finals. It was unbelievable, the best Ive seen them play. It was a great performance by their team. But for some reason, we couldnt put it together. We have to take that, that emotion, that feeling, and put it into pushing us every day. Not only work hard, but get all those details right and add to our team.
Reeve loves that attitude out of her team.
I told them Im going to go home as one of the giddiest coaches in the league, because I dont have to coach effort, Reeve said. When you dont have to coach effort, basketball is a lot of fun and coaching is a lot of fun.
The Lynx have seven new faces in camp this year: Janel McCarville, the teams 2013 WNBA draftees Lindsey Moore, TaShauna Rodgers and Janeesa Jeffery, signees Rachel Jarry and Jacki Gemelos and training camp invitee Shawnice Wilson.
Guard Monica Wright on the Lynx in 2013: Our goals dont really change. Every year we want to be the best team in the WNBA. Of course, left a bad taste in our mouths. But like always were going to come in here fresh. Its a new season, and were going to just try to get better.
McCarville on the rookies on Day 1: Some of them were deer in headlights at times, but thats to be expected.
McCarville, who has been in town working for weeks with Whalen to get acquainted with the Lynx playbook, said the biggest difference on Day 1 of camp was not facing the male practice squad. We actually have all women nowthis is actually going to be game-like. Most of the girls here are going to be on our final roster. So getting acclimated with each other, building a little chemistry.
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