Web Editorial Associate
It’s Friday, September 23rd and while four WNBA teams are gearing up for a win-or-go-home battle tomorrow evening, the Minnesota Lynx are enjoying a nice and well-deserved break.
The defending League Champions finished the regular season with a 28-6 record (a franchise best), securing them a ticket to the Semi-Finals and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Although some may argue that a nine-day rest period could interrupt team chemistry and rhythm heading into the post-season, Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve doesn’t really see a downside.
“We only see pros, we just talked with our team that, anytime you give these guys rest, it’s really good,” Reeve said. “So we were able to take three good days off, and then we’ve not done poorly when we’ve had practice time. We just have a veteran group that understands when it’s time to go. We’ll certainly do some things to prepare ourselves to stay sharp, we always create scrimmage situations with officials, anytime that we want to do that, it’s always worked well for us, so we don’t see any negatives to it.”
Even though the break is close to a week and a half long, that doesn’t mean the players will be ‘resting.’ The coaching staff and players were back in the gym on Wednesday ironing out play details, improving on any so-called weaknesses and tightening up their defense.
“I think you can look at how our Olympians played and that playing in terms of rhythm, there’s real value in that,” Reeve said. “Four weeks is really different than this situation, we’re essentially playing on the tenth day. So that’s really different because the break looks a lot different in terms of what you do and what we’re doing… we’re going to be practicing. We’re going to be doing game-like things where over the Olympic break you just don’t do a whole lot of that for probably about three weeks.”
With the Lynx starting unit averaging out to be 31.4 years young, all of the players, not just the starters, are doing their best to take advantage of their nine prep-days before their first playoff game.
“It was nice having some rest,” veteran guard Lindsay Whalen said. “I was, we all were, really tired after finishing with a back-to-back after a long season, Olympic year, finishing with a back-to-back, there wasn’t much sleep those last couple days, so to play and win both of those games was really great. It was nice to just get a couple of days to watch some football, hangout and rest, and now we’re back here with still a week to prepare, so it worked out pretty well for us.”
With the first round of single-elimination games having concluded on Wednesday, and the next round on Saturday, the players and coaching staff will be watching intently to see whom they’ll face on Sept. 28th.
“I think there’s real value in just kind of feeling the energy and intensity around the game as a reminder, scouting and I think it creates a scenario where your group is chomping at the bit to play,” Reeve said. “By the time we get there, they’re going to be amped, so there’s not going to be any trying to help them get hyped to play the game.”
Minnesota will face either the: Atlanta Dream, Phoenix Mercury or Chicago Sky inside the Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday, Sept. 28th at 7 p.m.
Oh, and in case you think the lack of competitive games will cause the team to get a little rusty… think again.
“We’re not going to get rusty,” Sylvia Fowles chuckled. “We’re just staying focused, paying attention to detail, and doing the stuff that we haven’t don’t since training camp and that’s getting back to the basics.”