Practice Report | Adjusting To Tough Love Coaching, Don’t Sleep On The Storm

After a big win to start off their season the Lynx are starting to get down into the nitty gritty of making sure the rest of the season goes just as well as Saturday did.

That process comes with a few bumps, including today’s practice where head coach Cheryl Reeve had to say the same things a few too many times for her liking. Though Reeve didn’t sound too upset afterwards, Sylvia Fowles was brutally honest.

“We had some difficulties,” she said. “Coach had to repeat herself quite often today and that’s a negative going into a game. Not being able to pay attention to detail is always hurtful. Just making sure we come out focused. I think the girls are a little bit too relaxed and they have to understand that one game is not enough.”

The early part of the season is a learning experience and Reeve understands that. It’s not that the team isn’t doing well, it’s that they can always be doing better. First and foremost is that the team needs to make sure they are always playing together and for one another and not getting too caught up in individual performances.

“It’s just execution. We have people that are too quick to get into their own feelings, I think that’s probably the biggest problem. When we’re aware of our teammates we’re a much better team,” said Reeve. “It has nothing to do with being young in my opinion.”

There is a little adjustment for some players new to the Lynx to playing with Reeve. She can be harsh, but she’s also reasonable and only expects from her players things that they’re able to do. The biggest thing Reeve wants is focus and a good attitude.

“It’s about how you respond. Go out there and do what she asks, play a little harder, get some deflections and she’ll be alright. That’s something they have to understand I don’t think they’re used to having a coach that’s very expressive like Cheryl, and that’s something that they’re going to have to get used to,” said Fowles.

A Brewing Storm 

The Storm are without their two marquee players in Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, but they are nevertheless not to be overlooked. Jewell Loyd and Natasha Howard look extremely good, and Jordin Canada is stepping up as the team’s point guard.

“They clearly are playing in a way to say ‘Don’t forget, we’re still a good team without Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird.’ Natasha Howard is more than happy to take on the extra responsibility offensively, and Jordin Canada is a very capable point guard,” said Reeve.

Fowles said that there were a few players on the Storm that had taken on smaller roles to help the team win, but who are still capable of playing bigger minutes and taking on more responsibility.

“They got a lot of players that are stepping up,” said Fowles. “You just have to be aware of those players who were roll players but now are the lead players. You’ve got to bring it and you’ve got to understand what they do and pay attention to the details.”

Quick Hits

  • Reeve and Fowles both said there haven’t been any ego problems with Napheesa Collier and Jessica Shepard playing so well in their first game. Both are level-headed and continue to do the right things.
  • Karima Christmas-Kelly is still not 100 percent and the team is taking it slow with her—it’s not about getting her into game action as soon as possible. The team’s focus is making sure her knee responds well to practice and is fully healthy.
  • Seimone Augustus didn’t do much at practice on Tuesday and is out for Wednesday’s game.
  • Assistant coach Plenette Pierson held court with the players after practice. Pierson is a valuable bridge between players and coaches because she is more recently removed from playing in the league herself.