Practice Report | Offseason Work Paying Off Early For Lynx

Mitchell Hansen
Web Editorial Associate

When the Minnesota Lynx players departed after the conclusion of the 2016 WNBA season, Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve and her coaching staff focused on what improvements their players should make in the offseason.

The main focus for the Lynx was improving their shooting from a season ago. As the 2017 season quickly approaches, Reeve has noticed the offseason work paying off for her team.

“We had a few players that we kind of targeted to say we’d like them to really buy into the use of our shooting aid. Lindsay (Whalen) was here, Rebekkah (Brunson) was here, Seimone (Augustus) was here (in Minnesota) throughout the offseason,” Reeve said following Wednesday’s practice. “We basically said any little bit that we can do to get better, if that means we go from a 45 percent to a 47 or 48 percent shooter, we’re better. And if everyone has that mindset, then it’s good for the team. Like always, they are all receptive.”

Perhaps the biggest, most notable improvement came with Brunson and the higher arc she has on her shot this season.

“I would say that her’s is probably the most drastic change that I can tell,” Reeve said. “She probably didn’t get as much training on it in our drills when she left and when I had Lindsay and Seimone at times, we really harped on it. We incorporated it into all of our drill work. Brunson went away (to play overseas), but she had a mindset whenever she came back. She’s just one of those players, old dogs can learn a new trick.”

Reeve described the biggest adjustment to Brunson’s shot as a tweak to the trajectory of the arc, saying she hopes it will in the end help the team see their shooting percentages increase.

“It’s a muscle memory thing. You’ll know when she really got it when it’s not just in shooting drills, but she transfers it into playing in a game. The game is faster and you rely on muscle memory,” Reeve said. “It takes a long time to create a habit or muscle memory. I think if she stays with it and continues to focus on it just like the others, there’s no reason to believe that it becomes her norm.”

Pierson In Concussion Protocol 

Reeve said after practice Wednesday that veteran forward Plenette Pierson suffered what they think to be a concussion and has entered into the team’s concussion protocol program.

“It was an elbow to the temple,” Reeve said. “I just got the report that she’s in the program.”

Check back for updates on Pierson’s status for Friday’s preseason opener as they become available.

“It’s all about the persons ability to recover from the symptoms. It’s very serious in terms of how we handle these things. There is no desire to accelerate through it,” Reeve said. “You’ve seen it before, somebody gets a concussion and they could be out for a long time. Others, not as much. It’s just about how your body responds.”