Monday Practice Report
The Lynx returned to practice Monday after returning from the All-Star break this past weekend. While the team was not practicing it was hardly a break for many of Minnesota's players -- whether it was Nicky Anosike and Charde Houston participating in the All-Star festivities in Connecticut or Renee Montgomery returning home and conducting a basketball camp.
"It was awesome," Anosike said. "I think there were seven U.S. Olympians there that played last season at the Olympics, so just being among those and realizing that could be me in a few years is definitely awesome. So it was a great experience."
Anosike said it was an honor to play with so many great players and play among them. She said it gave her confidence because she played with them.
But now it is back to the regular season.
The Lynx are looking forward to the second half of the season now that the team has reconvened following the extended time off. Minnesota got to its goal of 10 wins before the midway point and the players know they must match the same success to reach the postseason. It might take even more.
"I think we've had good success," Anosike said. "But we're still hanging on by the skin of our teeth. We still have to do better. Coach keeps saying 10 games, but I'm saying we need to pull out 12 to protect ourselves. We have to do a better job because right now, what we did in the first half it's not going to cut it." To help the team reach its goals, Minnesota has made two acquisitions to help deepen its bench. Before last week's road trip, the team added Tasha Humphrey. Humphrey responded by averaging 12.0 points per game, including scoring 17 in the Lynx's win over the Mercury on July 22. Minnesota looked to deepen its bench, adding Spanish star Anna Montanana on Monday.
"What a great addition," coach Jen Gillom said. "I think Tasha Humphrey fits our system to a T. She's a pick and pop player that a lot of our offense requires that. I thought she came in hungry, wanting to prove herself in this league. I think we got her at the right moment. She's doing a great job for us and I hope that it continues to go that way."
Gillom said the team needed to make the moves to create more scoring production from the bench and add more shooters. She said the team had too many rebounders and post-up players and needed the versatility that Humphrey and Montanana can provide.
The bench production will be especially needed now that rookie guard Renee Montgomery has moved into the starting lineup. Montgomery started the two games before the All-Star break and is still finding her way into the starter's role.
"we have to keep getting better and adjust," Montgomery said. "All the teams are changing and we have to just keep getting better every day. We just can't be as good at the beginning of the year and expect to continue winning games."
Gillom said the team needs to continue to improve on its defense and rebounding to reach its goals and clinch a playoff berth in the second half of the season. The Lynx have had to grow up in a hurry to find success in the first half of the season. Now the challenge gets tougher to close out a playoff berth and compete for a spot in the postseason.
Anosike said everyone is going to have to come together to realize this dream.
"This team has had to go through so much adversity with the coaching change right before the home opener, and then Seimone (Augustus), our best player, going down and then we've had a few changes here of late," Anosike said. "We've just had to grow up in a hurry. We're a young team, but we've had to become women in a matter of two months. We've evolved and we've fought through adversity and I think that's really given us toughness that other teams don't have."
Jen Gillom Audio
Jen Gillom talks about the team's growth through the first half of the season and where the Lynx might go in the second half.
Nicky Anosike Audio
Nicky Anosike reflects on her All-Star experience and preps for the second half of the season.
Renee Montgomery Audio
Renee Montgomery tells us about her All-Star break and starting her first two games of her career.
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