Practice Report: Monday, July 30

Mark Remme
Lynx Editor/Writer

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Leslie Mershon and her family decided to purchase Minnesota Lynx season tickets this season for several different reasons. Not only does her daughter, Kayla, play basketball and can learn the sport from one of the defending WNBA champions, but the team also gives a wholesome vibe—a collection of players who get along, work together and act as strong role models for her family.

So Monday’s trip to the LifeTime Fitness Training Center was an extra added bonus for Leslie and Kayla Mershon. The two were part of about 20 select season ticket members who spent the morning watching Lynx practice.

“It’s the best,” Leslie Mershon said. “I think it’s cool to see the hard work ethic, see what they do, see if it’s similar to their own practices. See how they warm up. Just the communication as teammates. To see it live during a practice session is really important.”

Over the past week the Lynx have opened up their practice facility three times to groups of season ticket members, giving them an opportunity to see behind the scenes how coach Cheryl Reeve and her coaching staff run workouts on a day to day basis. About 60 fans got to see practice over the three open practice sessions, opening up a new perspective on how the team prepares for the games they watch at Target Center.

On Monday, the season ticket members arrived about 8:45 a.m., listened to assistant coach Jim Petersen talk about the team and its direction heading into the second half of the season, then watch the Lynx practice from about 10 a.m. to noon—working on not only staying sharp and fresh during the month-long Olympic break but also continuing to hone their schemes in full court game settings against the male practice squad.

Reeve said the chance to open the gym doors and give fans a look at the work that goes on in between games is a unique way to connect with season ticket members.

“It’s fun to get the up close and personal [feel], and you get to see the personalities in their elements,” Reeve said. “You get to see the coaches in their elements.”

Petersen said his message to the season ticket members was twofold: One, he wanted to give them an indication of what the team was working on during this extended break in the middle of the season. Two, he wanted to express his appreciation to the fans for helping the Lynx hold a distinct home court advantage.

“Our fan base is pretty incredible, and it’s been growing and growing,” Petersen said. “I think ever since we got [Lindsay] Whalen back and we’ve been winning games, I think we’ve been converting more and more fans into women’s basketball fans.”

From a fan’s perspective, the morning helped not only develop a better connection with the team but also acted as a learning experience. Kayla Mershon, a youth basketball player from Minnetonka, got a chance to see how hard the Lynx work on the court.

“They don’t give up and they’re so competitive, but they’re so nice to each other,” Kayla Mershon said. “They always try to keep each other up and they just work together.”

Kayla Mershon said she gets her own playing time at the wing and post positions, fancying herself more of a Candice Wiggins than a Taj McWilliams-Franklin because she enjoys shooting from the perimeter.

But she got a chance to watch both first hand on Monday, and it’s a moment she won’t soon forget.

“It’s really cool,” Kayla Mershon said. “I hope I can see more of it.”

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