Practice Report: Friday, Oct. 12
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Finally, the WNBA heavyweight bout of the year has been set.
With the Indiana Fever’s 87-71 win over the Connecticut Sun on Thursday night, Minnesota now knows who to plan on facing during the 2012 WNBA Finals.
The Lynx insist, however, that no matter who their opponent from the Eastern Conference was going to be, they would have been ready.
“Regardless if it was Connecticut or Indiana, they are both very good basketball teams,” coach Cheryl Reeve said after practice on Friday. “Now that we know it’s specifically Indiana, we know what style to prepare for. We have got to lock in on their schemes, and we know it will be a hard series. We have to be ready to do battle.”
Indiana is a team that the Lynx have already faced twice, with Minnesota winning both matchups. The games were played consecutively on Sept. 14 and 17, and both contests were very different.
“The first game I didn’t play,” Seimone Augustus said, “and it was a grind-out sort of game where the score was in the 60s (66-64). The second game was different where they went off and made 11 3-pointers (86-79). So we have to be able to defend the 3-point line and be able to execute on the defensive end.”
Indiana has shown an ability to scorch their opponents from the perimeter—an example being last night’s victory over Connecticut, where the Fever shot 10-for-16 (62 percent) from deep.
“This team shoots the three very well,” Reeve said. “All the work we did over Olympic break in tweaking our defense to defend the 3-point line is going to come in handy. Their defense is very physical—they switch a lot—but we feel confident because we’ve seen it.”
A Familiar Opponent
Minnesota last played Indiana less than a month ago, and that brings a level of familiarity to their game plan.
“We played each other just a month ago,” Lindsay Whalen said, “and we’re kind of familiar with what they like to do. I’m sure they’re familiar with us. We just put in some things that we know they like to do, and we’re going to prepare for their personnel and the things they like to run.”
Playing Indiana back-to-back in September almost had a playoff feeling to it, Whalen said.
“Getting those two games in a row made it like a playoff feel,” Whalen added. “We know they’re a great team, and they’ve been working hard all playoffs. They faced elimination a couple times, so we know they’ve got good team chemistry and they play well together. Last night they shot the ball great as well as playing great defense.”
Injury to Katie Douglas
An alarming moment came for the Fever last night when star Katie Douglas went down with an injury in the game’s first five minutes. The 11-year veteran—who averaged 16.5 points per game for the Fever during the regular season and 15.5 during the playoffs—is still undecided on playing during the Finals.
“I can only watch from the outside and know that you’re losing 17 or 18 points a game,” Reeve said, “and you’re losing a leader. That’s if she doesn’t play… we don’t have any idea what her status is. So we’re assuming she’s playing.”
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