Practice Report: Wednesday, Oct. 10
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After winning the Western Conference and securing their spot in the WNBA finals for the second consecutive year, the Lynx returned to the practice floor at the Lifetime Fitness Training Center today to begin preparation for the last phase of this year's championship run.
They find themselves in the unique position of not needing to focus on a particular opponent just yet, with the winner of the Eastern Conference finals series between the Connecticut Sun and Indiana Fever not yet decided. Their third game takes place tomorrow night, with the winner advancing to take on Minnesota in the opening game of the WNBA finals on Sunday, Oct. 14.
Seimone Augustus said that the Lynx had a productive practice, and that the uncertainty in who they'll be facing in the finals gave them time to focus on themselves.
"At this point, whoever the opponent is, they're going to be tough," said Seimone Augustus. "It's mainly focusing on what we need to do. We wanted to be the No. 1 defensive team, and we were. And we want to continue to hold that thrown. We want to clean some stuff on offense, and today gave us an opportunity to do that, to just focus on us today."
Coach Cheryl Reeve said that she doesn't mind the change either.
"It's really nice for us that we can get back to worrying about us, which we haven't done in a very long time," Reeve said. "It's really nice to just focus on just our stuff, and then we'll have two days to get ready for whoever the opponent is."
Including today, the Lynx will have four straight days of practice, another luxury not often afforded to the team as of late. Although the winner of the Sun vs. Fever series will have little break from game play, the Lynx aren't worried that their own time off will affect them negatively come finals time.
"In the WNBA, we just don't believe in the 'rust' thing," said Reeve. "That rest is incredibly valuable to us. All of these players will tell you having two days off was really sweet. You get away mentally; physically, you give your legs a break, and we still get four days. So it's the best of all the worlds for us."
Lindsay Whalen echoed Reeve's statements, noting the veteran caliber of this year's Lynx squad and adding that they'll be ready no matter what come time for the finals.
"I think at this point in the year, we've been playing for I don't know how many months together," Whalen said. "I don't really read too much into it, because that's just the way it is. We're a veteran team, and we know what to do to be ready to play on Sunday."
Road to Repeat
Despite having been in this position just a year ago, the Lynx agree that winning a championship would be even more satisfying this year than the last, simply because of how much more it took to get back to this point than it did the first time around.
"There are certainly differences, in that there's no question that this journey was harder than last year," said Reeve. "When you have expectations, that ratchets things up another notch, and fulfilling those expectations was extremely hard -- even though, at times, I think this group made it look easy."
Despite appearances, Rebekkah Brunson said that the recognition that last year's title brought made the season difficult from the get-go.
"Nothing has come to us easily, and I think that we've had to grind out a lot of games, where I think we caught a couple teams by surprise last year," Brunson said. "We were new, we were up-and-coming, but now everybody knows what we're doing, knows what to anticipate, knows what to look for.
"It's tough. Once you win one, it's really hard to come back and win another one, especially back-to-back. So the road is hard, but it'll be extremely satisfying if we can go ahead and conquer this."
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