Rookies Ready for First Playoff Series
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The WNBA is very different than the NCAA. That’s what rookies Asia Taylor and Tricia Liston have learned through their 34 games so far this season.
And what they’re about to learn on Thursday is just how different the postseason is at the professional level.
Both Taylor and Liston have plenty of postseason experience at their respective schools—Taylor with the University of Louisville and Liston with Duke University. Both squads made it to the 2014 Women’s NCAA Tournament, and both pulled off a couple of wins before eventually being eliminated.
While they feel that their NCAA postseason experience gives them some confidence as the 2014 Lynx playoffs, presented by Medica, begin on Thursday, they each admit the WNBA is a completely different atmosphere.
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“Same mindset, but here it’s a lot harder,” Taylor said Tuesday about her preparation for this year’s postseason. “The competition is a lot better, more disciplined and really just, me being a rookie, just trying to take as much as I can from these veterans who have been here year after year, time after time. They have so much playoff experience.”
The veterans on the Lynx do have an extensive amount of playoff experience, as there are seven returning players on the roster from the 2013 championship team, and five players from the 2011 championship team.
Taylor said that the leadership and encouragement from her veteran teammates has helped her improve all season long, and she expects that to be no different during the playoffs.
“When I’m on the sideline, they’re trying to help me—little things to correct,” Taylor said. “And as a rookie, sometimes you might not notice that the little things are important. But they see all those little things and they know that those little things are what’s going to help us win a championship.”
Taylor says she has a touch of nerves before all of her games, going back to her days at Louisville. Despite those, both she and Liston agree that what they are most excited for come Thursday is the chance to play in front of a packed house at Target Center.
“The environment, and being able to get back and play in a postseason game,” Liston said when asked what about the postseason excited her. “We did it at Duke too, but just being able to do it at the highest level and starting with a home game with our fans, I think it’s going to be really fun.”
The rookies have had a few chances to get into games this season, and they have performed well in those instances. But, with so much experience and depth on this Lynx team, it isn’t expected that they’ll see too much time on the floor during the postseason.
Though they’re aware that’s probably going to be the case, Liston says that if she gets the chance to play, she’ll be ready to go.
“As a competitor, those are the games you want to play in, where everything’s on the line,” Liston said. “With that extra pressure, it’s fun to be a competitor and play in that.”
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