NEW YORK, May 18, 2017 – The Cheryl Reeve Era in Minnesota has brought about one of the greatest and most consistent dynasties in WNBA history.
After her first season as head coach in which she established a culture and new way of doing business, the team quickly whipped into shape in 2011 and hasn’t looked back since. The Lynx have made the postseason in six straight seasons, compiling an incredible 155-49 record and winning three championships over that span.
How do they keep it going?
Suffocating defense has been a staple of the Lynx franchise, as they’ve held opponents to under 42% shooting from the field every season since 2011. Their bigs tandem of Sylvia Fowles and Rebekkah Brunson have also ensured that they have a positive rebound margin every year in that span as well, creating second-chance opportunities for their offense and limiting them for their opponents.
Their roster, a blend of veterans who exude tremendous leadership and young stars like Maya Moore who can carry the offense, is expertly crafted. An ego-free environment full of players who have won championships and Olympic gold medals, their locker room screams a calm, collected confidence. They’ve been through every challenge that professional basketball could throw their way, and they’ve come out on top.
“Maya’s arguably the best player in the world and Sylvia’s arguably the best center in the world, so it’s important to realize when it’s Maya’s turn, let Maya do her thing, and be cognizant that you have Syl,” Reeve said after her Lynx defeated the Liberty at MSG.
The Lynx foursome of Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Brunson and Moore have 113 wins as a unit, the second-most in WNBA history. They trail the Sparks’ 121 wins mark set by Lisa Leslie, Tamecka Dixon, Mwadi Mabika and DeLisha Milton-Jones, but will likely surpass them this season barring injury.
One of the Lynx’s secrets to success is a lack of roster overhaul – if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The Lynx tied for the highest retention rate in the league, bringing back eight of 11 players on their 2016 roster after coming within seconds of winning their fourth WNBA championship in six seasons.
“We’ve just been together – they just know each other well. It doesn’t always end in a W but they have confidence that they know what each other’s doing,” Reeve said of her roster chemistry.
Their 2017 roster ranks first in average years of WNBA experience and they sport the highest average age in the league at over 30, but don’t think this dynasty is going away anytime soon. 35-year-olds Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalen are staples in the starting lineup, equally important as glass-cleaner and floor general, respectively, and still playing at high levels.
After defeating the Liberty at Madison Square Garden, they’re now 2-0 to start the season, and they should continue playing at an elite level all season, one of the favorites to make it back to the WNBA Finals for third straight season.