Preview: Lynx vs. Liberty
Off to their worst start in eight years and with six days between games, the Minnesota Lynx went to work this week on the basics.
On Wednesday, the Lynx (3-6) started what coach Cheryl Reeve called a “mini-training camp” ahead of a Saturday home game against the New York Liberty at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn.
“A three-day training camp,” Reeve told the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune. “Just don’t tell the players that. I didn’t use those two words together, ‘training’ and ‘camp.’ We know exactly how to win games. We know what has to be done. And we know we’re not getting it done.
“I can’t explain all the reasons for it. But we’re going to ensure that there are some really basic things we do well the next time we play a basketball game.”
One game after ending a four-game losing streak — Minnesota’s longest since 2010 — Reeve’s team fell to first-place Connecticut on June 9.
The Lynx, who lost just seven games during the 2017 regular season, sit in ninth place in the 12-team WNBA. Reeve wanted to make sure her players are putting the team first.
“It’s not, ‘Minnesota Lynx No. 1,'” she said. “It’s like, 1A, and there is a B and C. That can’t happen. For this group, it’s always been Minnesota Lynx No. 1. We didn’t share that spot with anything.”
Reeve focused on lapses in concentration: missed layups, deflected passes, missed free throws.
“Those are things that aren’t hard to change, but (you have to) recognize it’s a problem,” Reeve said. “Nobody has to have some magical analytics solution to it. It’s going back to the things this franchise has been built on, which is defending our tails off, rebounding the basketball and sharing the ball on offense.”
The Liberty (3-5) are coming off a 78-63 home loss to Las Vegas that New York star Tina Charles saw coming.
“The past few games we’ve been getting lucky, just squeaking by,” Charles said, according to the league’s website. “I believe we needed this, we needed to get smacked around and know what it feels like, and hopefully we respond next time we have practice.”
Charles is second in the WNBA in scoring (21.9 points per game) and minutes played (34.1).
The Liberty shot 42 percent from the floor, including 4 of 24 from deep, against a Las Vegas team that was playing back-to-back road games.
New York has just one win — at home on Sunday over winless Indiana — in its past four games.