It has been pretty well established that the way the Minnesota Lynx season ended last year – a last-second loss to Los Angeles in the fifth game of the WNBA finals – was hard to take. On the first day of training camp this spring Maya Moore talked about how much that loss will serve as motivation for the Lynx this season.
Well, at the team’s media day today, Moore and some others pushed that rhetoric up a notch. Seeing NNeka Ogwumike’s shot go through the net wasn’t just a devastating loss, it was the worst loss.
Like, ever, in Moore's career.
That’s a pretty strong statement. But Moore wasn’t the only one. “High school, college, pro, everything,’’ Lindsay Whalen said. “I think that was probably the hardest one. Just the way it ended. You all saw it. How it ended. We’ve won a lot of great series, a lot of great games over the years. To come out on the other side was definitely difficult.’’
It has been the rallying cry of a veteran team looking to win a fourth title in seven seasons – a memory they’d rather forget, but never will.
“I could concur,’’ coach Cheryl Reeve said of Moore’s comment. “And I would understand it. This group badly wanted the championship last year. They really wanted to repeat. And we were all on a mission, all season. Our record ( a franchise-high 28 wins) reflected that. As a coach, there is tremendous disappointment I couldn’t get us over the hump. It will haunt me forever.’’
Here are some other items from today’s media day sessions:
--Much is made of how veteran this Lynx team, and how difficult it is for the young players to fit in. Well, that goes both ways. Seimone Augustus was joking today about her first attempt at Instagram Live, and how the younger players helped her along. “ I didn’t know there was a time limit, how long you should be on there. I was on there 5 or 10 minutes, and they were like, ‘You’re on too long!’ ‘’ Augustus said. “I was like, ‘I didn’t know.’ There are a lot of things to learn in life. Basketball, life, technology, social media. We’re learning a lot from each other.’’
--Reeve and assistant coach Shelly Patterson broke out the big-time hardware for Media Day. Both were sporting all three of their championship rings.
--Augustus was talking about her decision not to play overseas this past winter, the first time she’s done that. The thought process goes back to the 2015 season, during which she had arthroscopic surgery on her right knee. She went to Europe after that season, but ultimately decided to rest this time. She said listening to her body was important. It was also important to listen to Kevin Garnett. KG was in town working out during the NBA off-season back in 2015 and ran into Augustus in the weight room. “He was like, ‘Young ‘un, you have to listen to your body,’ ‘’ Augustus said. “If you don’t listen to KG, I don't’t know who you’re going to listen to.’’
--Of the five starters, center Sylvia Fowles was the only one to play a full season overseas this past winter. She played in China. But, after seeing how good all her (older) teammates look, she said she might take a break after the WNBA season ends. “I’m thinking about doing it off-season,’’ she said. “We shall see how it plays out. If my body holds up through the whole season, maybe I’ll go overseas. If I’m a little tired, I’ll sit home and rest.’’