For the second year in a row, because of the pandemic, WNBA teams are not practicing against teams comprised of men. For the Lynx — and other teams, of course — that means coach Cheryl Reeve has to work very hard, and adapt her practice schedule, so key players don't get overworked.
On the subject of men's practice teams, Reeve had some interesting insights this week.
"I want to dispel this notion that we practice against guys because it somehow improves us, because they're guys,'' she said. "My preference would be to have women that are practice players, give them an opportunity to be in camps. But we can't.''
Teams can't construct practice teams made up of women because, Reeve said, the WNBA feels some teams would use that practice team to stash prospects, a process that, should they be given stipends, would circumvent roster limits.
Going forward, Reeve would like the league and players' association to come up with a way where teams could have women practice teams, given some money to defray costs. "It's a way to get your fringe players to be in camp and see how things are run," she said.
Men's practice teams are local-sourced and not paid. Reeve said it might be a good idea for the players to push the idea of women's practice teams.
"There would be more opportunities for players to be in a training camp,'' she said. "You can keep teaching players, a form of a minor league in some way. Cap it at a number [financially] if you want to.''