NEWARK, NJ – Her team owns the best percentage in the WNBA. There is legitimate talk of a championship.
For Cheryl Reeve, there is no inherent pressure.
The coach of the Minnesota Lynx, currently leading the Western Division of the ‘W’, admits she is “not into scoreboard watching.” She will acknowledge an awareness of where they are and who the fellow contenders are, but the game and execution are keys.
The Lynx led the entire way in Tuesday’s 73-47 romp over the New York Liberty at the Prudential Center. The victory put Minnesota at 21-7. The campaign is winding down, yet Reeve and her charges attack it like the first week of the season.
“Six games left, we don’t want to go about things half-hearted,” she said outside the Minnesota locker room on Tuesday. “You do not want to go into the playoffs with less than your best effort. This is the standard this team has set and why they are so good.”
The notables, Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augusts, Rebekkah Brunson. Even Janel McCarville is an effective, though lesser touted, contributor. A very talented cast but one completely devoid of agendas or egos. Except for one thing: winning.
“We have very good players,” Reeve conceded, “but the thing about this team is they blend so well together. They are not about recognition or headlines. They just do what they have to win.”
Credit Reeve for instilling a lot of that. She played for LaSalle in the late 80’s and still recollects those MAAC days with affection. She is a long time veteran of coaching in college and the WNBA. On the resume are two WNBA titles as a Detroit assistant to – interestingly enough – Bill Laimbeer and the league Coach of the Year in 2011. Knowledgeable and demanding, she is easy going enough to listen to her mother’s suggestions about the team.
“My mom has met the players here,” she said. “They connected with her so well.”
Throughout those years her philosophy has been “every possession counts”. As Reeve said, “We do not worry about the score as much, we play and look to maximize every possession.”
To date, Minnesota is doing just that. There are competitors to be certain. Ascending to the rarefied air of championship play in the WNBA is an arduous task. It is a task the Minnesota Lynx will address with vigor. Possession by possession.