Dishin & Swishin 10/22/15 Podcast: Is the Minnesota Lynx’s Cheryl Reeve the best WNBA coach ever?
Congratulations to the Minnesota Lynx, the 2015 WNBA champions! It is a pleasure to welcome back to the podcast Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve, to put a wrap on the WNBA season.
The first four games of the finals contained some of the highest level, most entertaining basketball you ever want to see, men or women playing. Two great teams played at an extremely high level, the stars produced, and the outcome was in doubt until Indiana ran out of gas in game five.
Reeve is used to her team being runaway favorites, one of the most popular in the WNBA. However, this year, the team struggled at times, and many were rooting for Tamika Catchings to win a second title as she nears the end of her career (after next season). On the podcast host we joke that Minnesota were the villains here, in a pro wrestling sense the “heels”, while Indiana played the role of the “baby face,” or good guys. They had a veritable Olympic team on their roster after adding Sylvia Fowles to Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and Asjha Jones, and advanced in the playoffs on a referee call that the league later ruled was incorrect.
Fowles came up big, Moore won a game with her clutch shooting, and Rebekkah Brunson turned back the clock to prove why she is one of the most unsung and best rebounders in the history of the league. Whalen and Augustus battled tough injuries, and the bench contributed, with Devereaux Peters, Anna Cruz, and Renee Montgomery all having big moments.
So they raised the trophy once again, had a private concert with Prince, spoke to President Obama, and had a parade. Not too shabby an October I would say.
Now, a question for you, our listeners and readers, to ponder. Is Cheryl Reeve the greatest coach in the history of the WNBA?
Reeve was an assistant under Bill Laimbeer, Dan Hughes, and Anne Donovan on the pro level, Joe McKeown on the college level, and Geno Auriemma in USA Basketball, a tremendous pedigree.
In her six seasons as a head coach, all with the Lynx, Reeve has won 68 percent of her games; drop the first year’s 13-21 record and it balloons to 75 percent. Her winning percentage is the greatest in WNBA history. During that time Minnesota won the Western conference four out of six years, and won the WNBA championship three out of six years.
Brunson, Moore, Whalen, and Augustus are the core, and have been there since the first championship in 2011, as have assistant coaches Shelley Patterson and Jim Peterson. The rest of the players have come and gone, and Reeve seamlessly adds and subtracts them from the lineup. Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Janel McCarville were high post passing centers. Fowles is a true back to the basket low post center. They still won, they adjusted.
Brunson, Whalen, and Augustus, as well as now departed Monica Wright all missed time with injuries during title years. They still won, they adjusted.
Van Chancellor, Michael Cooper, and Laimbeer all can be argued are in the running for the greatest WNBA coach ever. Mike Thibault has had tremendous success as well without a title, along with Hughes.
Still, Reeve’s resume stacks up with all of them and one would be hard pressed to find a reason to exclude her from the discussion.
Congratulations to the Lynx organization and all involved on winning their championship, and thank you to all the great WNBA players and coaches that helped make this season fun to all.
Enjoy the podcast!