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To outlast Los Angeles and Phoenix in the Western Conference, the Lynx will need to tighten up their defense, find more production from their reserves to keep the top six players, who include Janel McCarville and Monica Wright, from tiring, and of course, stay healthy.

They’ll go as far as their point guard can take them, and Whalen has been building what might be the best season of her 10-year WNBA career. She has led the Lynx in scoring in six of their last nine games, including four in a row with 20-plus points.

“She’s got this great bounce in her step right now,” Reeve said.

So do the rest of her teammates.

“This looks to me like 2011 in that we have really strong recognition of who we are,” the coach said. “And each game we’re applying those things, and I think we’re pretty hard to play against.”


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