NEW YORK CITY- A little more than a week ago following a crucial win over the New York Liberty, Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn made an interesting point.
"We rested," she said.
The game was on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. The Fever were coming off a tough string of three straight losses so Dunn figured a day of rest would be beneficial.
"We gave the Saturday off and did not do a shoot around the morning of the game," she said.
The result was a resounding 90-76 victory that put the Fever on the road to clinching a tenth consecutive playoff appearance.
A week later with a postseason berth clinched, the Fever were back to close out the regular season this past Sunday against the same Liberty in New York. Prior to the game, Dunn explained the reasoning behind her strategy of a week prior.
"This WNBA schedule has been the most condensed ever," she said. "We have had people with injuries getting back and we are a team that thrives on energy. In that regard it was best to give them time off so they had fresh legs."
The fresh legs and energy were evident as the Fever ended up getting an important win.
Dunn was told about a book I am currently reading. ‘Football Revolution' deals with the origin and popularity of the spread offense. In one chapter a west coast coach received criticism for giving the team off on Friday, the day before the game. The coach reasoned that the game plan was set, the team prepared and even a light work out the day before could result in a turned ankle or another similar injury. Simply, the work is done so take the day of rest.
Dunn wholeheartedly agreed with that philosophy noting, "sometimes forcing an extra workout can lend diminishing returns or an injury."
For the Fever, that day of rest over a week ago ignited a three game win streak that secured their 10th consecutive trip to the playoffs. And in keeping with her philosophy, Dunn rested starters Tamika Catchings, Brian January and Erlana Larkins for the last regular season game on Sunday.
Dunn may have a critic or two regarding her philosophy of incorporating rest into the program. But who can criticize or argue with her results?