Day 6: Augustus Returns To The Court
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Lynx shooting guard Seimone Augustus spent her first day back with the team on Thursday watching from the sidelines, surveying how the 2013 Lynx are slowly taking shape during Training Camp. On Friday, as she joined them on the court for the first time, another big piece just fell into place.
Augustus returned to practice after missing the first five days of camp due to her overseas commitments, having helped Sparta&K Moscow Region take second place in the Russian Premier League this winter. It was her second straight winter playing in Russia, and she returns knowing there are some new and old stakes in the game as the Lynx begin the 2013 campaign.
Yes, the Lynx are still an elite team chock full of talent in their starting lineup. With Augustus back, all but one (forward Rebekkah Brunson, who should be back Monday) have returned to camp and are filling out the starting five. But like Indiana proved last year, a championship is all but a given. Minnesota won 54 games over the past two seasons, but they enter this year knowing it’s a long road ahead. It’s clear they don’t want to feel what they felt after last year’s WNBA Finals this time around.
“That’s the goal for the year,” Augustus said. “We come in, in Training Camp, and talk about working hard and we’ll be the last team standing at the end of the season.”
Augustus, as usual, will be a big part of that equation.
She scored 16.6 points per game last year and connected at a 43.7 percent clip from 3-point range. Her famous crossover helped keep defenders guessing, and she forms an incredibly dynamic backcourt duo with Lindsay Whalen and a nightmarish wing combination with Maya Moore.
Last season was memorable for everyone on that 2012 roster, and Augustus was the latest to talk about that on Friday. Still, there is something missing from that year. The “bad taste” philosophy is pretty easy to detect as camp starts to pick up pace and get a game-like feel.
The Lynx are looking to correct the final piece of the 2012 puzzle come fall.
“You’re always driving,” Augustus said. “You’d hope to have the ultimate game, the LeBron type game to finish out the season with a championship. Of course we came back a little motivated and wanted to do what you needed to do to get yourself in position.”
As she entered camp, Augustus took note of the new faces on the court—seven to be exact. She also took note of one who was not there—veteran Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who retired this season. Augustus said not having Mama Taj on hand will be an adjustment as well.
“You miss a vet like Taj, a vocal leader,” Augustus said. “So others have to step up, including myself, to communicate things effectively and get things across.”
But Augustus said she likes what she’s seen on the court so far.
“A lot of new faces, but good faces with a lot of positive energy,” Augustus said. “A great vibe. Players who want to learn and make this team better.”
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