Seimone Augustus walked off the floor Friday night, the first playoff game in her illustrious career in which she failed to score a single point, and went straight to look at the video.
“The first thing I do is put eyes on the game,” Augustus said Saturday. “I always want to be a student of the game. I grilled myself, look at the film. Even if I’m not shooting, how can I be in a position to get the ball to Maya (Moore) or Sylvia (Fowles) or help out Rebekkah (Brunson)? I do know that I need to put the ball in the hole for us to be better.”
Augustus, the seven-time All-Star and three-time Olympian, was 0-for-4 in a little more than 25 minutes Friday night in the Lynx’s 75-64 Game 3 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks.
But she wasn’t alone in her frustration. Point guard Lindsay Whalen was 0-for-2 in less than 12 minutes of time on the floor. For Whalen, who came back for the playoffs after sustaining a broken finger late in the regular season, it was the fewest minutes she’s ever played in a postseason game.
The combined 0-for-6 from Augustus and Whalen was perhaps the most eye-popping stat of the night in a tough offensive game for the Lynx, a performance that cost them a chance at a critical Game 3 win and puts L.A.– who is 19-1 at home this season – one win at Staples Center away from winning a second consecutive WNBA title.
After the game, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve made a point of saying that she needed more from her stars. But she really didn’t have to say a thing.
Augustus and Whalen are core members of this Minnesota Lynx dynasty, players who have had huge roles in leading the Lynx to three WNBA titles in the last six years and six Finals appearances in the last seven.
“I know they know how to win at this level, they have championship experience,” said Lynx forward Maya Moore. “It’s just a matter of putting yourself in the best position.”
Reeve said she expects her veteran players to regroup after a sub-standard performance.
“This is a group of players that, as you can imagine, can’t wait to play again to redeem themselves, and that’s true for our entire team,” Reeve said.
Reeve said she knows both Augustus and Whalen will be ready for Sunday’s do-or-die Game 4.
“The feeling (after a tough game) is inescapable,” she said. “I might be able to say, ‘let it go,’ but they are competitive people, until they play again it’s hard to let go.”
Augustus said she will look to be more aggressive, but that should be a secret to no one.
“I wasn’t able to get touches (Friday) because of how out of sync we were,” Augustus said. “But we are a resilient group and we will be ready. We have a lot of heart and you are going to see it (Sunday).”
Whalen said she was proud of reserve guards Renee Montgomery and Alexis Jones, who came in and brought the Lynx back into the game.
“They went in and got a run going,” Whalen said. “I was proud of the way they competed. But from a point guard perspective, I wish I’d been able to do a little more, been a little more productive for the team.”
Whalen said she and her teammates, facing the end of the season, are experienced and ready.
“The season is on the line and we have been in this situation before, a couple of times,” Whalen said. “We just need to execute the game plan.”