WNBA 2012 Olympians: Seimone Augustus
As the 16th WNBA season tips off many of the top players in the league will not only be striving to win a WNBA crown, but will also be shooting for a gold medal, as the 2012 Summer Olympics begin July 28 and run through Aug. 14. Throughout the first half of the season, WNBA.com will check in with WNBA players who are slated to appear with their respective National Teams in London to get their thoughts about representing their country this summer.
Seimone Augustus is accustomed to winning. State titles in high school, a stellar win-loss record at LSU, top pick in the WNBA Draft, a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and last year, a WNBA Finals MVP Award to go along with the ultimate prize: A WNBA championship with her Minnesota Lynx.
On the heels of this tremendous success in 2011, Augustus is now facing what could be the biggest year in her career as the 6-foot guard attempts to lead the Lynx to a coveted defense of their WNBA crown with a midseason detour to London for a chance at a second straight gold medal, and a place in hoops history as part of an unprecedented five-straight U.S. team gold medals.
In short, Augustus achieved a lot last year, but this year can be even better.
"Itís always exciting getting with Team USA, thatís something you never get used to, or take for granted. Itís always a tremendous honor," said Augustus. "Itís the best of the best and to be part of that group, competing against the best of the best in the world, itís special. But itís even more special this year, as I have two of my Lynx teammates with me this year, working together to try and get that gold medal."
Guard Lindsay Whalen and forward Maya Moore are the other two Minnesota players named to the U.S. roster for London 2012, where University of Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma will lead the USA Womenís drive for a fifth-consecutive gold medal. Those familiar with womenís basketball know Moore is very familiar with Auriemma from their UConn days, where they won two NCAA titles. In all, there are six former Huskies on the USA Women Team, so familiarity is big among the squad.
But as the old saying goes, familiarity does also sometimes breeds contempt. Augustus and Atlantaís Angel McCoughtry, just a few months ago, were battling tooth and nail in the WNBA Finals, where it often appeared that the winner of the personal Augustus-McCoughtry showdown would eventually be the WNBA titleholder. How do these two players now play alongside one another?
"We did go head-to-head sometimes and Angel is a great competitor, but it was all in good competition, there isnít anything personal," said Augustus. "It might get heated, because you have to play hard to win a championship, but now we are on the same team, you have to kinda switch that on and off. We will probably still have those battles in practice and in training for the Olympics and that will make each of us individually, and most importantly, our team, better. And who knows, maybe me and Angel will even play some minutes together for the USA this summer. That would be great."
Temporarily putting aside team vs. team rivalries in pursuit of Olympic glory is nothing new, of course, as Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker have all fiercely competed on WNBA courts before moving on to the international scene to work together for the common goal of bringing gold home to the United States. Augustus is confident the current group of USA Olympians are similarly committed.
"Thatís the motivation: the gold medal," said Augustus. "We know the obstacles we have to deal with, the schedule, the grind. Most of us have been playing pretty much non-stop for a while now, and reaching the WNBA Conference Finals and Finals, thatís more and more games, along with our European seasons. But we are all pros. We know whatís ahead and weíre looking forward to doing what we need to do to bring home that gold."
|2012 USA Basketball Women's Olympic Team|
|Seimone Augustus||Forward||Minnesota Lynx||Louisiana State||Baton Rouge, LA|
|Sue Bird||Guard||Seattle Storm||Connecticut||Syosset, NY|
|Swin Cash||Forward||Chicago Sky||Connecticut||McKeesport, PA|
|Tamika Catchings||Forward||Indiana Fever||Tennessee||Duncanville, TX|
|Tina Charles||Center||Connecticut Sun||Connecticut||Jamaica, NY|
|Sylvia Fowles||Center||Chicago Sky||Louisiana State||Miami, FL|
|Angel McCoughtry||Forward||Atlanta Dream||Louisville||Baltimore, MD|
|Maya Moore||Forward||Minnesota Lynx||Connecticut||Lawrenceville, GA|
|Candace Parker||F/C/G||Los Angeles Sparks||Tennessee||Naperville, IL|
|Diana Taurasi||G/F||Phoenix Mercury||Connecticut||Chino, CA|
|Lyndsay Whalen||Guard||Minnesota Lynx||Minnesota||Hutchinson, MN||Asjha Jones||Forward||Connecticut Sun||Connecticut||Piscataway, NJ|