The Minnesota Lynx cruised into clinching a postseason spot with a comfortable 83-65 victory over the Dream on Wednesday.
All season, Minnesota has been vying with the Sparks for the best record in the WNBA. The squad may have sputtered a bit at the end of June, losing their final three games of the month. It may not have been time to hit the panic button, but it certainly was time for a gut-check and some wisdom only collected after withstanding the trials and tribulations of many WNBA seasons past.
While most will look at MVP candidate Maya Moore as the catalyst behind the Lynx’s terrific season thus far, and rightfully so, it’s Seimone Augustus who has led Minnesota through their patch of uncertainty and back to their winning ways. The Lynx have won their last five games, it’s no coincidence that Augustus has scored in double-figures in four of those five contests – a streak punctuated by a game-high 19 points against the Dream.
It should come as no surprise that the former No. 1 overall pick is rounding into stride at exactly the perfect time. 10 years ago she was selected first by the Lynx and tasked with bringing a then-struggling Minnesota team back into the championship mix.
She’s done that and so much more. In her 10 seasons, she’s won three WNBA titles, played in six All-Star games and won Finals MVP in 2011. If you’re looking for a cornerstone of the Lynx franchise, look no further than Augustus.
Now, as her career reaches its twilight years, the once athletically-superior combo guard/forward has reinvented her game like many of the greats before her to highlight a more mature style.
First, Augustus has developed a real understanding of floor-spacing and finding soft spots in opposing defenses where she can get a high-percentage look. That kind of look can come from behind the arc:
Or around the rim:
Also, Augustus has been working effectively off screens set by her teammates. Where she may have tried to take her defender off the dribble years ago, she’s honed a smooth jumper with a lighting quick release:
But she’s still shown glimmers of the speed on the break that made her a box-office attraction for years.
Overall, Augustus has the Lynx looking like legitimate championship contenders, and she of all people would know.