A year ago, time was working against Seimone Augustus.
While much of the WNBA rested during the monthlong Olympic break, Augustus and teammates Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore kept going nonstop, helping Team USA to a gold medal in London.
By the time the WNBA Finals came in October, the frenetic pace had become a drain. The Lynx lost to Indiana in four games, with Augustus shooting 3-for-21 in the series-clinching loss.
“I guess that’s the price we pay for being good,” Augustus said.
She said it Friday, with a smile, after her first Lynx practice of the season. Most of the rest of the team opened camp Sunday, but Augustus was granted some extra time off after returning from playing overseas in Russia. She looks and sounds ready to help the Lynx reach the finals for a third consecutive season and to win it all like they did in 2011.
“You would hope to have that ultimate game, that LeBron-type game, to finish out the season with a championship,” Augustus said. “So, of course, you come back a little bit more motivated to get back in that position again.”
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve took immediate notice of that motivation.
“We had a chance to catch up before practice a little bit,” Reeve said. “Seimone was disappointed with how things went last season for herself. … How the way things ended, it was a big disappointment. I think she looks great. Physically, she’s really taken care of herself.”
That’s good because now it’s time to go to work.
“Her ease was when she was in Louisiana eating crawfish,” Reeve said. “She’s here, so it’s on.”
Augustus spent Friday working up a sweat and getting acquainted with new teammates. The team’s core is still intact, with Rebekkah Brunson slated to practice for the first time Sunday and join Whalen, Augustus and Moore. But there are plenty of camp battles to determine supporting roles.
“It’s a lot of new faces, but good faces, with a lot of positive energy and a great vibe,” Augustus said. “Players who want to learn and get better.”
She has plenty of time to get acquainted. The Lynx don’t open the regular season until June 1, a week after most teams start. That was part of the reason Reeve could give Augustus more time off before joining the team — and a sign that time is on her side this year.
One more piece of serendipity: Augustus arrived in Minnesota on Thursday, the same day the state House of Representatives passed the gay marriage bill. Augustus, who is openly gay, said, “It’s an exciting thing to see so many people supportive. It’s a great thing that it’s going to the Senate. Hopefully, it passes and people will be able to marry their loved ones.”
She had planned to marry fiancée LaTaya Varner in May, but the two are putting it on hold so they can make it official in Minnesota, which Augustus called her “adopted home.”
Same-sex marriages will be legal starting Aug. 1 as long as the bill passes the Senate and is signed by Gov. Mark Dayton.
“We’ll have to plan for the end of the season,” Augustus said. “Hopefully after a championship.”