Lynx's Augustus wins top rookie honors

  • Article by: Pam Schmid
  • Star Tribune
  • August 21, 2006 - 5:53 AM

Lynx guard Seimone Augustus had prepared herself for a lot of things about the WNBA -- the speed, the physical play, the whirlwind season.

She had not prepared for all the losing.

Her team struggled, finishing last in the Western Conference with a 10-24 record, but Augustus' play provided one of the few bright spots. On Sunday, the 6-0 guard was named the league's Rookie of the Year.

"If you look at the season, it wasn't pretty," she said. "But you really do have something to smile about ... something I could accomplish as an individual, and that my teammates helped me accomplish."

Augustus, who garnered 34 of a possible 56 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, finished the season ranked second in the league in points with 21.9 per game after the Lynx picked her first overall in the 2006 draft.

The rookie from Louisiana State also set franchise records for points (744) and field goals made (283) and became one of only two players in league history to put together six games of 30-plus points in a season.

"She just had those moments where she was unstoppable," Lynx interim coach Carolyn Jenkins said. "Coaches and players were surprised. They understood she was good. But now you know she's going to be one of the greatest."

Cappie Pondexter of Phoenix finished second in the voting with 20 points; Sophia Young of the San Antonio Silver Stars was third with two points.

Augustus said she met most of her expectations this season, aside from helping her team make a playoff run. She wants to come in stronger and better conditioned next season. By the end of the season "my legs felt like Jell-O," she said, "like I was walking in cement or something."

But the biggest improvement Augustus hopes to make next season doesn't involve basketball ability.

"My big thing is to be more of a leader," she said. "That was something we lacked ... on a consistent basis. It was a tough position for any rookie ... because you don't want to come off as a know-it-all.

"In the huddle, I held back. That was probably my downfall, sitting back and letting someone else do it."

Augustus is the second Lynx player to win the rookie honor; guard Betty Lennox, now with the Seattle Storm, won it in 2000. The award nets Augustus a trophy, plus $5,000.

Coaching update

Jenkins, who coached the Lynx to a 2-9 record after head coach Suzie McConnell Serio resigned, is considered a long shot to earn the permanent job but said Sunday she'd like to stay involved with the team. She said she wasn't given a timeline for the coaching search.

"In the next month or so, all of us involved will have a clearer picture of what's going on," Jenkins said.

Pam Schmid •

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