Second-year assistant Jen Gillom was named the coach of a rebuilt Lynx team three days before the season began on June 6. Then, in the team's sixth game, top scorer Seimone Augustus suffered a season-ending knee injury. Despite those handicaps, Gillom has led the Lynx to a 7-4 record. The Lynx are in a tie for first place in the Western Conference one-third of the way through the WNBA season. That's very un-Lynx-like success for a team that has appeared in the playoffs only twice (2003, '04) in 10 seasons and never finished better than 18-16. Gillom had some answering to do to staff writer Roman Augustoviz after Wednesday's practice.

Q Why are the Lynx winning?

A This team is so young [three second-year players start, two rookies are the top reserves]. Our energy level hurts other teams. They come at us, they come at us. When they do make their runs, they are usually so tired -- we are just getting our energy started.

Q How is this team coping so well with adversity?

A I always said, "What don't kill you, make you stronger." And I think that is what is going on right now. They are like, "We are not dying. We are going to survive." They are playing like in survival mode.

Q Have expectations for the Lynx become greater because of the strong start?

A The pressure is going to start coming. I told them [Tuesday] night before the game [a 95-89 victory in Atlanta], the target is now on your back. It's a good thing that it is there because that means you are doing something great. But don't get caught up in the hype. We have to win 20 games. That's our focus until we get to 20 games, then they can breathe a little bit. [Gillom said in a previous interview that 20 victories would ensure the Lynx a playoff spot this season.]

Q What's the best and worst part of being a head coach?

A The best part is these girls are so coachable. They listen. They respond well. I'm just enjoying the relationship that I have with them. The worst part? When Seimone Augustus went down. You worry about injuries, you worry about those type of things.

Q How has your life changed being a head coach?

A I'm watching a lot more film than normal, that's for sure. When I was an assistant, I was just focused on the other team doing the scouting. But now I have to worry about other teams and my own team. So the workload is definitely a lot more, but it hasn't affected me yet because I am able to handle it so far. I don't know if it will take its toll as the season goes along.

Q What is your main job as head coach?

A Motivation is the key. These girls respond to the enthusiasm, the encouragement. They need that because they are so young. I also think that instruction is definitely the key because they are young, they are still learning. So you want to teach them tricks, you want to add on to their game, develop them as players.

Q What was it like being on national TV on Tuesday, with an ESPN2 camera in the locker room and in huddles on the sideline?

A It was kind of distracting more than anything. But it didn't bother me because I kept my focus on the game. I was thinking like a player: I'm here to play a game.