Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Reeve, Augustus like light shining on Title IX this weekend

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: June 24, 2012 - 11:38 PM

The Lynx and Chicago Sky wore jerseys with a big Roman numeral "IX" on the front of them.

And Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was repeatedly asked this week about Title IX. She didn't mind the questions at all.

"A 40th anniversary is a great time to educate young people, who many don't know, what [Title IX] is and how they directly benefit from it," Reeve said. "I love it for that reason. To shine a really bright light it. I always tell young people, I tell the stories of women like, being at the same age as them, that didn't get the opportunity to do what they have.

"Not that they take it for granted -- because they don't know any better. It is important from an educational standpoint and just as a reminder."

Reeve was a youngster when Title IX, a law barring discrimination based on sex in high schools and college receiving federal aid, became law.

":I was just 6 years old when Title IX was passed," she said. "I was an athlete from the time I was 4 years old. So for me, I am not going to say I understood it when I was 6 years old. But it absolutely affected me: Getting a full scholarship to play."

Reeve played basketball at La Salle, a college in Philadelphia, starting in 1984.

"Just 12 years before that there weren't those opportunities," she said. "I would have gone to college anyway [without a scholarship]. I am not sure what the sports scene would have looked like. I am sure I would have tried to play whether there was money or not because it was a passion of mine.

"But I cringe at the idea of being 10 years before and wanting to do something and being talented at it, but not being able to pursue it because somebody is telling me you can't. And rewind that to be growing up in the '60s and being told you have to play half-court. You have to play six-on-six and you can't cross half court. Being told you can't do something physically because of the concern on your reproductive organs, you might hurt yourself.

"I am so glad that I didn't live during that time. I am sure I would have been in jail."

Arrested for protesting.

Reeve said she remembers being a college coach at Indiana State from 1995 to 2000 and recruiting in Iowa when that state still had six-on-six girls basketball. Iowa kept playing that style of basketball the longest.  Said Reeve, "Then they finally got rid of it."

In high school in New Jersey, Reeve tried field hockey in the fall -- "I didn't like it very much" -- and tennis. At an earlier age, she played soccer in the fall.

"Winter was basketball all the way," Reeve said "And I was a big-time softball player. So I was a three-sport athlete all the way through."

She said without sports she has no idea what her life would have looked like.

"I can't even imagine it," Reeve said. "From the time I was 4. I was a 9-year-old in Omaha, Neb., playing baseball with the boys because that was my only opportunity to play. And I am so fortunate that I had parents, especially a dad who -- I had two brothers. He treated us all the same.

"The expectations were all the same. Whether it came to the chores around the house or it came to sports. He didn't treat me differently because I was a girl. He didn't shield me from boy things.

"All three of us were gifted athletically and again I had built in brothers to play with. And like I said, I didn't have the opportunity to play on an all-girls softball team at the age of 9. Soccer? I am playing with boys."

Reeve lived in Omaha for the first 9 years of her life and in Georgia for her middle school years. Then her father retired from the military and her family moved to New Jersey when she was in ninth grade and she stayed in that state through high school.

* Reeve was on Ch. 4 with Mark Rosen on Rosen's Sunday Sports. He asked her if this Lynx team was better than last year's. She said it could be because the bench is stronger.

 AUGUSTUS: TITLE IX LIFE-CHANGING

Seimone Augustus is another big supporter of Title IX, the 1972 law which created athletic opportunities for girls and women.

"I wouldn't be here today if It wasn't for Title IX," said Augustus, the leading scorer for the Lynx. "And a lot of women, not just those in sports careers, women in other professions as well if it wasn't for Title IX, we wouldn't be able to be were we are today."

So what would Augustus be doing if she were not playing in the WNBA? "I have no idea," she said. "[I'd] probably [be] in the military or something like that. That's what I am saying. Title IX has changed the whole mindset. If basketball wasn't here, I don't know what I would be doing."

* The Lynx are 8-1 now the game after a loss since the start of the 2011 season.

'MONE OK HEALTH-WISE

Augustus took only one shot and was scoreless in the first half for the Lynx on Saturday as they rolled to a 51-34 lead against Chicago at the Target Center.

She was three for eight in the second half and finished with 10 points as the Lynx beat the Sky 79-67.

A few days before Saturday's game, after a practice, Augustus said, that physically she feels as good as she is going to feel this season.  She recently missed two games with a strained right quad. Cheryl Reeve, her coach, said Augustus' left knee was bothering her of late.

"Everybody at this point in time of the season [one-third of the way through the WNBA regular season], has some nicks and bruises and stuff like that," Augustus said.  "It is something I am going to have to play through. Work through. But I am fine."

Augustus had 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds on Thursday as the Lynx routed the New York Liberty.  She was especially fine that game.

 

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