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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Augustus says Lynx need to be more aggressive, improve 'D' in Game 2

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: October 16, 2012 - 8:56 PM

Guard Seimone Augustus, who is averaging 20 points in the playoffs, knows what the Lynx need to do in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals.

"Come out with a little bit more fire than we had in Game 1," Augustus said. "Like I said before, being more aggressive on the defensive end. We can talk about offense all day, but defense is what wins championships and that is what we are focusing on [Tues]day and the day before in the video session, just being a little more aggressive."

The Lynx were 27-7 during the regular season and only once lost two games in a row, actually it was three in a row shortly before the five-week break for the London Olympics.

"I'm hoping we won’t lose 2 in a row," Augustus said. "We have been good in that point, bouncing back in tough game situations. And this is a perfect time for us to be able to bound back and go to Indiana and steal one on the road, or steal two on the road and pull this championship off."

Augustus led the Lynx with 23 points Sunday in their 76-70 loss to Indiana. But in the fourth quarter she only took two shots and missed both. She was at the free throw line twice, but made just one free throw.

"I was trying to be as effective as I could be on the court," she said. "As far as the fourth quarter goes, we all struggled offensively. Our offense wasn’t as smooth as we wanted it to be and it affected the way we scored the ball."

But that doesn't mean Game 2 will be anything like that.

"Every game is going to be different because strategies are different," Augustus said. "You tend to adjust."

Maya Moore said Augustus is very important to the Lynx. She provides leadership, scoring and defense.

"We are depending on her to do a lot. and that is not new," Moore said. "It  is something she had to do for this franchise for a long time. The difference is she has so much more talent around her now and she doesn’t have to score as much.

"But she is still going to have to score for us. She also gets assists, she also gets rebounds. She can do so many different things to help us, so even she doesn’t score 30 points,  we are still capable of winning."

SEIMONE SAYS

On reaction to her public support of gay marriage: "[It's been] all positive feedback, the messages  that i have got on Twitter. Everybody has been very supportive. With the [marriage] amendment coming up, everybody is like, 'We are going to get out and vote no. And thank you for stepping up and being supportive.' "

 On what she likes to buy: "I am a sneaker head. A pair of Jordans were my first shoes." ... She has orthotic devices in her shoes. ... "You look good, you play good that is my philosophy, and that’s what i do."

On how Lynx can win WNBA Finals: "Everybody needs to play like an MVP. Not just myself. We all have to play great bask in order to win."

On athletes speaking out on issues: "I don’t understand why people say that athletes shouldn’t voice their opinions. We have a voice as well and we have a platform that people respect us, they listen to us just as they listen to an R and B singer or a hip-hop artist. Let your voice be heard. Whether people like it or not, it is your opinion and that is how you feel."

REEVE HAS AUGUSTUS' BACK

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said Augustus needed help on Sunday. "When Seimone is the only one who is doing anything," Reeve said. "It just makes it very challenging for her, it wears her down."

Reeve also said she is behind Augustus in her support of gay marriage.

"I’m 100 percent supportive of Seimone, especially as it pertains to equality and, in this case, marriage equality. I am happy that we have someone as high profile as she is, that is as great of a person as she is, and she has a tremendous voice.

"I am hopeful for Seimone and a lot of other people that this amendment does not pass. And for her to have a voice to tell people to vote 'No.' And this is not even just about Seimone’s right to get married, this is to try to keep people from saying that the topic can’t even come up, that is the terrible part.

"We have spent millions upon millions of dollars to fight this idea of changing the constitution and that is unfortunate. I applaud Seimone to be able to be out in the forefront."

THE E FACTOR

Erlana Larkins had a big game for Indiana Sunday with 16 points and 15 rebounds.

"We thought we had a plan last time," Reeve said. "But, obviously,  we didn’t understand fully. We have a game plan in place, we will see if we can execute."

Game 2 is Wednesday at Target Center.

The Lynx had Taj McWilliams-Franklin on Larkins most of the time Sunday. "[Rebekkah] Brunson is a better matchup for [Tamika] Catchings," Reeve said. "And Taj’s only job is to block out [Larkins], but as we know that was a challenge for her."

Indiana coach Lin Dunn hopes Larkins continues to play the way she has. "Ever since we inserted her into the lineup, she has made me look like a coach that knows what they are doing," said Dunn,. who made Larkins a starter in the 33rd of 34 regular-season games. "We put her in there for her energy, her effort, her intensity, but more than anything for her rebounding.

"In the Atlanta series, with [Erika] de Souza and [Camille] Little it was obvious we were getting killed on the boards," Dunn said. "She is getting points and a lot of her points are garbage points, putbacks.

"If we were a little better coaches, we would get her the ball a little more because what was she, eight for 12? [Yes.] So we probably. need to think about her getting some more touches."

DOUGLAS UPDATE

Katie Douglas, 6-foot wing for Indiana, missed Sunday's game with a sprained left ankle and probably won't play in Game 2.

"She is doing better, the treatment is starting to take effect," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "She has had four days of treatment of it, [Tues]day is the fifth day. We saw improvement [Monday]. It's still not very likely [Dougles will play]  Wednesday, hopeful for Friday."

Dunn expects Douglas to remain in Indiana. "I don’t think she will be here unless [her doctors] rule her out of the series. Then it would be OK to travel. As long as it is getting better, traveling up here is detrimental to the treatment

"I don’t know what they do with ankles. I think there are four different sessions a day, cold, hot, i don’t know, massage. Whatever they do to try to get the swelling out."

ROAD TEAMS RULE

 This is an amazing statistic. I had to look it up before I believed it. Since 2009, the road team has won eight of nine games in the Lynx-Indiana series.

The scores:

2009

June 7 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse .... Lynx 96, Indiana 74 ... Visitors 1-0

Aug. 13 at Target Center ... Indiana 91, Lynx 81 ... Visitors 2-0

2010

June 6 at Target Center ... Indiana 89, Lynx 51 ... Visitors 3-0

Aug. 22 at Banker Life Fieldhouse ... Lynx 83, Indiana 79 ... Visitors 4-0

2011

June 26 at Target Center ... Indiana 78, Lynx 75 ... Visitors 5-0

July 15 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse ... Lynx 80, Indiana 70 ... Visitors 6-0

2012

Sept. 14 at Bankers Fieldhouse ... Lynx 66, Indiana 64 .... Visitors 7-0

Sept. 17 at Target Center .... Lynx 86, Indiana 79 ... Visitors' winning streak snapped at seven

Oct. 14 at Target Center ... Indiana 76, Lynx 70 ... Visitors 6-1

The Lynx actually have a five-game winning streak at Indiana. They won there 84-80 on July 24, 2008 to start it.

Asked about winning on the road, Dunn said, "We know if we defend and rebound -- no matter where we play -- at a high level, you are going to have a chance to win.

"Now normally I would say defend, rebound, get to the free throw line. But we did not get to the free throw line near as many times as they did [on Sunday], and that was a little bit of a concern of mine."

The Fever were 9 of  9 on free throws, the Lynx 15 of 21.

"It was a very physical game," Dunn said, "and some how they ended up gettng double the free throws we did. [So] we did two out of three. We did rebound at a high level and we did defend at a high level and that gives you a chance to win no matter where you are."

* The Lynx have a five-game winning streak at Indiana, last losing there in their season opener on Mary 19, 2007. The Fever won that game 83-64.

ETC.

The Lynx-Indiana game on ESPN2 last Sunday had a 2.9 rating in the Twin Cities market, meaning 50,000 households tuned in.
 

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