On a scale of one to 10 the pain was an eight, Seimone Augustus said. Maybe a nine. Every move she made she felt it, a stab just below her left knee.
“Every step I felt pain,” she said.
It didn’t show. For a while now Augustus has been dealing with bursitis pain in the knee. It was bad enough that she had to miss the Lynx’s loss Wednesday in Phoenix, the second of back-to-back games. But, coming home, playing for a Lynx team badly needing a win, Augustus wasn’t going to sit again.
So she played. And she hit nine of 14 shots, scored 19 points in 26-plus minutes, setting the tone for a 75-65 victory over a gritty, but slumping, Washington team on a night when the Lynx went over the 2,000,000 mark in attendance in franchise history.
Afterward coach Cheryl Reeve thanked her star for showing so much grit. “She’s hurting,” Reeve said. “She took it for the team today.’’
The Lynx (10-4) needed it. Sunday against Indiana the Lynx will play their sixth game in 10 days. Minnesota entered the game with tired legs — “It’s like we were running through mud,” Reeve said — and in need of a win, having lost four of their past six. Knowing that, Reeve substituted like she was a hockey coach, running players into the game in waves, trying to keep everyone fresh.
Augustus? When she wasn’t playing, she was on the bench, her knee wrapped in a heating pad.
“With the pain she has, she still goes 9-for-14?” Maya Moore asked. “You can’t help but want to play hard when she plays like that.”
And so the Lynx did. Moore scored 20 points, had 10 rebounds and came three assists short of registering the fifth triple-double in WNBA history. “I needed more time,” she joked.
Lindsay Whalen had 12 points and seven assists. Center Janel McCarville scored eight points with seven rebounds. Reserves contributed as well. Devereaux Peters, getting closer to 100 percent, was strong on the boards. Tan White was, too.
And, against a Mystics team that knows how to control the tempo, the Lynx played good team defense, holding Washington to 35.9 percent shooting. The Mystics (5-8) got 14 points from Kara Lawson and 10 each from Kia Vaughn and Bria Hartley.
The Lynx trailed 11-9 with 2:28 left in the first quarter. But, from there until Tricia Liston scored on the break 3:58 into the second quarter, the Lynx outscored Washington 26-7. The Mystics cut that lead below 10 points a number of times but were never able to come back all the way.
Augustus led the way. Now she needs to get through Sunday’s game before four off days.
“I gotta do what I gotta do,” Augustus said. “I guess 50 percent of me is better than none of me on the court.’’
Notes: Ted Johnson, chief marketing officer and senior vice president for the Lynx and Timberwolves, said the plan is to make bids for both the NBA and WNBA All-Star Games and an NCAA Women’s Final Four once the Target Center renovation is complete, which is expected to be in the fall of 2016.
The WNBA All-Star Game is decided on a year-by-year basis, the NBA is on a two-year cycle and the NCAA Women’s Final Four sites have been determined through 2020.
• Former Minneapolis South star Tayler Hill, who gave birth to a son Wednesday, is expected to return to the Mystics later this season.