Seimone Augustus was feeling much better Sunday than after the Lynx's season-opening loss two days before. She was hungry, too, as the paper plate of small wieners in her hands suggested.
On Sunday, Augustus scored 17 points, 15 in the first half, to lead the Lynx past the Los Angeles Sparks 86-69 in their first home game. Five other Lynx players also scored in double figures, delighting an announced crowd of 10,123 at Target Center. At least 7,000 with tickets actually came.
What they saw was a much different game than Friday's meeting between the teams at the Staples Center. Los Angeles beat the Lynx that night for the eighth consecutive time, 82-74. Augustus, a sixth-year veteran, took it personally.
"I didn't sleep too well and I didn't eat either. Just focusing on the game," said Augustus, who scored only six points. Every shot she took seemed to go in and out.
Augustus, whose career average is 20.3 points, said she tried to be aggressive Sunday from the start. She made her first two shots in the first 1 minute, 19 seconds.
"[Seimone] said enough is enough with this L.A. thing," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "We had a short conversation and the game plan was to get Mone off early. If she can get off early, then she feels pretty good."
Augustus made seven of 15 shots from the field, including one three-pointer, and also had five rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
"You saw a lot of determination on [Lynx] faces tonight, especially Augustus," Sparks coach Jen Gillom said. "From the beginning of the game she came out with a will to win. You saw it right away. We did a good job on her in L.A. but she thought, 'I am the leader of this team and I need to put this team on my back.' And I thought she did a great job."
Gillom was the Lynx coach in 2009, but she left the next season to take the Sparks job. Reeve replaced her.
"Coach said approach these [first two] games like playoff basketball and that's how we wanted to approach them," said Augustus, who had scored six, eight, six and eight points in her previous four games against the Sparks. "Anytime you face L.A., it's a very tough team. You have Candace Parker, Tina Thompson and the list goes on of players that can make the difference in a game."
By halftime, though, the Lynx led 46-40 despite Ticha Penicheiro's 31-foot runner for the Sparks at the buzzer.
A 17-2 Lynx run at the start of the second half made the score 63-44. Rookie Maya Moore had two early three-pointers in that run and finished with 16 points. Reserves Monica Wright and Amber Harris had 11 points apiece. Starters Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalen each scored 10 points. The 6-2 Brunson also had 15 rebounds, and Whalen added seven assists.
"That's the way we are going to be this year is having lots of people being able to put the ball in the hole," Whalen said. "We all kind of took turns [Sunday]. Mone started off really well and then Maya started the third quarter [well]. We all had our moments."
Whalen said she was sure Augustus would play better. "Some nights the ball rims out a bunch and you have some turnovers; everybody has those nights," Whalen said. "The best thing to do is to play two nights later and get 15 points in the first half and really set the tone. [Augustus] did that."
And she probably slept soundly Sunday night.