Seimone Augustus is about to enter her 10th WNBA season and is part of a core of veterans hoping to lead the Lynx to their third league championship in the past five seasons. With the start of the season coming up, she chatted with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand:
Q It was a whirlwind WNBA offseason, including playing overseas, national team obligations and marrying your fiancée, LaTaya Varner, in Hawaii. Did you have time to rest in there?
A No, but that’s the life of a women’s basketball player. We had to find the window of time to [get married], plus I had the national team and being here trying to grow this league.
Q You just turned 31. In almost any other job, people would call you young. When you’re a pro athlete, people start to whisper that you’re getting old. How does that make you feel?
A We always joke that I’m like wine and just keeping better with age. I’m a player that knows what I can do on the floor, and I never stray from that. And the beautiful thing is I have great teammates. … Whatever I lack, another one of my teammates, that’s their strength. And we have a great coach who understands that we have a few players over 30 and we have to taper back to make sure we aren’t burned out by the start of the season.
Q It’s your 10th year in the league. How do you try to keep improving as a player at this point?
A You work on your weakness, but you really make your strengths stronger. I’ve been one of the best players in this league at creating my own shots, midrange jump shots. But I’m always working on my three-point shot, working on my defense and continuing to be a leader — that’s been a progression since I got here in 2006.
Q What’s the motivation level with the Lynx this season after coming up short in the conference finals last year?
A Just the fact that last year, everything we went through, players in and out of the lineup, and we still made it to the conference finals, we know we still have what it takes to win. … And it gives us motivation when people say, “Diana [Taurasi] is sitting out, you have a chance, or Candace [Parker] is sitting out, or Brittney [Griner] is suspended, so now you have a chance.” With or without those players, we’d still compete at a high level.
Q What do you think of this new practice facility you’re in?
A This is amazing. We have anything and everything you can think of. Mr. [Glen] Taylor said he wanted everything to be equal between the Lynx and Timberwolves, and he didn’t shortcut anything. Anything they have on their side, we have on our side.
Q If you had a time machine and could go back and tell your 18-year-old self one thing — with all that hype you had — what would it be?
A That’s a tough one because I think I handled the situation the best I could. I wasn’t cocky or arrogant. … But if I had to go back, I remember Coach [Sue] Gunter, the [Louisiana State] head coach at the time, she called me a knucklehead. I was cut from a USA Basketball team and I was like, “I don’t ever want to go back.” … So I would try not to be a knucklehead and listen to the legends of coaching.