Seimone Augustus, still ‘Money’ for Minnesota


Seimone Augustus has now played in the WNBA for twelve years. Drafted by the Minnesota Lynx in 2006, she was the first building block to the core we’ve seen in six of the last seven WNBA Finals.

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Offensively, she has been sacrificing to allow others to shine. Her regular season numbers aren’t quite near her career norms — 11 points per game with four assists. Her efficiency and effectiveness were never in doubt, considering her team’s main objectives to play through Sylvia Fowles and dominate with their defense once again.

Augustus was a star in her role all season long in regard to the former. She set a career high in assists, shot 50.2% from the floor and made 43% of her three-pointers. Augustus is a problem running around screens. Hesitate for a second or get caught up on a screen and she’s burying a jumper.

In addition to being an expert in getting around those screens to find her own shots, Augustus makes the right read to find one of her bigs slipping to the rim. Many times, that would be Fowles. Augustus made plays for the Lynx even when Maya Moore was the one jetting around a pair of screens.

Augustus flashed a great connection with Fowles all season long with lob passes, too. This play from crunch time in Game 4 embodies both her confidence in that connection and the difficulty of so many of those passes:

Augustus makes a lot of things look easy. “Money ‘Mone” has the kind of game fans might refer to as smooth.

Seimone Augustus got a phone call from her grandmother prior to the start of the semifinals. The story made the rounds as Augustus dominated that round from the opening tip with 19 points, four rebounds and four assists on 63% shooting. Her game — more specifically, her jumper — looked smooth as ever.

Maintaining that level of shot making would be tough for any player. Now more than a week removed from Game 5, it is well known that Augustus still managed to make big plays for her team. She got plenty of help from her teammates, too.

There was no stopping Sylvia Fowles from start to finish. Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen were going to make plays in big moments. Rebekkah Brunson rebounded from a disappointing Game 1 performance to dominate the paint.

“We knew it was going to come down to our starters and their starters,” Cheryl Reeve said after Game 5. As the calendar quickly turns to the NBA, college and overseas seasons, don’t sell the achievements of that group short. And don’t forget about Seimone Augustus, the fifth member of one of the most dangerous and accomplished lineups in pro basketball.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 5: Seimone Augustus
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 5: Seimone Augustus /

As great as Fowles was in that series from start to finish, the Lynx needed their guards to make plays. They needed to knock down tough shots.

“Seimone became a passer until her grandma called her in the first round. Her grandma finally called her and said, ‘you probably should score a little bit for this team to win a championship.’ Seimone hit some big shots.” Reeve said.

Augustus scored in double figures in each of Minnesota’s three Finals victories. She got going in the first half of Game 5 running around a screen from Fowles and tossing in a floater.


She hit a three after a Fowles offensive rebound moments later. As much as she excels around screens, as a passer and with her crossover in isolations, perhaps a sequence like this one represents her season best.

Offensive rebounds create wild scrambles for any defense when shooting is on the floor. Augustus hit several soul-crushing shots off offensive rebounds in the previous round against Washington. Maybe the phone call from grandma played a part, but her decisiveness to just catch and shoot when she was open really stood out in watching her team all season.

Augustus was just as eager to take shots like that one as she was an elbow jumper coming around a curl. Take that, throw in the passing, the ability to score on isos and you’re looking at a complete basketball player.

Defense matters when tossing around words like complete. The Lynx remained the class of the league on that end once again this season. These Finals called for her to guard All-WNBAer Chelsea Gray.

Gray went off on Minnesota in their building in Game 1 for 27 points, and of course, the game-winning shot.

Thanks largely to Augustus, Gray never got loose to that extent again. Gray hit four threes in Game 1; she went 0-for-7 from deep in the final two games.

Fatigue looked to play a part in that, especially in Game 4. Minnesota’s bigs deserve plenty of credit in limiting Gray as well. The Lynx weren’t going to go down at the hands of Gray. The Sparks put Gray in lots of pick and rolls and dribble handoffs. Fowles and Brunson stepped up to meet her, taking away easy pull up jumpers or clear driving lanes to the rim.

On ball defenders need to get around those screens and back into the play, too, or else you’re playing 4 on 5. Augustus went through that grind to constantly get through screens and extra bodies to get back into the play with Gray.

Gray’s production after Game 1 was still very solid — 13 points and 7 assists per game. You live with that after that same player hung 27 and 6 on you to open the series.

Every little bit mattered. Augustus and her teammates were successful in getting back into plays against Gray and eliminating as many of her open jumpers as possible.

Gray in the final four Finals games: 20-45 FG (44%), 4-15 3PT (26.7%), 9 FTAs, 28:12 Ast:TO.

Many fans are already eagerly anticipating another rematch. Gray, just 24 years old, is a sure bet to remain a key player to watch, likely to also continue to get better from here.

Guarding Chelsea Gray alone requires a great deal of energy and focus. Late in a decisive Game 5, at the close of another taxing series, Augustus still managed to knock down tough shots.

Odyssey Sims was right in her face as she rose up to take this shot.

Inside the final three minutes, Augustus found herself isolated against Gray near the top of the floor.

That shot pushed Minnesota’s lead to 12. As we now know, the Sparks roared back with a 9-0 run. Every bit of cushioning was crucial at that point.

Augustus has been a WNBA player for 12 years now; the league has only been in existence for 21. Half of her campaigns have ended with a Finals appearance. Four of those 12 times, “Money ‘Mone” has been a WNBA champion.

Like the rest of her star teammates, it is hard to imagine that she and the Lynx will be falling off soon after seeing them perform once again at such a high level.

A Sparks-Lynx rematch couldn’t possibly disappoint. But for the rest of the league to have a chance? They’d just better hope that Augustus doesn’t get another call from her grandma.