MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Lynx veteran Seimone Augustus heard the outside noise last season, and for a while, she started to believe it.
“I started to feel old,” Augustus said. “We heard it a lot last season like, ‘You’re old. You’re old. You’re old.’ Some of us started to feel a little bit older than we actually were.”
With training camp in full swing, that feeling has been flipped on its head.
Gone are veterans Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson. In are young guns Napheesa Collier, Lexie Brown and Kenisha Bell, among others.
For the first time in years, the Lynx are on the outside looking in at teams expected to compete for a WNBA championship. But while this could be an up-and-down campaign, there might be a silver lining.
“Just being around this youthful energy has helped me get myself together,” said Augustus. “Now, with the younger players in here I’m feeling a lot better. Just get out of bed and make sure my bones crack and get ready to go. I’m going to give what I can when I can. Hopefully that will be enough.”
In some ways, it has been a welcome change for coach Cheryl Reeve, who over the past couple of seasons had to take a “less is more” approach with her veteran WNBA champions. Sometimes rest was more beneficial to the team than anything.
“I think the group is actually enjoying practice,” Reeve said. “I haven’t had that for a while. We are no longer in this less-is-more phase. There’s an eagerness to do anything we ask of them.”
It’s not necessarily better one way or the other. It’s just different.
“I’ve learned that this group really wants to learn and they play really hard,” Reeve said. “I think the combination of those things is going to allow us to have some success no matter what. Now more than ever, we’re going day by day.”
The Lynx have one more exhibition game Sunday at Las Vegas before opening their season against the Chicago Sky on May 25 at Target Center.
With so many new faces, perhaps the only constant from last season will be finding a way to get Sylvia Fowles the ball in the low post. She has been one of the team’s best players since she arrived via trade in 2015, and that isn’t about to change.
“I don’t see anything wrong with it,” Fowles said with a laugh. “I’m OK with my role. Even though we have a lot of new faces, our foundation is going to stay the same.”
In that same breath, Fowles, 33, debunked the theory put forth by Augustus, 35. “I’ve been youthful; I don’t know about Seimone,” she said before quickly adding, “Don’t tell her I said that.”
In all seriousness, Fowles agreed that the youthful energy of new teammates has helped keep everyone on their toes.
“Their energy level is different,” Fowles said. “I love coming to practice every day and being around these kids (and) the energy that they give. They make us be there and want to go out and do our job.”
As much as Augustus feels rejuvenated, there are still sobering moments. Made aware that she has now outlasted Moore, Whalen and Brunson from the dynasty that has won four championships since 2011, Augustus paused.
“Dang. That makes me feel old,” she said.
“I’m still here and I’ve got a lot of knowledge to pass on to the younger players,” she added. “We enjoyed the journey that we had with Maya, Whay, Brunson, and now we have to start to create another Maya, another Whay, another Brunson out of the players that we have on the roster. It’s going to take some time. We can definitely see the potential, though, and that’s a great thing.”