Augustus, Currie have same goal: this title

April 02, 2006|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTER

Boston -- Seimone Augustus and Monique Currie have eclipsed 2,000 points, won national honors and led their teams to the Final Four.

Neither, though, has played on a national championship team.

Both will attempt to change that tonight at 9:30, when Augustus and LSU meet Currie and Duke in an NCAA tournament national semifinal at TD Banknorth Garden.

The winner will play North Carolina or Maryland in the title game Tuesday night at 8:30 -- and Augustus or Currie will get a shot at that elusive prize.

"I guess it's kind of a push," said Augustus, a senior forward. "This is the last one. You can either play one or two games, and I'm trying to stay here to play two games. I don't want to end my career on a bad note."

Currie is just as eager. The fifth-year senior forward delayed a career in the WNBA and returned to school this season for a chance to win a national title.

"The chances of winning a national championship are so slim, and I know [that]," she said. "I came back for that reason, but at the same time, I'm really proud of how my career has gone at Duke, and I think we've had a lot of accomplishments during that time. If we don't win it, we don't win it. Of course, I'll be disappointed, but it won't mark my whole career as being a failure."

Both players continue to be their teams' catalysts. Augustus, the Wade Trophy Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, leads the Lady Tigers (31-3), the San Antonio Regional champions, in scoring (23.0 points) and is the only player in school history with 2,500 points, 600 rebounds and 250 assists.

Currie, a two-time member of the Kodak All-America team, paces the Blue Devils (30-3), the Bridgeport Regional titlists, in scoring (16.3) and ranks third all-time at the school with 2,087 points.

And yet both players are quick to point out that they wouldn't be successful without the players around them. Augustus has relied on 6-foot-6 sophomore center Sylvia Fowles (16.1 points and 11.6 rebounds) to provide another option on offense, and sophomore point guard Erica White is averaging 5.5 assists and runs LSU's half-court offense.

Currie's numbers have dipped in large part because of Duke's increased depth. Senior forward Mistie Williams and junior point guard Lindsey Harding average 11.4 and 10.5 points, respectively, and the Blue Devils can go nine deep.

Lady Tigers coach Pokey Chatman said Augustus and Currie have hungered for a national championship.

"That's why they signed up to come to these schools and play basketball for 11 months of the year and give up so many things like holidays and seeing their families and friends," Chatman said. "The sense of urgency has more to do with [being a] senior and college days and how to help my team improve."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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