Former LSU Tigers women's basketball player Seimone Augustus was honored by a statue that was unveiled outside the program's arena, the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, on Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Augustus went to the women's Final Four three times with the Tigers. She was then the No. 1 pick in the 2006 WNBA draft by the Minnesota Lynx, with whom she played 14 years and won four league championships. Augustus finished her WNBA career in 2020 with the Los Angeles Sparks. She also won three Olympic gold medals with the U.S. women's team.
Augustus, 38, is the first female LSU athlete to have a statue on campus. LSU coach Kim Mulkey said honoring Augustus and other program legends was one of her big priorities when she came to the school in 2021.
"So many people were involved in this journey," Augustus said. "I'm just thankful it's happening. Coach Mulkey did an amazing job in getting this done. It's awesome to just think about what this moment means.
"I didn't do this alone. A lot of the female athletes here from my time were an inspiration. We were all going on our own race, our own journey, and I do stand here proudly as a representation of all those women. So many great female athletes have come through LSU that have made statements in their respective sports. I won't be the last one that will be acknowledged."
Augustus is a native of Baton Rouge, and she was heavily recruited as a prep player, including by Mulkey when she was an assistant for the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters. Then Mulkey took over as head coach for the Baylor Bears in 2000. Mulkey said she thought that Augustus' ties to her hometown were too strong for her to go anywhere else for college.
"Honestly, I never thought we were in it," Mulkey said of signing Augustus. "In my heart of hearts, I just couldn't see her ever not playing for LSU."
As a sophomore in 2004, Augustus led the program to its first of five consecutive women's Final Four appearances. The Tigers never did make the NCAA final, though, losing in the national semifinals each of those years. In 2005, they lost in the semifinal to Mulkey's Baylor team, which went on to win the national championship.
Augustus, the consensus 2005 and 2006 national player of the year in women's basketball, finished her LSU career averaging 19.3 points and 5.2 rebounds. In her 15 WNBA seasons, she averaged 15.4 points and 3.1 rebounds, and was an eight-time All-Star. She was also 2006 WNBA rookie of the year and the 2011 WNBA Finals MVP.
Her No. 33 jersey was retired by LSU in 2010 and by the Lynx in 2022. Augustus said among other athletes she hopes will also be honored by LSU is her former Tigers and Lynx teammate Sylvia Fowles, who retired after the 2022 WNBA season.
Current LSU standout Angel Reese recently posted a photo on social media of herself posing with Augustus after a 2011 WNBA game in Washington, D.C. Reese was 9 years old at the time, and growing up in suburban Baltimore, often attended Washington Mystics games to watch players from all over the league. Augustus was one of her favorites.
"And now I'm at LSU, following her footsteps," said Reese, who transferred to LSU from Maryland. "I always looked up to Seimone and Maya Moore, those kinds of players. Being able to go to their games at such a young age and talk to the players, that was important to me. My mom always said that could be me one day."
Augustus said she is proud of Reese and the Tigers who are currently one of three unbeaten teams left in Division I women's basketball. Augustus said she hopes things like her statue continue to inspire future generations.
"It's like coaches always say, you never know who's watching," Augustus said. "That picture symbolized that. I always wanted to make sure I gave autographs and pictures to younger people. Not knowing this day would come, but thankful it did come, because Miss Reese is now a Tiger."