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Despite the loss of perennial All Star and scoring leader Seimone Augustus, the Minnesota Lynx sit at the top of the Western Conference with a 7-3 record. With Augustus out, players like Charde Houston have picked up the slack.

The second year forward is averaging 14.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for the surprising squad. I caught up with Houston last week to talk about the tumultuous, yet successful season.

DZ: It’s been a pretty crazy year, just going back a few weeks ago you had a different coach (Don Zierden) and a healthy Seimone Augustus. How long ago does that seem right now?

HOUSTON: We are already almost 10 games into the season; it just goes to show you that time really does pass you by fast. At the same time, we’ve had to fight adversity - you can’t dwell on it because before you know it, the season will be gone. We’ve taken it, we’ve accepted and we’ve done our best to deal with the situation at hand.

DZ: You are a player who can score, with Seimone out is this even more of a chance for you to assert yourself in that role?

HOUSTON: It’s not necessarily me, it’s the whole team. Even before Seimone got hurt, there wasn’t one person who could physically carry this team, so I don’t look at it like that. Now with Seimone gone the entire team as a whole understands that we have to step up and come together in order to try to fill her shoes.

DZ: This has got to be a pretty cool place for you to play, you have a teammate who you grew up with in Candice Wiggins and Renee (Montgomery) who you played in college with. Could you talk a little bit about that?

HOUSTON: It’s a very, very comforting feeling to know that you are around people who you’ve grown up with. It helps a lot and at the same time you also know they way they play, their style so it’s easy to play with them as far as chemistry goes…The Twin Cities is such a great place, it’s a place where I am very comfortable, the fans are very accepting and we have a great support staff to help us along the way.

DZ: Going back to last year, you were a 3rd round pick who is trying to make the team, this year you come in as a starter. Talk a little about the different mindsets of the two seasons.

HOUSTON: The mindset for me is always the same. Every time I step on the floor, I want to compete, I want to play hard and I play as if I have to make the team all over again. I feel like once you become complacent, that’s when you tend not to improve and develop as a person as well as a basketball player. For me, I just want to make major improvements every year.

DZ: One of the things fans notice about you other than your game is your different hairstyles. This year, you haven’t done too much, but last year you switched it up quite a bit, could you just talk about that?

HOUSTON: My hair is a big thing for me - not just hair, but hygiene in general. Because we sweat so much, it tends to not be so comfortable for me so I change my hair a lot…Hair is such a broad thing, you can have it short, you can have it long - there are many things you can do.  I am just so free spirited, I just like to try new things.

DZ: You guys are going to be home a lot for this stretch are there any new styles we should be looking for?

HOUSTON: Yeah, I haven’t decided yet, but the next week or so I will definitely have a new one (laughs).

(Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Lynx)