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Wiggins leads Lynx over Liberty

Jun 24, 2009 - 3:15 AM MINNEAPOLIS(AP) -- Candice Wiggins' scoring struggles ended at the right time for the Minnesota Lynx.

The second-year forward ended a four-game slump by scoring 18 of her season-high 25 points in the first half and the Minnesota Lynx snapped a two-game slide with a 69-57 victory over the New York Liberty on Tuesday night.

Lynx coach Jennifer Gillom spoke with her young star about slumps and leadership on the team's return from Seattle following a second straight lopsided loss on Friday, and the discussion seemed to resonate.

"Coach Jen said every player goes through slumps, I was like, 'no they don't,"' Wiggins said. "I missed a 1,000, 10,000 shots this season, but when that first shot goes in it's like, 'I'm back."'

Wiggins paced Minnesota's 21-2 third-quarter run with seven points and two assists, putting the Lynx up 59-38.

Roneeka Hodges added 10 for Minnesota, which played its first home game since leading scorer Seimone Augustus was lost for the season to a torn left ACL.

"She seemed to take over that Seimone role and did a great job," Gillom said. "I commended her for that - she didn't only think about herself, she was also playing with the team."

Shameka Christon had a season-high 25 points and New York (2-4) had its two-game winning streak end.

The Liberty trailed by 13 points in the first half and by 11 at halftime, then closed the gap to two with an 9-0 run to start the third quarter. But after going 0 for 7 with four turnovers in the first 4 minutes, 39 seconds of the third quarter, Minnesota (5-3) rallied.

Wiggins, who averaged 8.5 points on 30.6 percent shooting in her past four games, scored seven points and Kelly Miller added five during the next 4 1/2 minutes as the Lynx pulled away. Wiggins hit 9 of 19 shots from the floor and four 3 pointers. She finished two points shy of tying a career high.

"We gave her her right hand, and she's terrific going right," New York coach Pat Coyle said. "I give them credit. They lost two in a row and they were desperate and they played with that desperation, we didn't."

With Augustus in attendance on Tuesday wearing a large brace over her jeans, Minnesota had some much-needed moral support after losing its previous two games by a combined 52 points following a 4-1 start to the season.

"This is a crucial moment for us," Gillom said. "We needed this win tonight just to get that start and help these girls believe that we are a good team."

Notes: Augustus, who was leading the Lynx and was third in the WNBA in scoring at 21 points per game, must wait for the swelling in her knee to subside before the surgery. ... New York tied a season low with 57 points.