Anosike leads Lynx late in 83-81 win over DreamJul 14, 2010 - 11:21 PM By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS(AP) -- After blowing a big lead and fighting through a back-and-forth second half, the Minnesota Lynx had the Atlanta Dream right where they wanted them in the final half-minute.
Reading the zone defense just right, Nicky Anosike finished off a well-rounded afternoon with a pretty pass to Rebekkah Brunson.
Anosike had a season-high 16 points, a late steal and a picture-perfect assist to Brunson for the go-ahead layup with 7.2 seconds left to lift the Lynx to an 83-81 victory over the Dream on Wednesday.
"Just the way we drew it up," teammate Lindsay Whalen said.
Seimone Augustus scored 22 points and Whalen added 17 points for Minnesota (7-11) in this once-a-year midweek matinee, delighting the thousands of screaming kids on summer break after the Lynx squandered a 14-point first-half lead.
Anosike stole a bounce pass from Shalee Lehning toward the post for Erika de Souza and drew a foul with 38.1 seconds remaining, draining both free throws to tie the game at 81. After de Souza airballed a jumper from the top of the key, with Whalen putting a hand in her face, the Lynx had the ball and set up for the winning shot.
Anosike took the ball and threaded the high-low pass to Brunson as she cut to the basket for the easy layup and the lead. Angel McCoughtry, who led the Dream with 25 points, missed an off-balance try on the other end. After de Souza's 20th rebound, her short putback right before the buzzer hit the rim with Brunson defending and boxing out.
The steal might have been Anosike's most important contribution, since the Dream had an opportunity to take a two-possession lead in the final minute.
"I had to do whatever I had to do to get the ball," Anosike said.
The Dream beat the Lynx 76-58 in Atlanta on July 1, when the Lynx shot just 29.9 percent from the floor while going 2 for 18 in the first quarter. They avoided such a sluggish start this time, scoring 25 points in the first quarter.
All-Star Iziane Castro Marques had 20 points despite 13 missed field goals for the Dream, who were 1 for 18 from 3-point range and again missing starter Sancho Lyttle due to the after-effects of a concussion. They still managed to come within six points of their scoring average with a second-half surge, after McCoughtry and Castro Marques combined for only 10 points in the first half.
"They played the best they could in the first half," McCoughtry said, "and we didn't."
The Dream fell to 8-2 against the weaker Western Conference.
"We didn't play hard enough in the first half. I think that was the biggest difference in the game," Dream coach Marynell Meadors said, reflecting on 13 turnovers and 13 fouls by her team over the first 20 minutes. "We can't take anything away from Minnesota, because they played well."
The Lynx picked up just their second win against the East this season. Five of the league's 10 teams currently have winning records, and this was the first victory against those opponents for the Lynx in six tries. More importantly, they moved ahead of Phoenix and San Antonio and into second place in the West with this win - though they're still 9 1/2 games behind Seattle (17-2).
"We're feeling really confident right now," Whalen said.
After starting 2-9, the Lynx have won five of their last seven games. They're 2-0 at the beginning of a six-game homestand, after this important victory over the second-highest scoring squad in the WNBA and the Eastern Conference's first-place team when the day began. With the loss, the Dream (14-6) fell to second, percentage points behind Washington (12-5).
Atlanta backup guards Kelly Miller and Coco Miller played together in their home state for the first time since they turned pro. Years before Whalen was a program-changing star at the University of Minnesota, the Miller twins became women's basketball pioneers in this state. Kelly was a starter last season for the Lynx and then joined the Dream in March. Coco re-signed with Atlanta simultaneously.
MINNESOTA 83 FINAL
Jul 14 3:17 PM
MINNESOTA 25 END, 1ST QTR
Jul 14 1:31 PM
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