MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Taj McWilliams-Franklin made a 15-footer and a pair of key defensive plays in the final minute of the second overtime Friday night as the Minnesota Lynx rallied from a 25-point deficit and defeated the Atlanta Dream 97-93 in a rematch of last year’s WNBA Finals.
Maya Moore scored 23 points to lead the Lynx (23-4) to their 10th straight victory. McWilliams-Franklin added 15 points, Rebekkah Brunson had 15 points and 18 rebounds, and Seimone Augustus added 14 as Minnesota completed its largest comeback victory in franchise history.
Angel McCoughtry scored 30 points to lead the Dream (15-14) while Lindsey Harding added 23. Atlanta has now lost eight straight to Minnesota, including a 3-0 sweep in the Finals a year ago.
Augustus did not play the final possession of regulation or in the overtime periods after suffering a right ankle injury. Augustus stayed on the bench and was able to stand on the ankle, but walked with a limp.
Minnesota appeared have the game won at the end of the first overtime. The Lynx led 84-83 with 2.4 second when Whalen went to the free throw to ice the game. After making the first free throw, she missed the second and the Dream answered.
McCoughtry drove down the middle of the lane for a layup that it at 85-all and forced a second extra period.
Whalen quickly scored the first basket of the second overtime and Moore followed with another that gave the Lynx an 89-85 lead.
McWilliams-Franklin’s 15-footer with 42.5 seconds to play put Minnesota ahead for good, 95-93. She followed that with a block in the paint of McCoughtry’s shot and forced the Dream into a turnover.
Candice Wiggins, who had 11 points including two key 3-pointers late in regulation and in the first overtime, made a pair of free throws to complete the victory.
Minnesota made just three of its first 23 shots and trailed 50-25 with 1:25 to play in the first half. But the Lynx outscored Atlanta 48-27 in the third and fourth quarters to get to overtime.
Minnesota opened the second half on a 16-3 run to get back into the game and continued to chip away at Atlanta’s lead from there. The Lynx cut it to 62-56 late in the third quarter, and kept pushing in the ball up the floor in the fourth.
Wiggins found Augustus in the right corner for a transition 3-pointer with 5:21 to play to pull Minnesota to 68-67. A little more than 3 minutes later, Wiggins hit a 3 from the left wing to tie the score at 75-all.
Erika de Souza gave Atlanta a 79-77 lead with a putback layup with 44.1 seconds to play. But Minnesota tied the game on the ensuing possession when Moore found McWilliams-Franklin for a layup with 30.5 seconds to play.
After getting a defensive stop, the Lynx had a chance to win in regulation. Minnesota held for the last shot, but never got a shot off.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)