Lynx 97, Dream 93
The halftime message from Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was simple: A half of basketball is a long time, there are a lot of possessions and a deficit of more than 20 points can be made up.
It turns out that Reeve was right.
Maya Moore scored 19 of her 23 points after the break, Seimone Augustus had 12 of her 14 points in the second half before leaving with an ankle injury, and Taj McWilliams-Franklin made a key jumper and two big defensive plays in the second overtime to help the Lynx outlast the Dream 97-93 Friday night.
''I was really appreciative at halftime that they weren't going to quit,'' Reeve said. ''Not a thing went our way in the first half ... and we were determined to make our breaks in the second half.''
Instead of folding and playing frustrated, the Lynx defended and attacked after the break, and matched the biggest comeback in WNBA history en route to their 10th straight win. The second half was an example of why defending champion Minnesota (23-4) has the best record in the WNBA - they got production up and down their roster.
McWilliams-Franklin finished with 15 points, Rebekkah Brunson also scored 15 and had 14 of her 18 rebounds after the break, and Wiggins added 11 points, including two big 3-pointers late in regulation and overtime.
''We never panicked which is really good to see,'' Moore said. ''Usually what it comes down to is effort and focus. We had to work harder and harder and harder and know that the other team has to break at some point.
''I'm just so proud of this team with how we responded. Our hearts don't quit and we were able to pull out a big win.''
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.
While any comeback that equaled Detroit's 25-point comeback against Los Angeles in May 2005 would be satisfying, the Lynx were specially pleased to beat the Dream.
''To come back in double overtime and to just outlast them, it's like a playoff game,'' McWilliams-Franklin said. ''It means so much.''
Minnesota appeared have the game won at the end of the first overtime. The Lynx led 84-83 with 2.4 second when Lindsay 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.
Wiggins 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.
''Coming out of the half, we had some looks and some shots that didn't fall for us,'' Atlanta coach Fred Williams said. ''They got some run outs on us to get themselves back in the game.''
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.