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Atlanta Dream remains winless
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ATLANTA — Minnesota Lynx coach Don Zierden pulled aside rookie Candice Wiggins, hoping to inspire his young star after she went scoreless in the first half.
"She wasn't playing like we expected her to play," Zierden said. "We saw a couple of sets that were working with her running it, so we went ahead and stayed with that and milked it for all we could."
Wiggins scored all of her 22 points in the second half and hit a key 3-pointer, and Charde Houston made two free throws with 38 seconds left to help the undefeated Lynx beat the winless Atlanta Dream 85-81 Tuesday night.
Wiggins, picked third overall in the draft, shot 7-for-10 from the field in the second half, making half of her six 3-point tries. Her 3 with 1:09 left gave Minnesota a 78-76 lead.
In a reserve role, she wanted to give Minnesota a spark.
"I just really tried to come off the bench and give as much energy I could," Wiggins said. "You have an advantage being on the bench where you can see sort of what's going on."
The Lynx won their fifth straight game and continued the best start in franchise history. Nicky Anosike had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Seimone Augustus added 19 points for Minnesota.
Betty Lennox missed a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left in the game that would've given the Dream a one-point lead. Lennox, who spent her first three WNBA seasons with Minnesota, finished with 28 points and eight assists.
The 6-foot Augustus, who was recently named to the U.S. Olympic team, guarded Lennox for most of the game and was the one who altered the guard's late miss.
"She still hit some tough shots," Augustus said, "but I mean that's what great players do to keep their team in the game. I just tried to use my length."
Jennifer Lacy scored 16 points for Atlanta, now 0-5.
Atlanta was coming off its closest game of the season, an 80-74 defeat at Washington on June 27. The Dream will try for their first win as a franchise against Chicago on Friday.
Coach Marynell Meadors says she has seen growth in her young Dream team, which shot 69 percent from the field in the second half.
"We have a young team that will continue to get better," she said. "We haven't experienced a lot of challenges, but we will learn as the season continues."
A jumper by Lennox put the Dream ahead 76-75 with 1:32 remaining in the fourth quarter. Wiggins, who shot 3-of-7 overall from beyond the arc, answered with her go-ahead 3.
The Lynx, who led the league in fewest turnovers with 13.3 per game, committed 12 in the first half. Minnesota finished with 18 turnovers for the game, while had Atlanta 20.
A basket by Camille Little sparked a 9-0 run for the Dream in the third quarter. Ivory Latta hit a 3-pointer a couple possessions later to give Atlanta a 40-37 lead with 5:47 left.
Minnesota later went on a 13-2 run, capped by Wiggins' 3 to give the Lynx a 49-44 lead with 1:01 in the third.
"We have a good rhythm now," Zierden said.
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