Right spot, Wright time for Lynx' game-winning shot

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 9, 2012 - 11:22 AM
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The Lynx’s Monice Wright, top, found herself open for a three-pointer with just over one minute to play in Sunday’s Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Sparks. Her basket proved the difference in the 80-79 victory.

Photo: Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

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Cheryl Reeve called one of Sunday's late-game baskets "the shot of the playoffs."

The Lynx coach could have been referring to Candace Parker's desperation 30-foot, off-the-backboard three-pointer as the shot clock was expiring.

It gave Parker a game-high 33 points and Los Angeles a two-point lead with 1 minute, 31 seconds left at Staples Center.

But the shot Reeve was talking about came 17 seconds later. Lynx guard Monica Wright squared up on the right wing and launched a normal-looking shot from behind the arc.

Her only three-pointer was the winning basket in a 80-79 comeback victory over Los Angeles in the Western Conference finals. The Lynx swept the best-of-three series with the Sparks 2-0 to advance to the WNBA Finals.

Watch Parker's and Wright's three-pointers here:

"[Wright] was so wide open, she thought, 'Where is everybody? Why am I so wide open?'" Reeve said. "They were playing a triangle-and-2 and a 2-3 zone. They were choosing who to leave open.

"They were very concerned about Maya [Moore], Seimone [Augustus] and Lindsay [Whalen]. Monnie spotted up on the wing and hit the biggest shot of her career."

Said Wright, who had eight points, "I was wide open off a flare screen and took my time."

Driving to success

Whalen proved her left wrist injury is better. She scored 17 points, most on twisting drives. Several of her layups came with her back to the basket.

"Nobody in the league is better at controlling their body," Reeve said. "And most important was her last basket. She went left, crossing over [Kristi] Toliver."

The break near the tip of her left ring finger, which happened in the Olympics, has healed, too. She still tapes it as a precaution, a Lynx trainer said.

Trapped on last shot

Los Angeles had a chance to win. The Sparks inbounded the ball with six seconds left and Alana Beard missed a 16-foot jumper from the right baseline with 1.3 seconds to go.

"We had our two best defenders on her," Reeve said. "We wanted to trap. Rebekkah Brunson was in pursuit of her and Monica was behind her."

That strategy left someone open for the Sparks, Reeve said, but after Beard made a couple of dribbles she had time only to shoot.

"Rebekkah is able to be all over the place," Wright said. "She was closing space on [Beard]."

Police stop Augustus

Augustus tweeted Monday that her off day was ruined when a Roseville police officer stopped her car for having an air freshener hanging from her rear-view mirror.

During the stop near Rosedale Center, the officer told her there had been some thefts at the mall and that he noticed she had out-of-state license plates, Augustus wrote on Twitter.

"I didn't know you can only drive Minnesota cars to a Minnesota mall," Augustus tweeted, "and if not you must be stealing or doing something illegal."

Augustus, who is originally from Baton Rouge, La., tweeted that the officer knew who she was and, before letting her go with a warning, wished her "good luck" in the next playoff series.

In response to Augustus' tweets, Roseville police issued a news release later Monday explaining what it called a "very routine traffic stop." "An obstruction, such as an air freshener hanging from a car's rear view mirror, can obstruct the driver's view of merging traffic or a pedestrian crossing at an intersection," the release said.

Etc.

• About 75 fans, some of them carrying large posters with head shots of Lynx players, greeted the team when it arrived at Twin Cities International Airport about midnight Sunday.

• Reeve said having six off days before the WNBA Finals start on Sunday is beautiful. "We can regroup mentally and physically," she said. "We will get four days of practice. That's all we need."

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