Augustus and Wiggins are both injured in Lynx victory

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 10, 2008 - 7:05 AM

A frustrating season for the Lynx turned frightening Tuesday night.

Seimone Augustus and Candice Wiggins, the team's two leading scorers, both suffered potentially serious injuries in the first half of Minnesota's 86-76 victory over Indiana.

Augustus hurt her neck, Wiggins her right knee.

Augustus, who was averaging 19.6 points, gave an announced crowd of 6,708 a scare midway through the first quarter at Target Center.

She went high to grab a defensive rebound and, although off-balance, passed the ball to Lindsey Harding while falling. When she came down, Augustus fell on top of Tamika Catchings of the Fever. Both players fell to the court, with Augustus on top. Even so, only Augustus was hurt.

Augustus, although she was moving her arms and legs, lay on the court for 10 minutes before medical staff put on a neck brace and helped her into a wheelchair.

She appeared to hit her head on the court. A CT-scan at a local hospital came back negative, the team announced.

Catchings, a teammate of Augustus on the U.S. Olympic team, came over to her just before she was taken to a hospital.

"I just tried to encourage her," Catchings said. "I told her she would be all right. Nobody wants to see anyone get hurt."

Augustus was experiencing pain in her neck, said team owner Glen Taylor, sitting in courtside seats near the play.

Lynx coach Don Zierden was upset that a foul wasn't called on Catchings, who he thought pulled Augustus down.

"Seimone's gone down before, and I've been out there with her," Zierden said. "All other times, she's told me she's going to be OK. She didn't tell me she was going to be OK this time."

Just before the first half ended, Wiggins, who was averaging 16 points per game, sprained her right knee. She was in tears but able to walk to the trainer's room as soon as Zierden called a timeout at her request with eight seconds on the clock.

Augustus had two points and two rebounds in five minutes of play. Her early departure ended her streak of scoring in double figures at 88 consecutive games. It began on June 18, 2006. The WNBA record is 93, set by Cynthia Cooper of Houston in 2000.

The victory seemed almost secondary, but the Lynx, who were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday, ended a four-game losing streak.

"We lost our leading scorer and Olympian and our second-leading scorer and still found a way to gut it out," Zierden said. "To gut it out, no matter how ugly the second half was -- against a playoff team -- I'm very proud of the commitment and heart of the players."

Four Lynx scored in double figures, led by reserve forward Charde Houston's 18 points. She also had four rebounds, three assists and three steals.

The Lynx shot 51.7 percent and looked sharp at times.

Minnesota (15-17) led by as many as 19 points in the first half, 15 in the second.

The Fever has the identical record but it plays in the the Eastern Conference, and has clinched the fourth playoff spot.

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