Nicky Anosike was too sick to start for the Lynx against Seattle, but the 6-3 center was on the floor when it mattered most: the end.
Anosike made a 14-foot baseline jumper with 47 seconds left and the second of two free throws with 5.5 seconds as the Lynx upset Seattle 72-71 on Sunday at Target Center. She finished with seven points and six rebounds in 16-plus minutes.
The victory ended two divergent streaks. Minnesota (8-16) had lost five games in a row, Seattle (22-3) had won 13 consecutive games.
With the score tied at 71, Anosike, limited by a stomach virus, was fouled trying to score on a putback. Her first free throw went halfway down and out. Her second attempt bounced on the rim twice before dropping for the game-winner.
The Lynx, despite their record, seem to match up well with the Storm. Minnesota lost 79-76 in Seattle on May 19 and 73-71 to the Storm here on July 17. In both losses, the Lynx had a chance to either tie or win on their last possession.
This time, Seattle had the last shot. All-star guard Sue Bird, who had a team-high 16 points, had a good look on a midrange jumper but missed. As several players battled for the rebound the horn blew.
"We needed this because before, when we are in close games, we lose," said Lynx forward Charde Houston, who started for Anosike. "So now we proved to ourselves we are capable of winning these games, and we just want to keep it up.
"They tied it up [Sunday], but we didn't break down," said Houston, who scored 14 and had three steals. "We want to make the playoffs."
Sunday's victory, before an announced crowd of 7,312, moved the Lynx a half-game ahead of Los Angeles into fourth place, the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Seattle has already clinched first place in the conference, but coach Brian Agler said the Storm wants to keep winning for home-court advantage if the team reaches the WNBA finals.
"This is the third time we played Seattle like this," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "We were pretty hungry to make sure there was a different outcome this time."
Seimone Augustus led the Lynx with 24 points and reached the 2,500-point career milestone early in the fourth quarter.
Seattle center Lauren Jackson, a two-time league MVP averaging 21.9 points, had only 12. She sprained her left thumb in the second quarter.
"Eventually you are going to lose some games," Agler said. "We have had the ability to finish games off and just about did it again."