Minnesota 84, Detroit 70
MINNEAPOLIS, May 18 (AP) -- Seimone Augustus appears to have a bit more help this season.
Rookie Charde Houston scored 21 points in her WNBA debut, and fellow first-year guard Candice Wiggins added 15 to help the Minnesota Lynx open their season by beating the veteran Detroit Shock,84-70 on Sunday at Target Center.
A third-round pick, Houston didn't receive the attention of other WNBA draftees heading into the season, but the former UConn standout helped key a 20-4 run spanning the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth as the Lynx took control.
"People believe what they want to believe,'' Houston said. "I can't control anybody's feelings. For me, I know what I am capable of doing, and I just always stay true to myself.''
The rookies helped Augustus, twice named to the All-WNBA second-team, overcome a tough shooting night. The league's second-highest scorer last season, Augustus finished with 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting.
Nicky Anosike -- the No. 16 selection in this season's draft -- started at center and had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Wiggins also nailed a buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter.
"It felt great to start the season off with a win and to really just bring a lot of passion and have a lot of fun,'' Wiggins said. "It is really up to us to keep that same focus and same intensity that we had this game.''
"Back-to-backs are a part of reality, you can't blame losses on them,'' Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We have enough players that should get the job done and we just didn't take care of the basketball. We didn't play smart today and that bothers me.''
The Shock had 23 turnovers, while Minnesota committed just 12.
Trading Smith -- the franchise's all-time leading scorer -- allowed the Lynx to hit bottom. Smith was dealt during the 2005 season and Minnesota went on to win just 14 games, earning the right to select Augustus with the top-overall pick in the 2006 draft. Back-to-back 10-win seasons followed, and with it came No. 4 pick Noelle Quinn in 2007, Wiggins -- this year's No. 3 overall selection -- Houston and Anosike.
"We know Detroit had to play off a back-to-back, so I am not going to sit up here and wave a flag and say we've turned a corner or anything with the program, but I think we do play hard,'' Lynx coach Don Zierden said. "When we came in as a coaching staff a year ago, it was Seimone averaging double figures and then everybody else. We have four today in double figures and another one had eight. And we had 10 players with double-figure minutes. We are going to have to play that way because we are so young.''