20080722/SEAMIN
Bird, Cash, tough defense lead Storm past Lynx
By DAVE CAMPBELL, AP Sports Writer

MINNEAPOLIS(AP) Sue Bird scored 22 points, Swin Cash added 17 points and 11 rebounds, and the Seattle Storm locked down two of the league's top scorers while holding on for a 76-73 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday.

Seimone Augustus and Candice Wiggins helped the Lynx surge back from a 17-point deficit midway through the third quarter, but their early struggles were ultimately too much to overcome.

Augustus shot 3-for-16 from the floor and finished with 10 points. Wiggins went 3-for-11 and had 14 points - including eight free throws. Her closely guarded, off-balance 3-pointer from the top of the key hit the back of the rim and bounced back right before the buzzer, giving Minnesota its 11th loss in the last 16 games after a 6-1 start.

After their seven-game winning streak was interrupted Sunday by a 32-point loss to the Washington Mystics in which they allowed 10 3-pointers and scored a season-low 57 points, the Storm returned to form.

This was Seattle's third game without All-Star center Lauren Jackson, the league's third-leading scorer who left to join the Australian national team in preparation for the Beijing Olympics next month. Another starter, Yolanda Griffith, was also out because of a migraine headache.

But Bird and Cash picked up the slack on both ends of the court, and Camille Little and Tanisha Wright - starting in place of Jackson and Griffith - contributed as well with 17 points and 12 points, respectively.

Augustus made a 3-pointer from the corner that cut Seattle's lead to 66-60 with 6:23 left. Vanessa Hayden-Johnson turned rebounds into short putbacks on consecutive possessions, and suddenly Minnesota was within one point with 1:23 remaining.

The Storm missed twice, both right before the shot clock was about to expire, and the Lynx had the ball with a prime chance to take the lead - calling timeout with 22 seconds left.

Wiggins twisted into the lane and took a tough bank shot that didn't touch the rim, and though Minnesota grabbed the rebound and retained possession with 10.7 seconds left - only 1 second remained on the shot clock.

Hayden-Johnson's catch-and-release attempt from the top of the key missed badly, too, and Camille Little sank a pair of free throws to push the lead back to three.

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