With Any Gender, It’s Crunch Time

By Richard Kent, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: June 24, 2010

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CONNECTICUT (BASN) — Great players need to have the ball in their hands at crunch time.

That was evident in the recently concluded NBA Finals with L.A.’s Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce of the Celtics. The same holds true in women’s basketball and specifically, the WNBA.

That was never more evident than this past week at Madison Square Garden. The Liberty entered the game with a disappointing 4-6 record in the Lynx stood at 4-9.

The first half was a nip and tuck affair with The Liberty clinging to a 34-32 lead and being paced by Nicole Powell with 9 points. Minnesota was led in the first half by Rebekkah Brunson with 10.

In the second half the Lynx went on an early run and took a seemingly commanding 59-45 lead in the fourth quarter. The Liberty then called time out and itself went on a 17-3 run to tie the game at 62-62.

It was at that point in time that the two top players in the game and two of the top five players in the League took over. Both Cappie Pondexter of the Liberty and Seimone Augustus of the Lynx wanted the ball in their hands down the stretch.

What made the match-up even more interesting was that Pondexter was guarding Augustus. The two traded baskets on some scintillating outside shooting by Augustus and drives to the basket by Pondexter which either resulted in scores or free throws made.

In the process, Augustus made a 3 pointer and another jumper in the last two minutes as Minnesota closed the game on a 10-2 run to win 75-68.

Geno Auriemma, head coach of the United States Olympic team has the luxury of utilizing players of the caliber of both Pondexter from Rutgers and Augustus from LSU.

Pondexter is the leading scorer on the Liberty and last season, playing for Phoenix posted 20-plus points eighteen times. She was named a WNBA All-Star for the third time.

As a collegian, Pondexter finished her Rutgers career averaging 18.3 ppg and was a finalist for the State Farm Wade Trophy. Augustus was a WNBA All-Star last season, averaging 21 ppg.

She once scored 39 points in a WNBA game in 2007 against Sacramento. She is a 2006 graduate of LSU where she scored in double digits in 132 of 140 career games, the post in NCAA history.

Neither Pondexter nor Augustus appeared overly local in off court time out sessions throughout the game, but both clearly had an attitude and a scorer’s mentality as soon as the clock was turned back on.

Look for Pondexter and Augustus to both be WNBA All-Stars again in 2010 and to shine for the United States Olympic Team in 2012.

Neither of them would have it any other way.