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Miracle wins on late layup

Taj McWilliams' layup with 7.9 seconds remaining gave the Miracle a 55-54 victory over the Cleveland Rockers Thursday.

McWilliams missed a short hook on the Miracle's final possession, but followed her shot and converted her 15th rebound into the winner.

Cleveland called a timeout and isolated guard Merlakia Jones on Orlando's Elaine Powell. Jones dribbled the clock down but couldn't shake Powell's defense and threw up an air ball as the clock expired.

Nykesha Sales led the Miracle (11-16) with 16 points and McWilliams finished with 10.

Cleveland's Mary Andrade connected on two free throws with 27.2 seconds remaining to give the Rockers a 54-53 lead. A technical foul whistled on her in the final minute, however, ended up setting the limit of Orlando's final margin of victory.

Andrade was whistled for a technical foul with 50.9 seconds remaining after elbowing Miracle point guard Shannon Johnson, who had just fouled her trying to gain possession of a loose ball. Johnson hit the ensuing free throw to break a 52-52 tie.

Eva Nemcova paced the Rockers with 16 points. Cleveland (6-22) has the worst record in the league.

Despite shooting just 25 percent in the first half, Orlando led 26-23 going into the break, as forward Sheri Sam led all scorers with nine points.

Orlando made the game closer than it had to be, missing five of its seven free throws in the final five minutes. The Miracle did tie a season high with 41 rebounds, but ended up shooting just 30.9 percent.

SYDNEY OLYMPICS: Cynthia Cooper, already a two-time Olympian, will make it three in Sydney. Cooper is among five players who will be added to the U.S. women's national team on Saturday, USA Basketball confirmed Thursday.

Holdsclaw, Yolanda Griffth, Natalie Williams and DeLisha Milton also will be named to the 10-member team. Leslie, Nikki McCray, Katie Smith, Dawn Staley and Ruthie Bolton-Holifield were chosen in 1997.

All but Griffith have either World Championship or Olympic experience.

Cooper won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team in 1988 and the bronze in 1992.

The actual 12-member Olympic team will be announced next summer. Nell Fortner, who guided the United States to last year's World Championship, will coach the Olympic team. She most recently coached in the Pan American Games, where a U.S. team that had been together only two weeks won the bronze medal.

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