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The two players just kept saying the same thing to one another: April 21 ... April 21 ... April 21.

Lynx teammates Nicky Anosike and Charde Houston were not picked high in the 2008 WNBA draft. Anosike was taken in the second round, Houston in the third. Even though multiple teams doubted their abilities coming out of college, the two players used the lack of respect to their advantage.

So April 21, when they met right before the rookies' camp, they made a pact immediately -- no one was going to work as hard as them. Now, in just their second year together, Anosike and Houston have proven themselves to the rest of the league as they were chosen Monday as reserves for the WNBA All-Star Game.

"Me and Charde have always had a special relationship," Anosike said. "We knew we were great players. We might not have gone in the first round, but we're right there with the best now."

Anosike and Houston were selected by the coaches in the Western Conference. The ninth All-Star Game in league history will be held Saturday at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. (2:30 p.m., Ch. 5).

The announcement of both teams was made when the Lynx were on a flight from Seattle to Phoenix. When Anosike and Houston heard the news, the two were filled with emotion.

"I can't believe it," said Houston, who cried when she found out. "I've been on a mission to prove that I could live up to my potential."

Anosike said: "For me, I was just so excited, and I knew that I just needed to work hard."

Anosike, a 6-3 center, averages 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and is the only player in the league in the top 20 in all five major statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Houston, a 6-0 forward, averages 14.3 points and 6.1 rebounds.

It's the first time since 2001 that non-first-round draft choices were chosen for an All-Star Game. It also is the first time in franchise history the Lynx will have two participants.

"I think it's a testament to coach [Jen] Gillom," Houston said. "She really just made it her mission to make us great players."

The two selections represent the team's progress in the league as the Lynx (9-7) have stayed in contention in the Western Conference after losing two-time All-Star Seimone Augustus for the season early in the year. Looking back, Anosike remembers Gillom having faith her from the beginning.

"Before the season started, she told me, 'Nicky, you're going to be an All-Star,'" Anosike said. "I thought she was just blowing smoke. But she was smart."