Comets 67


Storm 64

(20-14, 14-3 home)

    10:00 PM ET, September 1, 2005

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 T
    HOU 31 36 67
    SEA 35 29 64

    Top Performers

    Houston: S. Swoopes 20 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Seattle: J. Burse 12 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Swoopes comes alive late in Game 2 win at Seattle

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Some key defensive stands and tremendous free throw shooting kept the Houston Comets alive in the WNBA playoffs on Thursday night.

    Rallying from a 10-point second-half deficit, the Comets beat the Seattle Storm 67-64 to even their first round, best-of-three Western Conference playoff series at 1-1. Game 3 will be Saturday night in Seattle.

    "It reminded me a lot of game one. They got out to an eight-10 point lead, and then we fought back," Houston's Sheryl Swoopes said. "Game one, we just couldn't get over the hump. ... (Tonight) everyone was just really determined."

    Swoopes scored 20 points, but it was two defensive plays she converted in the final three minutes that gave Houston the lead for good.

    With 2:06 left, Swoopes stole a pass from Seattle's Sue Bird and scored on a layup to give the Comets a 63-62 lead. On the Storm's next possession, Betty Lennox was called for a charge. Swoopes was fouled at the other end, and made both free throws for a 65-62 lead with 1:53 left.

    "Our total effort was just so much better -- our focus, our enthusiasm," Houston coach Van Chancellor said.

    Swoopes scored 14 in the second half. Tina Thompson finished with 13 points, Janeth Arcain 12 and Michelle Snow 10 for the Comets.

    Houston also took full advantage of the free throw line, outscoring Seattle 25-5, including 10-for-10 shooting in the second half. The free throws helped make up for a first half where Houston shot just 36 percent. The Comets made 13 of 22 shots in the second half.

    "The most important things was the free throw line, no question," Seattle coach Anne Donovan said. "The other thing was, down the stretch, I saw us lose our composure much more than I would have thought at this point of the season."

    Lennox led Seattle with 16 points, but made just 6-of-20 shots. Nursing a sprained back Lauren Jackson added 14 and Janell Burse had 12. Seattle was hoping to close out the Comets on Thursday to get a full week of rest before the start of the conference finals.

    "It's hard to lose a game period. We didn't finish," Lennox said. "You look at the statistics and we didn't deserve to win."

    The Comets trailed by 11 in the first half, and were behind 47-37 with 15:30 left after consecutive 3-pointers by Iziane Castro Marques and Bird.

    The Storm's shooting struggled from there, as they scored just eight points over the next eight minutes, allowing the Comets to rally and take a 57-55 lead with 6:14 left on a reverse layup by Arcain. It was Houston's first lead since 2-0.

    "We changed defenses in the second half ... and I thought it worked good for us," Chancellor said.

    Lennox then scored five straight points for Seattle, making a 20-foot jumper, then beating Dawn Staley on a baseline drive and converting a three-point play after being fouled by Snow, with 4:08 left.

    Thompson scored for the Comets and Burse responded for Seattle, giving the Storm a 62-59 lead. Snow scored on a tough reverse, then Swoopes scored the next four.

    Lennox scored on a layup with 30 seconds left, and Houston turned over the inbound pass. Lennox missed a short jumper, but Staley stole the rebound from Burse.

    "I'd take it again. I thought it was a good shot," Lennox said of her miss. "I feel really bad. I feel like it's my fault we lost."

    Arcain was fouled and made both free throws. Bird and Lennox missed tough 3-point attempts in the final seconds.

    Houston has been swept only once in playoff history -- in 2001 by Los Angeles.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      Houston Seattle
    Points 67 64
    FG Made-Attempted 21-44 (.000) 28-63 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 0-5 (.000) 3-19 (.158)
    FT Made-Attempted 25-28 (.000) 5-5 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 3-24 5-24
    Assists 11 18
    Turnovers 17 16
    Steals 9 11
    Blocks 0 2
    Fast Break Points 6 13
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 22 (0/0)