<
>

Comets overcome double-digit deficit to beat Mercury

HOUSTON (AP) -- Tina Thompson had 19 points and seven rebounds as the Houston Comets rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half to beat the Phoenix Mercury 94-92 on Tuesday night.

The win was Houston's first over Phoenix in seven games dating back to July 30, 2006. With two games remaining before the Olympic break, Houston (12-12) is a game behind fourth-place Sacramento in the Western Conference.

Michelle Snow added 16 points and six rebounds for the Comets. Rookie reserve Matee Ajavon finished with 12 points, and Tamecka Dixon and Johnson each had 10.

Diana Taurasi finished with a game-high 31 points, including 14-for-15 from the free-throw line, for Phoenix (11-13). Kelly Mazzante finished with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting on 3-pointers, Cappie Pondexter also scored 15, Le'Coe Willingham had 12 and Tangela Smith 11.

Kelly Miller hit a driving lay-up with 2:03 left to cut the lead to three, but both teams missed chances.

Taurasi missed a chance to tie as a 3-pointer rimmed out with 54 seconds left. On the other end, Roneeka Hodges' 3 missed everything with 34 seconds to go, and Smith pulled down the rebound for Phoenix.

After a timeout, Pondexter threw up an off-balanced 3 from the left wing that missed, and Smith and Taurasi knocked it out of bounds fighting for the ball. Off the Houston inbounds, Willingham stole the ball and was fouled by Thompson. Willingham hit both free throws to cut the lead to one with 16 seconds left.

Thompson made one free throw with 15 seconds to go to give Houston a 92-90 lead. Off the inbounds pass for Phoenix, Sancho Lyttle stole it and gave it to Shannon Johnson, who was fouled and made two free throws with 11 seconds left.

Taurasi put back in a layup with three seconds left to cut the lead to two, but Houston was able to get the inbounds pass in and hold on for the win.

Houston opened the fourth by outscoring Phoenix, 10-4, and took their first lead since the second quarter, 79-78, on a 3 by Thompson with 7:20 remaining in the quarter.

The Comets used a 9-2 run to take a 91-86 lead with 2:19 remaining on Hodges' 3-pointer from the right corner. Ajavon gave Houston the lead 87-86 on a desperation 3 with 3:17 remaining.

Phoenix tried to run away with the game in the third quarter opening up a 61-50 lead on two free throws by Willingham with 6:11 remaining in the quarter, and opening it back to 10, 67-57, on a Kelly Mazzante's 3-pointer with 3:35 left in the third.

Houston answered with a 10-0 run capped by six straight points by Ajavon, including back-to-back lay-ups with 2:09 remaining.

Taurasi scored 18 points in the first half to guide the Mercury to a 52-43 halftime lead.