Sheryl Swoopes and Cynthia Cooper have always said they enjoy playing the New York Liberty, and yesterday they showed why.
The Houston guards combined for 32 points to lead the Comets to a 65-50 victory over visiting New York in front of a crowd of 12,003.
In a matchup of the WNBA's two conference leaders, Swoopes had 19 points and seven rebounds and Cooper added 13 points as the Comets become the first team to win 10 games. Houston has lost only once this season.
Despite shooting 38 percent, the Comets were able to coast because New York's shooters struggled even more.
The Liberty shot 22 percent, setting a league record for shooting futility in a WNBA game. Charlotte had the previous mark of 24 percent last August.
New York (6-3) also set a record with 14 field goals.
"Our offense wasn't very good," New York Coach Richie Adubato said. "And any time you score 15 points in the first half, you are going to have a tough time winning."
Vickie Johnson led New York with 20 points and Kym Hampton added 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Comets had runs of 15-0 and 11-1 in the first half, getting 24 of their 34 first-half points from Swoopes, Cooper and Tina Thompson. Houston led by as many as 24 points midway through the second half.
LYNX 56, MERCURY 47: Brandy Reed scored 14 points against her former team as Minnesota ended a three-game home losing streak.
Reed, left unprotected by last season's league runner-up Phoenix, was the first pick in the expansion draft. She scored eight of her points in the first half and added eight rebounds.
"Playing against them wasn't a big deal for me," Reed said. "I'm not going to put that kind of pressure on myself. For me, it was more important to win coming off two losses."
The Lynx (5-4), which blew a 19-point lead in losing to Los Angeles on Thursday night, led by 14 in the second half.
The Mercury (3-7) got within three points five times in the second half, including 50-47 with 58 seconds remaining.
Phoenix had a chance to cut the lead further, but Edna Campbell missed a 15-foot jumper with 23.6 seconds left and Minnesota's Andrea Lloyd-Curry grabbed the rebound.
Katie Smith, Tonya Edwards and Lloyd-Curry combined for six free throws in the final 20.4 seconds. Smith and Edwards each had 11 points for the Lynx, with Edwards scoring all of hers in the second half.
Jennifer Gillom led Phoenix with 18 points. Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil, the Mercury's second-leading scorer, did not dress because of back spasms.
"This team is hungry for a win," Gillom said. "It felt good to see our team play better, and it felt like we really wanted to win."
Minnesota closed the first half on an 8-0 run for a 29-19 lead. Smith hit a three-pointer and converted a free throw after a technical foul on Phoenix Coach Cheryl Miller. Reed hit a jumper on the ensuing possession to close the half.
Phoenix, finishing a seven-game road trip, made just 17 of 62 shots (27 percent).
STING 75, MIRACLE 58: Vicky Bullett collected 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead Charlotte on the road.
Charlotte (4-5) snapped its two-game losing streak and ended the Miracle's four-game winning streak. The loss was just the second at home for Orlando, an expansion team.
Orlando (5-4) missed a chance to pull even with the New York Liberty for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Dawn Staley added 13 points and four assists as Charlotte used three key scoring runs against Orlando. Shannon Johnson led the Miracle with 17 points.
Charlotte led 36-22 at halftime, then scored the first nine points of the second half to push its lead to 23. The Sting led by 26 before Orlando went on a 17-2 run to cut the lead to 57-46 with 6 minutes 9 seconds remaining. That was as close as the Miracle would get.
The Sting played without newly acquired center Kara Wolters, who has been out since June 21 with an injured right knee.
Charlotte acquired Wolters from Houston Friday for center Rhonda Mapp.