Sheryl Swoopes's 10-foot jumper with 18.7 seconds left gave the Houston Comets a 71-70 victory over the Mercury last night in Phoenix.

The Mercury's last chance went awry when Jennifer Gillom launched an 18-footer that circled the rim and came out with four seconds left.

Phoenix staged a 17-8 run that started when Mercury Coach Cheryl Miller, who is nursing an Achilles' tendon injury, was ejected.

The Mercury trailed 61-53 when Miller argued with official Lamont Simpson and picked up her second technical of the game.

Mercury center Marlies Askamp scored nine of her 10 points in the run. Phoenix took a 70-69 lead on two free throws by Askamp with 39 seconds left.

The Comets (12-2) went into the break with a 33-27 lead. Swoopes, a WNBA all-star, scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half. Cynthia Cooper, another all-star, produced 11 of 13 during the same period.

MIRACLE 66, STING 61: Shannon Johnson scored 10 of her 15 points in the second half of Orlando's third consecutive road win.

The Miracle, atoning for a 17-point loss to Charlotte a week ago, got 16 points from Nykesha Sales.

Charlotte Smith had 12 points to lead the Sting, which was seeking its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Charlotte lost Tracy Reid, the 1998 WNBA rookie of the year, to a twisted right ankle with 7 minutes 42 seconds remaining. X-rays on her ankle were negative, but she was unable to return.

MONARCHS 77, SPARKS 72: In Inglewood, Calif., Yolanda Griffith had 24 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento. The loss ended the Sparks' franchise record six-game winning streak in front of a season-low 5,436 at the Forum.

Sacramento (10-4) led 44-36 at halftime, and 56-42 four minutes into the second half. Allison Feaster started a 13-0 run with two three-pointers as Los Angeles (9-5) cut the Monarchs' lead to 57-54 with 11:20 left.

The Sparks pulled to 59-58 on La'Keshia Frett's two free throws with 9:45 left. But that was as close as Los Angeles got.