The Charlotte Sting, expected to vie for the WNBA Eastern Conference title but off to a mediocre start, fired Coach and General Manager Marynell Meadors last night.

Meadors was fired the day after the Sting's record fell to 5-7 with an 82-56 loss to Cleveland.

Assistant coach Dan Hughes was named interim coach. Charlotte Hornets General Manager Bob Bass will assume managerial responsibilities for the Sting.

"With two-thirds of our schedule left, we feel like there is still enough time for use to make a run at the championship," Sting Executive Vice President Sam Russo said. "But given our record and our inconsistency over the last calendar year, we needed to make a change at the top to get us back on track."

Despite the presence of several marquee players--including Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley, WNBA rookie of the year Tracy Reid and Stephanie White-McCarty, who led Purdue to the 1999 NCAA title over Duke--the Sting is mired in third place in the Eastern Conference.

* LYNX 58, LIBERTY 56: New York's defense couldn't stop Brandy Reed when it counted.

After Vickie Johnson's three-point air ball with less than five seconds left, Reed went the length of the court and hit a running 10-foot jumper at the buzzer for the win before in New York.

"I got the rebound and just reacted," said Reed, who finished with 19 points. "I was able to get a decent look and it went in."

Reed weaved downcourt past Sue Wicks and Teresa Weatherspoon and launched a leaning jumper that bounced on the front and back of the rim before going in.

* COMETS 68, MONARCHS 63: Cynthia Cooper showed again why she is headed to the All-Star Game, scoring 31 points--including a clutch basket down the stretch--to lead defending champion Houston at home past upstart Sacramento.

The Monarchs rallied from a 23-point deficit and pulled within two on Tangela Smith's layup with 3:22 left. But Cooper sent the Comets' lead back to five when she hit a shot with 52 seconds left.

* SPARKS 67, MERCURY 58: Lisa Leslie scored six of her 13 points during a decisive second-half run as host Los Angeles beat Phoenix for its seventh win in eight games.

Trailing 42-40 with 9:16 to play, Leslie's basket began a 13-0 run that put the Sparks ahead 53-42 with 4:58 left. She also was 4 of 6 from the line during the run.

CAPTION: New York had 10-point lead early in second half, but then the Lynx zeroed in on Becky Hammon (25) and company, ending Liberty's home winning streak.