Jennifer Gillom had 18 points and Edna Campbell added 12 as the Phoenix Mercury defeated the two-time defending WNBA champion Houston Comets, 60-48, last night in Phoenix.

Houston lost two games in a row for the first time since the close of the 1997 season and, at 14-4, has more losses than all of last season. In their last meeting, Houston beat the Mercury, 71-70, on July 10.

Houston all-stars Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson were held to 10 points and missed a combined 23 of 26 shots. Swoopes was limited to eight points, hitting only 3 of 14 from the floor. Thompson, 0 for 12 from the floor, was limited to two free throws.

The Comets, leading 28-27 at halftime, opened with a basket by Polina Tzekova but then missed their next 15 shots. The Comets led 34-31 with 16 minutes 43 seconds left when Phoenix went on a 12-0 run.

Kristi Haarower, who started in place of flu-striken all-star point guard Michele Timms, scored on a driving layup, Campbell hit two free throws with 44.2 seconds left and Marlies Askamp closed with a layup at the buzzer.

STING 73, STARZZ 66: Andrea Stinson scored 16 points and Dawn Staley and Vicky Bullett each added 15 in Charlotte.

Bullett hit a jumper and Stinson followed with a running jumper to start a 15-4 run in the first half that put Charlotte ahead for good.

Rhonda Mapp sank a 14-foot jumper with less than 10 minutes to go in the half to put the Sting ahead, 27-13.

Utah, down 41-32 at halftime, cut the lead to 47-44 on LaTonya Johnson's jumper with 14 minutes to go.

But Staley started an 18-0 run with a three-pointer, Stinson made a foul shot and Bullett followed with a layup to put Charlotte up, 53-44, with 10:59 to go. Staley and Bullett added baskets as the Sting pushed its lead to 65-44. Utah answered with an 18-4 run, cutting the deficit to 69-62 on a three-pointer by Johnson with 53 seconds remaining.

But Staley made 4 of 6 foul shots to keep Charlotte safely ahead.

LYNX 76, MONARCHS 69: Brandy Reed scored 22 points and had several spectacular assists and Tonya Edwards added 21 points as Minnesota won at home.

The Lynx led by 14 and never trailed, but had to fight off a furious rally by the Monarchs, who were led by Yolanda Griffith's 22 points.

After Griffith's free throw pulled Sacramento to 70-65 with 1:29 left, the Lynx hit 6 of 8 free throws to seal their first victory in three tries against the Monarchs.

CAPTION: Comets' Sheryl Swoopes, left, Tina Thompson check injured teammate Cynthia Cooper in game in Phoenix.