Midway through the second half of last night's playoff game with the Detroit Shock, Charlotte Sting guard Andrea Stinson could sense her teammates starting to wilt.
That's when she took over, leading her team to a 60-54 win before 6,917 at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich.
"We came in here on a long losing streak, and we were trying to give up," said Stinson, who led Charlotte with 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. "We were starting to hang our heads a little, but I knew we were still in it. I really wanted this one, and once I got going, the rest of the team jumped on the bandwagon."
The Shock led 42-36 with 9 minutes 30 seconds left when Stinson blocked Wendy Palmer's layup. That seemed to wake up the team, and the Sting went on a 16-3 run over the next seven minutes.
Detroit missed six of seven shots during the Charlotte run, nearly all from outside.
"They played tough post defense to stop [Palmer], but that left the perimeter open," said Detroit point guard Jen Azzi, who was 2 of 13. "I just couldn't knock down any of the shots."
The Sting lost its last five regular season games, but was able to earn a shot against New York in the second round, which begins Friday in Charlotte.
"We made some big strides tonight," Sting point guard Dawn Staley said. "We could have easily folded, especially once the crowd got into it, but we stuck together. That was huge."
Rhonda Mapp scored 16 points for Charlotte and Staley added 12 points and five assists.
Even after Charlotte's 16-3 run, Detroit got within two, but Mapp's short jumper made it a two-possession game and, after Palmer missed a three-pointer, Charlotte iced the game from the free throw line.
SPARKS 71, MONARCHS 58: Lisa Leslie and Mwadi Mabika each scored 12 points in the second half as Los Angeles overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to beat visiting Sacramento.
The Sparks advanced to the Western Conference finals and will face two-time defending champion Houston. The best-of-three series begins Thursday night at the Forum, with the final two games scheduled for Houston on Sunday and Monday.
Leslie finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Gordana Grubin added 13 points, Mabika 12, all in the second half, and DeLisha Milton had 10.
Ruthie Bolton-Holifield had 15 points and Tangela Smith added 14 for Sacramento before an announced crowd of 8,569.