The Houston Comets are starting to come together without injured star forward Tina Thompson.

Kedra Holland-Corn scored a season-high 21 points and Sheryl Swoopes added 16 to lift the Comets to a 72-67 victory over the visiting Washington Mystics yesterday for their second win in five days.

Houston (8-7) had lost three of four, including back-to-back games June 18 and 19 to Seattle and Minnesota. Thompson is out with an ankle injury.

Chamique Holdsclaw scored a game-high 20 points for Washington (5-7), which lost for the second time in three games.

Stacey Dales-Schuman added 12 points for the Mystics, Chasity Melvin had 11 and Alana Beard 10.

After Washington took a 53-50 lead on a three-point play by Melvin with 7 minutes 19 seconds left, the Comets responded with a 12-3 run to take a 62-56 lead with 4:26 to go.

Sheila Lambert, who finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists, scored six points during the run; Swoopes added four.

"I think for the most part, coming into this game we felt like we had to win," Holland-Corn said. "This team has been going through a lot of adversity as of late, but I think we are starting to grow.

"The most important thing for this team was to get a win. No matter how far behind we got, we felt like we were still in it and could come back."

Despite turning the ball over 15 times and shooting just 35 percent from the field in the first half, the Comets led 28-27 at the break. Holland-Corn led Houston with 11 points and scored the Comets' first nine points, all on three-pointers.

Holdsclaw scored 12 first-half points for Washington, which used a 17-4 run to take a 19-13 lead. But the Comets responded with an 11-2 run to lead 24-21.

The Mystics outscored the Comets 12-6 in the first 6:04 of the second half behind six points by Dales-Schuman, but did not hold the lead as the Comets tied the game with four straight points in the next 40 seconds.

"The Comets have a lot of very good players and that is the mark of a good team," Holdsclaw said. "Take Sheila Lambert, for example. She got 11 rebounds today. She's not supposed to get 11 rebounds. That is a no-no and that came back to haunt us."

Swoopes, who led the Comets in scoring in the previous four games, made just 4 of 16 shots. She compensated for her inconsistency by making 8 of 9 free throw attempts.

"Any win we can get these days is a good win," Swoopes said. "We had about 15 turnovers in the first half. It is very hard to win a basketball game with that many turnovers in a game, let alone a half. We played defensively and got a few other players involved, but the bottom line is that we came out of here with a 'W' and that is what we wanted to do."

* SUN 74, SHOCK 72: Nykesha Sales scored five of her 19 points in the final 1:15 to lead visiting Connecticut past Detroit.

Wendy Palmer added 18 points for the Sun and Lindsay Whalen had 12 points and a franchise-record 13 assists.

Swin Cash led the Shock with 20 points and Ruth Riley added 18.

Six straight points from Cash pulled Detroit within 69-68 and Riley put the Shock in front with two free throws with 1:35 left.

Sales then made a three-pointer, blocked Riley's shot and sank a layup to put Connecticut up 74-70.

Cash's layup made it 74-72 and Sales missed a shot, but Detroit's Chandi Jones missed a three-pointer in the closing seconds.

* SPARKS 83, LYNX 67: In Minneapolis, Mwadi Mabika scored 20 points to lead six Los Angeles players in double figures as the Sparks handed Minnesota its third straight loss.

Lisa Leslie scored 13 points and Nikki Teasley added 11 for Los Angeles (8-6).

* MONARCHS 63, MERCURY 57: Kara Lawson (West Springfield) scored 13 points and Sacramento, at home, won its second straight game. Lawson's three-pointer just more than two minutes into the contest capped a game-opening 9-0 run, a lead Phoenix never overcame.

Mercury rookie Diana Taurasi led all scorers with 16 points.

Houston's Kedra Holland-Corn and Washington's Alana Beard, right, both have their eyes on the ball in 2nd half.