Diana Taurasi scored 27 points and Penny Taylor added 17 to lead the Phoenix Mercury to a 70-60 win over the Comets last night in Houston.

The Mercury (14-13) has won six of seven after losing five straight.

Fourth-place Phoenix extended its lead to 21/2 games over the Comets in the Western Conference.

Sheryl Swoopes scored 18 points and Tina Thompson added 17 for Houston, losers of two straight after the month-long Olympic break.

The Comets (12-16) got within 62-58 with 3 minutes 30 seconds left after trailing by 19. But Taurasi hit a pair of three-pointers in the final 2:37 to seal the win.

Taylor, Taurasi and Anna DeForge combined for 31 points in the first half, and the Mercury held the Comets to just 25 percent shooting (7 for 28).

The Comets missed their first nine shots before Thompson's basket 4:29 into the game.

Houston scored six straight points to pull within 25-19 on Sheila Lambert's layup with 3:27 left.

Phoenix then went on a 10-0 run behind three-pointers from DeForge and Taurasi in the final 2:58 to take a 35-19 halftime lead.

* SPARKS 82, STORM 81: In Los Angeles, Lisa Leslie scored 26 points and made the game-winning free throw to lift the Sparks over Seattle.

Tamecka Dixon added 20 points for the Sparks before being ejected with 1:33 left on a double-technical foul after an altercation with Seattle's Betty Lennox.

* SUN 61, LIBERTY 43: Katie Douglas scored 13 points and matched her career high with five steals to lead Connecticut over visiting New York.

The win snapped the Sun's three-game losing streak and brightened their playoff hopes with just five games left in the season. It was Connecticut's first game back in the Mohegan Sun arena since the month-long Olympic break, and it didn't take the Sun long to settle in.

New York was unable to sustain any runs in the first half and never found its rhythm against Connecticut's pressure defense.

* FEVER 69, LYNX 61: In Minneapolis, Tamika Catchings had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead Indiana. Kelly Schumacher scored 13 points for Indiana, despite a cut above her right eye that required stitches at halftime.