Charlotte, N.C. There was a time this season when the Charlotte Sting were the worst team in the league.
With a 54-49 victory over the Houston Comets on Saturday night, they proved how long ago that was.
The win snapped Charlotte's eight-game losing streak to the Comets and, after starting the season 1-10, improved them to 14-14 marking the first time they've been at .500 since 1999.
"It's a darn good feeling," first-year coach Anne Donovan said. "When we were 1-10, we felt that as long as were still confident we could stay positive. We still knew we had a deep hole to dig out of, so to be here, .500 is just awesome."
The Sting now stands two games away from clinching the fourth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference and believes few teams in the league want to face them now.
"I think everybody is kind of guessing about Charlotte right now," guard Andrea Stinson said. "No one can seem to figure out what's going on with us. We lost so many, now we're winning so many. As long as we can keep them guessing, we're in good shape."
Allison Feaster, who led the Sting with 13 points, hit four free throws over the final 12 seconds to seal the win and stretch her consecutive free throw streak to 37.
Feaster, who set the Sting record for consecutive free throws on Friday night when she made her 33rd straight, was only sent to the line twice against Houston.
The first time came with 12.8 seconds left and the Sting clinging to a 50-49 lead. She calmly hit both shots, then after a Houston miss, she got the rebound, was fouled and sealed the win by making two more with 7.7 remaining.
Charlotte improved to 2-10 all-time against Houston, beating the Comets (17-10) for the first time since Aug. 16, 1997.
"We had an off night and Charlotte played good defense," Houston coach Van Chancellor said. "But they've got a good team and they've got it together now. They're a handful to guard."
Janeth Arcain led Houston with 20 points and was the Comets' only player in double figures.
The Comets were without All-Star forward Tina Thompson, the league's second-leading scorer, who sat out the game with an ankle injury.
Rockers 58, Liberty 43
New York Ann Wauters scored 14 points as the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland (21-6) extended its lead over the second-place Liberty to 312 games, with five regular-season games remaining.
Merlakia Jones added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockers, who swept the season series 3-0.
Cleveland, which has won 10 of its last 11 games, held New York to 29 percent shooting.
The Rockers are limiting opponents to a league-low 37 percent shooting and 55 points.
Tari Phillips had 14 points for the Liberty (18-10), who have lost 5 of 7 games.
Shock 70, Fire 65
Auburn Hills, Mich. Edwina Brown scored 15 points and Wendy Palmer added 12 points and 12 rebounds as Detroit handed Portland its sixth straight loss, matching a franchise record.
Portland (11-15) built a 43-29 lead early in the second half before the Shock (8-19) rallied. Barbara Farris hit two free throws to cap a 23-9 run, as the Shock took a 52-51 lead with 11:38 remaining.
Portland's Sophia Witherspoon missed a chance to tie the game when she misfired on a three-pointer with seven seconds left. Detroit's Jae Kingi hit two free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory.
Jackie Stiles scored 16 points and Sylvia Crawley added 13 for Portland.
Starzz 65 Fever 54
Salt Lake City Margo Dydek scored 16 points as Utah extended its franchise-record winning streak to seven games.
Natalie Williams had 10 rebounds and Adrienne Goodson added 13 points as the Starzz (16-11) move into a tie with Sacramento for third place in the Western Conference. Utah is one game behind second-place Houston.
Jennifer Azzi matched her career-high with 10 assists for the Starzz.
Rita Williams and Alicia Thompson each had 13 points for the Fever (9-19), who lost their second straight game and drop to 3-10 on the road.
Indiana shot 11-for-11 from the free throw line.