Thompsonís Strong Fourth Sends Comets Past Lynx

Houston 80, Minnesota 77

MINNEAPOLIS, August 4 (AP) -- Tina Thompson scored 14 of her 26 points in the fourth quarter and the Houston Comets held off the Minnesota Lynx 80-77 on Saturday night.

Latasha Byears added 17 points for the Comets, who won consecutive games for the first time since home wins over San Antonio and Seattle on June 26 and 28.

Houston (10-18) is still in the chase for the Western Conference's final playoff spot.

The Comets clinched just their second losing season in their 11-year history but are hoping to make the playoffs for the 10th time. They won the first four WNBA titles (1997-2000).

Seimone Augustus had 24 points to lead the Lynx, who have the worst record in the WNBA at 7-22.

Houston swept the three-game season series.

Thompson's 3-pointer gave the Comets a 73-68 lead with 3:02 left in the fourth quarter, but the Lynx rallied and got within 76-75 on Svetlana Abrosimova's jumper with 1:05 remaining.

Thompson made two free throws 15 seconds later, and Minnesota got no closer than three points.

Houston opened the game on an 11-0 run and went up 17-3 on Byears' layup with 3:02 left before settling for a 21-12 lead after the first quarter.

Minnesota closed within 37-30 at halftime, then scored the first eight points of the second half to take its first lead at 38-37 on Augustus' two free throws with 6:55 left in the third quarter.