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Comets outshine Starzz in double overtime

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This should be about how the worst team in the WNBA last year and almost-worst team in the league now took the WNBA defending champions, who are arguably again the league's best team, to two overtimes before finally surrendering by two points, 75-73.

This should be about how the Utah Starzz, now 2-7 with a six-game losing streak, came back from a league-record 33-point loss at Phoenix Friday to dominate the Houston Comets behind career-highs of 27 points (13-for-25) and 16 rebounds from 7-foot-2 Margo "Mega" Dydek and a career-best 17 rebounds from Elena Baranova. About how steal-happy Houston had only three swipes in 50 minutes against the usually turnover-prone Utah Starzz.About how reigning league MVP Cynthia Cooper had to take 28 shots to make eight, 16 free throws to make 10. How Sheryl Swoopes was 6-for-15 shooting against former teammate Fran Harris, who made her work for every stat. How Tina Thompson was 2-for-15 shooting. How Chantel Tremitiere's first Starzz start at point guard saw her make only two turnovers in 37 minutes against Kim Perrot, who had seven steals in a regulation game the night before.

"We had the Phoenix blowout, and we took the world champions to double overtime," said Starzz guard Tammi Reiss, looking for positives.

But it can't really be a story about all that because it was more the story of Utah's meltdowns in crunch time after crunch time. The Starzz had many chances to put it away and didn't.

"I think we blew the game," said Tremitiere. "We should have won it."

"I remember just the bad things," said Dydek. "I think it was good game for fans, but we should win this game."

This is a story about the Starzz being confused about timeouts, when to call time and when to foul. Of taking three consecutive 3-point shots, two of them before taking time off the shot clock, in the first overtime when the score was tied at 57 and hurried threes weren't necessarily prudent. Of making a bad pass and trying too hard to immediately make up for it. Of going seven minutes without a field goal but still being ahead 55-51 with 21/2 minutes left in regulation, then seeing Perrot make her only steals of the game back-to-back and then putting Cooper at the line, fouling while frantically trying to get the ball back.

Of making an unforced bad pass that led to Cooper's fast-break layin that sent the game to overtime as no one could hit in the final minute of regulation. Of failing to foul in the backcourt with seven seconds left in the second overtime, down 74-73, and just letting Cooper eat clock time with her dribble. Of throwing the inbounds pass away, and of failing to foul quick-ly in backcourt again as Cooper dribbled for most of the final 4.1 seconds of second OT.

"In my opinion," said Comets coach Van Chancellor, "tonight's game was youth against a team that's been down the road."

"They played hard. We didn't play smart in situations," said Utah coach Denise Taylor.

When Perrot made her second steal and Harris fouled Cooper, who made two free shots, Utah probably should have called time to settle down after making three straight errors. Instead, a Dydek to Reiss pass was swiped by Thompson and Cooper's layin tied the game.

Of the long shots that were missed, Taylor said they were "just bad decisions," and said her team should have gone with what got them there - going inside and moving the ball around.