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Orlando almost needed miracle to hold off Mercury comeback

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Miracle already know how to come from behind. Now the first-year team must learn how to protect a lead.

The Miracle held a 16-point lead against Phoenix with 5:07 remaining but had to hold off a furious Mercury rally down the stretch for an 80-76 victory Monday night.Phoenix used a 17-4 run to close to 76-73 but got no closer. Orlando missed nine of 14 free throws in the final 3:34.

Nykesha Sales and Shari Sam led the Miracle with 20 points each, while Andrea Congreaves added 15.

Jennifer Gillom led Phoenix with 25 points, and Michele Timms added 16.

SPARKS-ROCKERS TRADE: The Los Angeles Sparks traded point guard Jamila Wideman, who is on injured reserve, to the Cleveland Rockers on Monday for seldom-used guard Jen Howard.

The Sparks then waived Howard to remain at the WNBA's 11-player roster limit.