HOUSTON — Utah may have lost 10 straight times to prevailing WNBA-champion Houston, including 73-71 in the Delta Center Saturday, but the Starzz say they go into Monday night's ESPN-televised game at 6 in the Compaq Center determined and unfazed.

"We have no fear," said Starzz forward Adrienne Goodson. "This team has faced a lot of adversity. We're at that point where we're going to explode. We're going to get to a point where we can learn to hold onto leads." Utah led by six with 4:18 left in Saturday's game.

And even going into Houston, where the Comets (6-1) have lost just eight regular-season games in three-plus seasons, Utah (3-3) is oddly confident.

"They're very beatable," said forward LaTonya Johnson. Following Saturday's loss, she was adamant that without Utah's unforced errors, like missed free throws, simple turnovers and failure to box out on rebounds, "I'm sure we would have beaten them, but, again, we beat ourselves. It's just the little mistakes that hurt us.

"They knew that," Johnson added. "They came in two days early. They feared us.

"They snuck out by the hair of their chinny-chin-chin, so I'll give it to them. I won't take anything away from them," Johnson said, "but hopefully, we'll play a lot better on Monday."

Facing the WNBA's dynasty — a team that has won three straight championships — just two days after losing a heartbreaker to them in the Delta Center "should fire us up to lose at home on a last-second shot. We have something to prove. We beat ourselves in the first half," said Starzz guard Stacy Frese. Her 3-pointer with nine seconds left tied the game at 71, and the rookie now stands second in the WNBA in 3-point efficiency (.600) and is still tied for first in free-throw percentage (1.000, 12-for-12).

Goodson lamented that the Starzz weren't able to control Houston's pick-and-roll play that works so well because most of its players can drive around players who body them up or shoot over any defender that gives them even the slightest look at the basket.

"They're running two specific plays that are killing us," Goodson said, adding it would simply take more practice and commitment to stop them. But they had already practiced those things and didn't execute in all instances, she said.

"I said all along," said coach Fred Williams, "that this was going to be a test for our team going against Houston early. We have them three times this month (also June 23)." All without point guard Jennifer Azzi (broken hand).

Houston coach Van Chancellor said Saturday's two-point escape was "typical of every game we've played (against Utah). Utah is really impressive," he said, adding the Starzz found a way to disrupt some of Houston's plays. "Some how, some way, the Comets find a way to win," Chancellor said of every Utah-Houston game since the league began play in 1997 — except one, a 74-63 Starzz win in the Delta Center on Aug. 2, 1997.

Four Utah-Houston games since 1998 have been decided by four points or less.

Regardless of Monday night's outcome, Utah must regroup quickly to host Orlando in the Delta Center on Tuesday night. That game kicks off the longest homestand of the season, three straight, with Charlotte visiting Thursday and Washington on Saturday.