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Charlotte stings Miracle, widens gap

Allison Feaster scored 19 points and Andrea Stinson added 16 as Charlotte beat Orlando 72-65 Friday night.

The Sting shot 7-for-18 from three-point range and shot 51 percent overall.

A three-pointer by Stinson with 2:57 left gave Charlotte a 65-61 lead, and a three-pointer by Feater with 33.2 seconds remaining gave the Sting a 70-63 lead.

Charlotte (9-12) moved 1{ games ahead of Orlando (7-13) in the battle for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin scored 19 points to lead Orlando, which slipped to 3-8 on the road. Elaine Powell added 15 points, and Shannon Johnson scored 14.

Charlotte limited McWilliams-Franklin to three rebounds and outrebounded Orlando 29-25.

There were seven lead changes in the first half before Charlotte moved out to a 38-34 advantage. The Sting shot 4-for-7 from three-point range in the first half. Feaster hit two three-pointers and scored 12 first-half points.

MIAMI 64, HOUSTON 50: Sheri Sam scored 18 points as the Sol extended its winning streak to a franchise-record six games.

Sandy Brondello scored 14 points and Elena Baranova added 12 for Miami.

LATE THURSDAY: Phoenix's Jennifer Gillom, who had 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting in a win against Portland, was removed from the court in a wheelchair after taking an elbow in the face from the Fire's Sylvia Crawley at the end. Portland called timeout after Fallon's shot dropped to break a 58-all tie with 0.7 seconds left. The inbound pass from Kristin Folkl went to Crawley, who was turning to get off a shot when she hit Gillom in the forehead.

The injury was diagnosed as a low-grade concussion.


INDIANAPOLIS _ The mother of guard Nick Van Exel was ambushed outside her apartment early Friday and shot four times, police said.

Joyce Van Exel, 47, was recuperating in an Indianapolis hospital.

She was shot once in the face, twice in the chest and once in the leg, but her wounds were not life-threatening, said Maj. Mike Turk of the Marion County Sheriff's Department.

"The only thing we have right now is that when she got home at about 12:30 a.m., she was approached by a black man who said "Hi' and then shot her four times," Turk said. "We are searching for a motive and a suspect."

BULLS: Confronted with a sudden shortage at point guard, the team acquired veteran playmaker Greg Anthony from the Trail Blazers for a future second-round pick.

HEAT: Forward Malik Allen and guard Mike James signed.

KNICKS: Free agent forward Clarence Weatherspoon signed a five-year, $27.5-million contract. The signing of shooting guard Allan Houston will be announced Monday.

LAKERS: Shooting guard Mitch Richmond, who last season became the 26th player in league history with 20,000 career points, and forward Samaki Walker signed contracts.

RAPTORS: With its three main free agents safely back in the fold, the team is targeting free agent center Hakeem Olajuwon. Coach Lenny Wilkens has flown to Houston to make his pitch directly to the former MVP.

The Houston Chronicle reported the Raptors are offering a four-year, $22.5-million contract and the Rockets have countered with a two-year offer after initially proposing a one-year, $4.1-million pact. Admitting Toronto was his third choice, center Antonio Davis re-signed for $64-million over five years. The Raptors also finalized a contract with point guard Alvin Williams.

TRAIL BLAZERS: Free agent guard Derek Anderson has made a verbal commitment to sign, and his agent has asked the Spurs to try to work out a sign-and-trade deal with the Blazers.