CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Andrea Stinson scored 23 points and Vicky Bullett added 16 Thursday night as the Charlotte Sting beat the Phoenix Mercury 88-72.

Charlotte quickly took the lead and Phoenix could only get as close as 18-16 and 29-26 in the first half.

The Mercury cut the lead to two with 9:01 to go in the first half, but Christy Smith and Stinson hit consecutive 3-pointers. With less than three minutes to go in the half, Stinson stole the ball and Bullett hit a 10-foot jumper to push the lead to 31-26.

Stinson closed the half with a driving layup to put Charlotte ahead 39-26.

The second half was all Charlotte with Bullett leading the way with 12 points.

Bullet's jumper with 13:41 to go gave the Sting a 55-34 lead, and another running jumper five minutes later pushed the lead to 65-44.

Jennifer Gillom's layup with 5:48 to go made it 72-52, as close as the Mercury got until the closing 30 seconds, when Clarissa Davis-Whitesil and Michele Timms sank 3-pointers for Phoenix.

Gillom lead the Mercury with 20 points.