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Tina Thompson closes out on Rebecca Lobo as she gets up a jumper.

Her frustrations, in combination with the emotional exhaustion that likely lingered due to the deaths of her mother and Perrot, make Cooper’s decision to retire explainable. Could they have upset a super-elite Sparks team? I came back this year, and that was my role.”, Swoopes offered a different perspective, telling USA Today, “[Cynthia] might feel her role has changed or other people on the team may feel her role has changed. The Sparks superstar would sweep the MVP awards for the 2001 season: league MVP, All-Star Game and Finals. After missing the majority of the 1997 season due to pregnancy, Sheryl Swoopes in 1998 — who was presented to the world as the Comets’ superstar leading up to the league’s launch — began to flash her expected upside. Cooper’s play, however, did not suffer the consequences of these emotional strains. It is imaginable that the return of Cynthia Cooper could have launched the 2001 Comets into title contention. Swoopes’ emergence as the Comets’ MVP-winning central star during the 2000 season appeared to have exacerbated the long-simmering uneasiness of the Cooper-Swoopes partnership. The Comets are presented with their championship hardware. The absence of Swoopes likely would have allowed her to resume her role as the crux of the Comets’ offensive attack. Comparisons between Jordan’s Bulls and Cooper’s Comets soon emerged.

She would instead serve as head coach of the Phoenix Mercury, leading the Mercury to a unremarkable 13-19 record for the 2001 season. She practices, she plays and she lets nothing bother her. A 2001 Comets team organized around the potent pick-and-roll combination of Cooper-Thompson would have troubled opponents as much as ever. “You couldn’t ask for a better time to go out than on top with the Houston Comets as number one.”. If Coop had not retired following the 2000 WNBA season, could there have been an unprecedented fifth-straight championship?

Late in the 1999 season, Kim Perrot, a crucial supporting player during the Comets’ first two championship runs and Cooper’s best friend on the team, lost her fight against lung cancer.

Every time they went to the WNBA Finals, they won. August 30, 2018. In the playoffs, she elevated her scoring to 28 points per game to captain Houston to the WNBA’s first championship. On August 30th, 1997 the Houston Comets met the New York Liberty with a claim on the first-ever WNBA championship on the line.


Tina Thompson drives the lane en route to two of the 18 points that she would eventually tally in the championship. The “Houston Comets and their sweet star, Cynthia Cooper, made an observer recall the Chicago Bulls of yesteryear ... and one Michael Jeffrey Jordan,” the New York Times suggested, also noting “the eerie echoes of Jordan” in Cooper’s clutch scoring.

The now four-time champion, four-time Finals MVP and three-time league MVP affirmed her intention to retire. She plays at a top level night in and night out. “I think I’m in a supporting role, but I really don’t know what that is yet,” Cooper shared with USA Today. How she does it physically is a mystery to me.”.

What if she had come back for one more run? #tbt #cynthiacooper #knowyourhistory #ballislife #neosportsplantbasketball, A post shared by NEO Sportsplant Basketball (@neosportsplantbasketball) on Apr 25, 2019 at 5:45pm PDT. But just a week shy of her 30th birthday, her legacy off the court as an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ issues rivals her vast on-court successes. However, Cooper insisted that she and the Comets had more title winning to do. Where does the team, led by Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally, go from here? The WNBA's first-ever Coach of the Year recipient, Van Chancellor gives Cynthia Cooper instructions on the sideline. L.A. was led by Lisa Leslie, on a mission. By the time of the 2000 WNBA Finals, it was understood that she would retire after the season. By accessing any information beyond this page, you agree to abide by the NBA.com. Swoopes’ rising superstardom complicated Cooper’s preferred team hierarchy. Yet, it is difficult to discount the drive and determination the Comets demonstrated in the playoffs with Cooper in the mix. As a competitor, Cooper, rather understandably, was not ready to relinquish her offensive role. A Comets upset would have been a tall task.

Cooper talks with a reporter after the Comets historic victory. List of NCAA Division I College Teams and APR scores, Wings let Brian Agler go in mutual decision, Statistics aside, impact players for each 2020 WNBA team. 1 pick in the 1997 WNBA Draft, proved she was an extremely overqualified “third star.”. Cynthia Cooper and the Houston Comets took the WNBA by storm, winning the first four championships in league history. It thus was easy to envision that Cooper could have made a greater impact on the unfolding of the 2001 WNBA season as a player. For Cooper, this emotional blow followed the passing of her mother, who had died of breast cancer earlier that year. Along the way, she captured both the regular-season and Finals MVP awards. Reggie Miller, who served as analyst for Lifetime, concurred: “There are so many similarities in style and star quality between the two teams.”, When it came to such comparisons, Cooper demurred. She introduced to the WNBA the smooth, slicing and swaggering style she had developed while playing more than a decade in Italy. Tina Thompson, meanwhile, the No. Cynthia Cooper hoists the first-ever WNBA championship. “If it was my squad, I would know my role.”. Cooper is all smiles after donning the championship t-shirts and hats. “I have had a wonderful career in the WNBA,” she told the Washington Post.

Houston is still clearly a basketball city. In a season played in extraordinary conditions, the WNBA delivered its usual excellent on-court product while continuing to pave the way for athletes speaking on social justice.
The Comets were one of the founding teams in the WNBA. The offensive dynamo would register a game-high 25 points earning her MVP honors in the process. In short, Cooper was supposed to be Jordan and Swoopes had had a son named Jordan. “We both play with extreme passion.”. The following season, Cooper and the Comets confirmed their dynastic destiny. All the more, she was surrounded by a fantastic supporting cast, highlighted by fellow starters Tamecka Dixon, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Mwadi Mabika and Ukari Figgs. Sheryl Swoopes was on mainstay in the Comets lineup and while she was known for her smothering defense, she also added a solid offense spark when need be for Houston. The championship credentials of Cynthia Cooper’s Houston Comets rival those of Jordan’s Chicago Bulls — Cooper and the Comets won four-consecutive WNBA championships from 1997 to 2000. The championship credentials of Cynthia Cooper’s Houston Comets rival those of Jordan’s Chicago Bulls — Cooper and the Comets won four-consecutive WNBA championships from 1997 to 2000.

Opening Tip.

The Comets finished the 1999 regular season 26-6 and captured their third-consecutive championship, with Cooper again claiming the Finals MVP trophy. By repeatedly raising the roof on her play, improving and excelling into her mid-30s, she also raised the roof on what was possible for women’s professional basketball more broadly, showing that women players could be unapologetically and enthusiastically obsessed with winning. Brittney Griner entered the WNBA to bully opponents in the paint and slam down dunks. Tina Thompson remained terrific, while Janeth Arcain, a supporting guard during the four title runs, raised her play, turning in an All-Star worthy 2001 season. There’s a decent chance she could have had five championship rings.

Tina Thompson embraces Kim Perrot after the Comets win.

Las Vegas Aces sharpshooter Kayla McBride shared candidly in The Players’ Tribune about the mental health challenges she faced when the coronavirus pandemic took basketball away. Yet, after winning her fourth title, Cooper opted against pursuing a five-peat. This unfortunate injury, along with Cooper’s retirement, appeared to affirm that the Houston Comets dynasty was done. This Cooper-infused 2001 Comets team likely would not have bested the 28-4 regular-season record of the Sparks. The Comets, of course, won a second title, with Cooper earning her second-straight Finals MVP award. Copyright 2020 NBA Media Ventures, LLC | Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved. Court Unveil: Home of the 2020 WNBA Season.

Cynthia Cooper would be the star of the Comets first WNBA championship. What Brian Agler’s exit means for the Wings in 2021. 10 biggest moments of the 2020 WNBA season. Cooper would have enhanced the Houston offense. “The bottom line, though, is that both teams have one thing in common,” Cooper told the Times. Two-time WNBA champion head coach Brian Agler leaves the Dallas Wings after a lackluster two-year tenure. WNBA Championship 1997 They capped off the league’s inaugural season in 1997 with a win over the New York Liberty in the WNBA championship game to win the WNBA’s first championship. Van Chancellor, head coach of the Houston Comets, enthused to Sports Illustrated after the 1999 season, “She is the most focused basketball player I have ever seen.

Cooper remained resistant to her adapted role.

Kayla McBride: ‘The world stopped’ ... and ‘the dark stuff’ came out.

…the WNBA’s inaugural champion, the Houston Comets, also folded. “It hasn’t been an easy transition for me,” Cooper told the Orlando Sentinel early in the 2000 season. In the Finals, however, MVP honors again belonged to Cooper. It would be the first of four straight championships for the duo. What if Cynthia Cooper had not retired after the 2000 WNBA season?

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