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Rockets: How the Houston Comets became the dynasty that started it all for the WNBA

Cynthia Cooper #14 of the Houston Comets
Cynthia Cooper #14 of the Houston Comets
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Houston Rockets
Sheryl Swoopes #22 of the Houston Comets Mandatory Credit: Ronald Martinez /Allsport

How the Houston Rockets assisted in the formation of the Comets’ dynasty

With it being the first season of the WNBA, the draft was held in different parts. First, it was players who were assigned to different teams and by a stroke of luck, the Comets secured Cynthia Cooper-Dyke (previously Cynthia Cooper), who is one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

The second part of the draft was players who played in other leagues, and the third phase was college players who were entering the draft. This is when the Comets drafted Tina Thompson with the first overall pick out of USC. The Comets were able to recruit Sheryl Swoopes to join the Comets and form the big three.

At the time, Houston Rockets long-time assistant coach Carroll Dawson was pulling double duty as the General Manager of the Comets, and was able to stockpile a massive amount of talent, which Thompson recently marveled over.

“We knew that we were really good. And it’s a credit to Carroll Dawson, he was the president of the Houston Rockets. He picked that team. His basketball mind is unbelievable. Carroll Dawson is a student of the game.

He picked our team, including me, from like a box of tapes. So he just went through hours and hours of tape. And didn’t know any of us, hadn’t met us, had no idea who I was.

He just watched everybody. It wasn’t just us in there, it was the whole league. So he’s going through all this film and he picks our team from a box of cassette tapes, VHS. It was crazy.”

Thompson was the best player in women’s college basketball at the time, Sheryl Swoopes is one of the greatest college basketball players to ever play the game (women or men), and Cynthia Cooper was still at that time the best women’s basketball player in the world, even at the age of 34.

There aren’t too many teams in the history of basketball that can match that level of talent, on either the men or women’s side.

The roster was filled out with veterans like Janeth Arcain, Tammy Jackson, and of course the late great Kim Perrot. Bringing the team together on the court was Van Chancellor, who was one of the best head coaches in college women’s basketball.

With all the pieces in place, the Comets were ready to start the first-ever WNBA season.

Next: The Comets' dynasty

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