Houston Comets’ Swoopes More Focus in 2005

By Joe Booker
Updated: May 26, 2005

HOUSTON, TX.—For the Houston Comets it has been the best of times and it has been the worst of times. The first four years when the Comets won the first four WNBA titles in WNBA history it was the best of times. The last four years without winning a title has been the worst of times. Last season, however, is one they would like to forget. For the first time in its eight year history the Comets was a lottery pick.

If the Comets are to return to the winning ways of old, WNBA All-Star Sheryl Swoopes must return to the Sheryl that helped the Comets win four consecutive WNBA titles.

Sheryl is one of the WNBA’s original players, being assigned to the Comets in the first player allocations on January 22, 1997. She has been named WNBA Most Valuable Player two times (2000, 2002) and voted Defensive Player of the Year on three occasions (2000, 2002, 2003) and four times named All-WNBA First Team.

Sheryl is coming in more focus and feels she has to prove something to herself.

“For me there are a lot of things I would like to accomplish. Not that I need to prove anything to anybody, but probably more to myself,” she said. “This season is going to be a lot different than last season was. I am coming here more focus than I was last season.”

How does Sheryl see this season?

This season is a lot different,” she said. “The biggest difference is coming in here and not having Tina (Thompson, who is out maternity leave) obviously, she has been a huge part of our success. It is going to be different, but at the same time I think we brought in some players who are happy to be here and happy to be in the WNBA that will help us.”

The return of veteran Janeth Arcain will be a big asset to the team.

“Janeth brings us added experience and chemistry,” said Sheryl. “Janeth knows our system and the year off has not hurt her.”

The Comets’ number 1 draft choice Sancho Lyttle out of the University of Houston could also make an impact as a first year player.

When Comets’ coach Van Chancellor was asked when he thought Lyttle would be ready to contribute his response was,” when the official throw the ball up.”

Last season Sheryl was slowed by an injury.

“The biggest thing that kept me down last season was the ankle injury I had at the end of last season. I feel injury free, knock on wood,” she said. I feel like the Sheryl of old.”

However, there is one nagging injury she may not be able to shake and that is her toe.

“I must deal with the toe and go out and practice and play and not focus on it,” she said.

One big reason Sheryl is so focus on this season is thinking about last season’s lottery team.

“For the first year in Comet history to not make the playoffs was very frustrating,” said Sheryl. It was like a slap in our face. A lot of people expected us to win, but I don’t know what they expect this season. No one expected the Rockets to be in the playoffs.

I haven’t gotten over it. If I have anything to do with it we will make the playoffs.”

Sheryl has looked like the Sheryl of old and the Comets started the regular season off in a winning note.

Even Archie Bunker (of All in the Family TV series) would be proud of Sheryl.

Well, maybe not Archie Bunker.