WNBA President Stops In Houston To Promote Comets’ 2007 Season

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: April 18, 2007

Comets HOUSTON — WNBA commissioner Donna Orender stopped in Houstonto help promote the upcoming 2007 WNBA season, at Josephine’s, an italian restaurant in downtown Houston.

Renee Brown, Director of WNBA personnel, was also in attendance from New York City along with Houston Comets owner Hilton Koch, Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes, council member Ada Edwards and assistant Nzinza Rideaux, as well as representatives from the NBA/WNBA moms.

The WNBA, now in its 11th year is looking forward to the future of women’s basketball for many years to come. “Our sport is affordable and our players give everything that they have both on and off the court,” Ms. Orender stated.

“There are over 10 million girls playing basketball in the United States, 50 percent of those playing basketball are here in the city of Houston.”

Orender went on to talk about the success of the ticket sales for the 2007 WNBA All-Star game, which will be held in Washington, D.C..

“We are very excited about the fact that we have already sold over 11,000 tickets prior to the start of the 2007 season for the All Star Game,” Orender said.

The game will be played during the summer in July. The city of Houston is being considered for the 2008 WNBA All Star Game, but no decision has been made yet due to the fact that is an Olympic year.

The Comets are coming off of their first draft under new owner Koch and first-year head coach Karleen Thompson. In the first round of the WNBA Draft, Houston chose Ashley Shields from Southwest Tennessee with the eighth overall pick.

Shields transferred from Northwest Mississippi Community College to Southwest Tennessee after playing one season. She scored 673 points (25.9 ppg), averaged 11 rebounds and seven assists per game.

Shields was named to the 2007 Junior College/Community College Kodak/WBCA All-American team. She was also named Player of the Year in the Tennessee Junior and Community Athletic Association.

She scored an NJCAA record 65 points in the Lady Saluqis’ TJCCAA/NJCAA Region VII Tournament quarterfinal win over Cleveland State.

“Shields is one of the best players coming out of the 2007 draft,” Comets head coach Karleen Thompson said. “She’s a point guard who has the versatility to move to the shooting guard position”.

“She is also a tenacious defender who can handle the ball under pressure.”

Rounding out Houston’s selections were Vanderbilt guard Dee Davis (14th overall), in the second round, and center Kristin Newlin from Stanford (34th overall).

Davis, a 5-foot-7 guard, was a first-team All-SEC selection. She is a pure point guard and floor general. Newlin is a physical, low post player who can score consistently and has the ability to step out and shoot the three.

The Comets will begin training camp on May 8th, with their first game of the season coming on May 19th vs. the San Antonio Silver Stars.