Comets Lose WNBA Season Opener

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: May 24, 2007

Houston Comets HOUSTON — The Houston Comets blew a commanding lead and saw their first regular season victory go down the drain as they were defeated by the Seattle Storm 82-69 in the season-opener for both teams in Seattle.

Houston had the lead, the momentum and the Seattle Storm in disarry at Key Arena and then collapsed.

Leading by 22 points with five minutes left in the third quarter, the Comets managed just nine points during the final 15 minutes of the game. Seattle put up 44 during that same time span on the way to a 13-point victory.

“We knew that they were going to make a run and were going to come back,” Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes said. “I think they wanted it a little more than we did.”

The loss took the spotlight off a solid debut by rookie guard Ashley Shields. She entered the game midway through the first quarter when starter and fellow rookie Erin Grant picked up her third foul.

Shields scored a team-high 19 points in 29 minutes. “I was just ready to play and came out really focused,” Shields said. “I guess we’ll learn from our mistakes next game and have to make some adjustments.”

The loss messed up the coaching debut of first year head coach Karleen Thompson, who was very concerned about the letdown.

“You can’t just come to play for just 20 to 25 minutes,” said Thompson. “You have to play for 40. We just stopped doing the things we did to get the lead- the small things, like falling on the floor, getting loose balls, attacking the basket, and getting stops — we stopped doing all of it.”

Houston was in control from the midpoint of the second quarter to midway through the third. Down //<![CDATA[ went on an 11-0 run, sparked by their defense, takingu003cbr />a 46-37 lead into the lockerroom.u003cbr />u003cbr /> It continued into the third quarter as the Cometsu003cbr />put together a 14-1 surge during the first fiveu003cbr />minutes. Shields sanked a pair of free throws withu003cbr />5:20 left in the quarter , and Houston led 60-38.u003cbr />u003cbr /> The tables turned quickly as the Storm put up 14u003cbr />straight, closing in on the Comets lead at 62-54 atu003cbr />the end of three periods. By the five-minute mark thatu003cbr />lead was chopped down to three.u003cbr />u003cbr /> Seattle guard Sue Bird hit a driving layup withu003cbr />3:56 left, as the Storm took the lead for good atu003cbr />67-66.u003cbr />u003cbr /> Iziane Castro Marques led Seattle with 25 points,u003cbr />18 in the first half. Lauren Jackson went for au003cbr />double-double(23 points and 10 rebounds) and Bettyu003cbr />Lennox added 15. Bird finished with eleven.u003cbr />u003cbr /> Comets center Michelle Snow was the second leadingu003cbr />scorer with 16 points. Sheryl Swoopes added 15 andu003cbr />forward Tina Thompson scored 8 points and 4 reboundsu003cbr />in her first action of the season.u003cbr />u003cbr /> Houston will continue their road trip with a gameu003cbr />against the Phoenix Mercury, before traveling backu003cbr />home to face the San Antonio Silver Stars in theiru003cbr />home-opener on May 29th.u003cbr />u003cbr />u003cbr />u003c/div>”,0] ); //–> //]]> 35-32 with 6:15 left in the first half, the Comets went on an 11-0 run, sparked by their defense, taking a 46-37 lead into the locker room.

It continued into the third quarter as the Comets put together a 14-1 surge during the first five minutes. Shields sank a pair of free throws with 5:20 left in the quarter, and Houston led 60-38.

The tables turned quickly as the Storm put up 14 straight, closing in on the Comets lead at 62-54 at the end of three periods. By the five-minute mark that lead was chopped down to three.

Seattle guard Sue Bird hit a driving layup with 3:56 left, as the Storm took the lead for good at 67-66.

Iziane Castro Marques led Seattle with 25 points, 18 in the first half. Lauren Jackson went for a double-double (23 points and 10 rebounds) and Betty Lennox added 15. Bird finished with 11.

Comets center Michelle Snow was the second leading scorer with 16 points. Sheryl Swoopes added 15 and forward Tina Thompson scored eight points and four rebounds in her first action of the season.

Houston will continue their road trip with a game Friday against the Phoenix Mercury, before traveling backhome to face the San Antonio Silver Stars in their home-opener on Monday, May 29th.