By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Houston Is Hotter Than July
HOUSTON — The Houston Comets took care of home by winning five straight games and set many records as they staked their claim as the hottest team in the WNBA prior to the Olympic break.
Houston defeated the Minnesota Lynx, Los Angeles Sparks, Phoenix Mercury, Detroit Shock and the Chicago Sky before five consecutive sellout crowds at the Reliant Arena.
The Comets are tied for fourth place with the Los Angeles Sparks in the Western Conference Division with a 14-12 record. They trail San Antonio, Seattle and Sacramento by three games in the standings.
The exclamation point came after the Comets defeated the Chicago Sky 79-65. Five Houston players scored in double-figures led by Tina Thompson with 16 points.
Roneeka Hodges, who made her first start of the season scored 15, while Shannon Johnson, Matee Ajavon, and Sancho Lyttle added 12,12, and 11 points each. Center Michelle Snow led the team in rebounds with 12.
Sky forward Candice Dupree led Chicago (8-17) with 28 points. Guard Jia Perkins added 15.
“We set a goal to take it one game at a time and we did,” Comets head coach Karleen Thompson said. “This was a well deserved victory and it is a much needed rest”.
A lot of history was made during the run for the Comets. With the 18-point victory over the Detroit Shock last Thursday, Coach Thompson tied the number of wins (13) that she received all of last season.
On Saturday night against Chicago, she surpassed that to have her highest number of wins (14) thus far this season. Other notables include:
– The Comets are 11-2 at home this season.
– Houston has been perfect at home (8-0) since June 26th, and 7-4 for the month of July.
– The Comets will have eight games left in the regular season after the Olympic break. Five of the games are against Western Conference opponents.
– They’ve fared well against Western conference foes sweeping San Antonio(3-0), they are 1-0 vs. Seattle, and 1-1 vs. Sacramento. Houston is also 1-1 vs. Los Angeles.
Houston will resume the season on August 28th and 30th on the road. They will face Seattle and Sacramento.
“I just know W’s,” Coach Thompson stated. “I told the team that we’re not looking at the Olympic break as a vacation, we are going to continue to do what we’ve been doing. Working hard and staying focus.”
THOMPSON NAMED WNBA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
For her efforts, Thompson was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played July 21st-27th.
She earned the fourth Player of the Week award of her career and her first since 2004. She posted 17.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists in route to a 3-0 record.
Houston defeated the Phoenix Mercury 94-92 on July 22nd. In that game, Thompson had 19 points and seven rebounds in 38 minutes. She posted similar numbers against the Shock on July 24th with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Thompson is averaging 17.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this season. In addition, she ranks among the Top 20 WNBA leaders this season in many categories, including points per game, rebounds per game and free throw percentage.
She ranks first overall in minutes per game (36.0) and fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.447). Thompson is preparing to bring home the gold medal with her other U.S. teammates at the Olympics in Beijing, China.
– All WNBA teams will be off during the month of August due to the Olympics.
– The Sacramento Monarchs had their seven game win streak come to an end when they lost a 77-71 decision to the Seattle Storm in Seattle. Sue Bird led the Storm with 24 points and Swin Cash added 13.
– The San Antonio Silver Stars continued to pad their Western Conference lead by handing the Detroit Shock a 76-64 loss. Detroit has lost two consecutive games since the suspensions from the Shock/Sparks brawl last week. Point guard Becky Hammon led the Silver Stars with 23 points.
– The Los Angeles Sparks got back in the groove with all of their players returning from suspension to defeat the Minnesota Lynx 92-84 in Minnesota. Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie led the Sparks with 23 points each. Delisha Milton-Jones added 18.
– Coach Thompson is planning to take at least one week off to herself during the Olympic break. “I hope to get some rest and I plan on splitting my time between my daughters. One is on the West Coast and the other on the East Coast.”
– Lyttle continues to tear the boards up and get double-figures in rebounding against Houston opponents. She had 10 rebounds vs. the Phoenix Mercury.
– Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman showed that she still had one nifty pass left in her. The 50-year old Lieberman came out of retirement to make a one-time only appearance in the Shock’s first game since last Tuesday night’s bench-clearing melee with the Los Angeles Sparks. Five Shock players were suspended and forward Cheryl Ford sustained a season-ending injury, prompting coach Bill Laimbeer to offer Lieberman a seven-day contract.
– The Comets set a season high for free throws made (28-of-31) vs. Phoenix on July 22nd. In the same game, the Mercury set an opponent season high of free throws made (31-of-34).
– Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi still stands as the single opponent with the most 30-point or more performances against the Houston Comets.
– Friends and Olympic teammates Thompson and Parker were able to limit one another to three and 16 points in Houston’s 75-72 win against the Sparks on July 19th in Reliant Arena.
– The Comets used a 30-9 third quart burst to defeat the Detroit Shock by 18-points in a 79-61 victory at Reliant Arena. Houston’s bench scored 50 of the team’s 79 points. Hodges led the Comets with 18 points. Thompson scored 17 points and Lyttle and Ajavon added 16 and 12 points respectively.
– Celebrities in the stands to watch the Comets/Shock game included: Houston Texans players DeMeco Ryans, Earl Cochran, Travis Johnson, Jacoby Jones, and Roosevelt Colvin.
– Former Houston Comets Cynthia Cooper was honored at the 2008 Conference for the “Black Women in Sports Foundation”. Other legends included: Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, Renee Powell, Wendy Hilliard, and Madeline Manning Mims.