Houston Roundball Review: Women's Hoops

This is The Houston Roundball Review's (www.TheHRR.com) blog to discuss women's basketball. The HRR began in 1994 and has been media credentialed to cover college and pro hoops since 1997. Member of the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Comets vs. Sky

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Comets (13-12) will try to sweep their five-game homestand tonight versus the Chicago Sky (8-16). The Comets are 6 and 4 in their last 10 games while the Sky won just 3 of their last 10 ball games.

Here are the starting line-ups:

Chicago Sky
#4 Candice Dupree
#21 Brooke Wycoff
#44 Chasity Melvin
#11 Jia Perkins
#32 Kristen (KB) Sharp

Houston Comets
#7 Tina Thompson
#99 Hamchetou Maiga-Ba
#2 Michelle Snow
#15 Roneeka Hodges
#41 Shannon Johnson

#8 Daryl Humphrie
#12 Marat Kogut
#51 Kane Fitzgerald

Update, 7:59 p.m. -- End of 1st quarter: Comets 19, Sky 10.

Sloppy. Sloppy. Sloppy. 

Each team committed seven turnovers in the first period.

Tina Thompson led the Comets with five points in the quarter while Jia Perkins led the Sky with five as well.

Chicago shot 3 for 13 (23.1%) from the field and the Comets shot 6 for 13 (46.2%).

Two highlights: Michelle Snow swatted a lefty lay-up attempt by Chicago's Armentie Price and, a minute later, Sancho Lyttle blocked a shot by Sylvia Fowles.

Update, 8:12 p.m. -- Comets 29, Sky 12, 4:21 left in the 2nd period.

I'm pretty sure the score is correct; however, there's a stats problem somewhere along press row.

Update, 8:23 p.m. -- Halftime: Comets 42, Sky 33.

Tina Thompson led the Comets with 10 first-half points. Chicago's Candice Dupree leads all scorers with 13 points.

Sancho Lyttle came off the bench to score nine points and pull down four rebounds.

The Comets shot 15 for 28 (53.6%) in the half while the Sky shot 12 for 30 for 40.0%.

Houston turned the ball over 10 times to eight for the Sky.

The Comets led by as much as 15 points in the half.

Update, 8:58 p.m. --  End of 3rd quarter: Comets 56, Sky 49.

A lot of action was displayed in the period. Chicago's Jia Perkins saved a loose ball by diving into the second row (near the Comets' bench); banged into a few fans; got back onto the court and drained a three-point shot. Then, Perkins hit another three to trim the Comets lead to 54 to 49 with less than 30 seconds left in the period.

Houston's Sancho Lyttle followed that up with a score on an alley-oop.

Sylvia Fowles blocked a shot attempt by Michelle Snow earlier in the quarter.

Armentie Price blocked an earlier shot by Snow in the quarter, too.

Athleticism was in full effect.

Candice Dupree has 21 points after three quarters.

Tina Thompson has 14 for the Comets.

Update, 9:05  p.m. -- Final: Comets 79, Sky 65.

Five Comets players scored in double-figures as the Comets defeated the Chicago Sky (8-17) for the game while the Sky managed to make just 23 of their 60 field goal attempts. With the win, the Comets (14-12) head into the month-long WNBA Olympics break with a five-game winning streak as the team completed its homestand with a perfect 5 and 0 mark.

Tina Thompson led the Comets with 16 points. Roneeka Hodges added 15 points while Matee Ajavon's 13 points and Sancho Lyttle's 11 points helped the Comets' bench outscore the Sky's bench 26 to 16. Shannon Johnson added 12 points and five assists.

Chicago's Candice Dupree led all scorers with 28 points and Jia Perkins added 15 points; however, no other player reached double figures for the Sky.

The Comets shot 29 for 60 (48.3%) from the field for the game while Chicago made just 23 of 60 from the field for only 38.3%.

Update, 8:47 a.m. -- Post-game quotes:

Houston Comets Head Coach & General Manager Karleen Thompson

On the Olympic break

"We just stressed that it is not a vacation. I want them to get some rest so they can rest their minds and everything else but they have their workouts to do; to just remain focused and cheer their teammates on. You know Tina [Thompson] and [Hamchetou] Maiga-Ba are both going over. But it is a well-deserved break and we set a goal when we came back from the road trip in which we had dropped three games. To win five games at home and take one game at a time and we did that. I am extremely proud of them."

On the keys to the winning streak

"To be honest with you I don't even think about that. But you know what? It is good now that I think about it, yea of course. You know it is a positive. For me nothing is personal and it is all about the team and I am just happy that we have turned this thing around. We just need to keep moving where we want to go."

On the Comets Rookie Matee Ajavon

"She is exactly what we need her to be is that spark off the bench. She actually loves coming of the bench and that is what I love about her. She sacrifices everything for the team and she gives us that running game but she is dangerous in the open courts. She is a great passer, team player, and she is doing a great job for us."

Houston Comets forward Tina Thompson

On Team Morale

"It looks like they are a little excited for the break. It has been a tough stretch for us. Even though we were at home we were playing almost everyday. Although the break is very long I think that everyone kind of needs a little bit of a rest. Everyone except myself and Maiga-Ba will get one. [with a smile] I assume that they are very excited but I don't know. I don't get a rest so I don't know exactly how they are feeling. I think that our feelings are probably a little bit different."

On Preparation for the 2008 Olympics

"Oh, it is very easy. You don't have to get up for it but it is what it is so we will go in there extremely excited; ready to play and play hard. Gosh, I mean I am playing with a great group of women so I am excited about that in itself."

Houston Comets guard Shannon Johnson

On the Road

"What we will take over this break is the confidence that we can play really well together. We play really strong together and whenever we go away after the break the most important thing is just staying together through all of our practices. Just making the team better for when we come back."

Chicago Sky Head Coach Steve Key

On tonight's performance

"Obviously we ran into a hot team especially at home. I thought the Comets did a great job of coming out very focused and knew what they wanted to do offensively. We played good defense at times, but they were one shot better."

On the Olympic break

"I was telling Coach Thompson before the game at shoot around that before the season we said whichever team is playing hot right before the break is probably going to be mad. That's how you break all the momentum you have. You win a lot of games like five in a row, now they're taking like thirty days off, they have good feelings for it but they're going to be out of rhythm like everybody else. So, a team like us where we win one and then lose one, maybe this is a perfect time for us because we are a little banged up. We're just getting Sylvia back, Dominique Canty is out, and that's two fifths of my line-up. So I'm happy for this day, I'm sure other teams are unhappy about it."

Chicago Sky forward Candice Dupree

On the Olympic break

"It will give us a chance to get healthy. Coach Key was just saying how it will give them time to get together as a coaching staff. Once the break is over, Sylvia and Dominique will be able to come back with us and be ready to go after the break."

Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles

On tonight's performance:

"For the most part, I think we came out flat. We were flat in the beginning and tried to pick it up in the second half. We know we can't do that. We have to start out on top and have a better game. Our defense is what gets us going."

On transitioning from the Chicago Sky team to the USA Olympic team:

"I don't think it will tough. It's more of a mental thing. You just have to go in there focused and ready to play when your name is called."
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Comets vs. Mercury

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Comets (11-12) and the Phoenix Mercury (11-12) set to square off tonight inside Reliant Arena.

On July 8, in an earlier match up between the two teams, the Mercury came from behind to the top the Comets 99 to 94 in front of 15,499 fans in Phoenix, AZ.

Both teams bring two-game winning streaks into tonight's game.

Houston is 8 and 2 at home while the Mercury is 5 and 7 on the road.

Tonight's game will be the third (of five) consecutive home games for the Comets before the WNBA takes a month off for the 2008 Olympics.

Tonight's Starters and Officials

Phoenix Mercury
#3 Diana Taurasi
#43 Le'Coe Willingham
#50 Tangela Smith
#2 Kelly Miller
#23 Cappie Pondexter

Houston Comets
#7 Tina Thompson
#99 Hamchetou Maiga-Ba
#2 Michelle Snow
#20 Tamecka Dixon
#41 Sancho Lyttle

#15 Scott Twardoski
#50 Shelly Nakasone
#24 Tony Dawkins

Update, 7:57 p.m. -- End of 1st quarter: Comets 21, Mercury 25.

The Mercury launched 25 shots in the first quarter and made. Diana Taurasi is 5 for 9 from the field and has 12 points.

Tina Thompson went 0 for 4 in the first quarter. Michelle Snow led the Comets with seven points followed by five from Tamecka Dixon and three from Hamchetou Maiga-Ba.

The Mercury scored 11 fast-break points to just two for the Comets. The Merc also outrebounded the Comets 15 to 6. 

Update, 8:28 p.m. -- Halftime: Comets 43, Mercury 52.

18 fouls were called in the second quarter; but, the Phoenix Mercury finished period with a scoring flurry to take a nine-point lead into the locker rooms.

Diana Taurasi missed her only two field goals in the quarter but made all six of her free throws to give her 18 points in the first half.

Michelle Snow leads the Comets with 10 points -- but just three in the second quarter.

The Comets did a better job on the boards (12 to 9) in the period; but, Houston's offense bogged down late in the quarter as turnovers and poor shot selection allowed the Mercury to go on a 10 to 2 run to lead 52 to 40 before Houston's Shannon Johnson swished a three-point shot with 1.3 seconds left in the half.

Tina Thompson went 2 for 6 in the quarter.

Sancho Lyttle shot 1 for 5 from the field in the half; but, she grabbed five rebounds in 13 minutes of play.

Update, 9:09 p.m. -- End of 3rd quarter: Comets 69, Mercury 72.

While many of the media at press row are trying to read about the scrum in Auburn Hills, MI, between the Detroit Shock and the Los Angeles Sparks, the Comets outscored the Mercury 26 to 20 in the third period in an exciting period.

Tina Thompson scored seven points in the period. Mateej Ajavon came off the bench and added six. Houston outscored Phoenix 10 to 2 in the paint in the 3rd.

Diana Taurasi scored seven for Phoenix while Kelly Mazzante drained two more three pointers (5 in the game). Mazzante has 15 points in the game.

15 fouls were called in the third period.

Update, 9:48 p.m. -- Final: Comets 94, Mercury 92.

An exciting fourth quarter capped off an exciting ball game. Despite 31 points from Diana Taurasi, Houston's Sancho Lyttle stole an in bound pass with 15.4 seconds remaining as Phoenix tried to tie the game at 92. Lyttle's steal led to free throws by teammate Shannon Johnson. Johnson sank both free throws to give the Comets a 94 to 90 lead. Taurasi scored a lay-up to cut Houston's lead to two; but, the Comets were able to quickly inbound the ball and avoid the Mercury's attempts to foul to ice the ball game.

Houston's Matee Ajavon scored 12 points off the bench. Lyttle added eight points and 10 rebounds (and a bunch of missed lay ups). Comets wing player Roneeka Hodges scored eight key points in her 17 minutes of game action off the bench.

Tina Thompson led the Comets with 19 points despite shooting 5 for 16 from the field. Michelle Snow added 16 points and Sahnnon Johnson and Tamecka Dixon each chipped in with 10 points.

The two teams shot a combined 65 free throws (Houston 28 for 31, Phoenix 31 for 34) in the game.

The Comets converted 19 turnovers by the Merc into 21 points while Phoenix scored 20 points off the Comets 15 turnovers.

With the win, the Comets improve to 12 and 12 on the season and knock the Mercury's record to 11 and 13.
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Comets host Sparks

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Comets (10-12) host the Los Angeles Sparks (13-9) tonight inside Reliant Arena. The game is a sold out.

Tonight's game will be the second time this season the two teams will face other. On July 9, LA's Candace Parker scored a career-high 40 points (to go along with 16 rebounds; five blocked shots; six assists; and two steals) to lead the Sparks to an 82 to 74 overtime win in Los Angeles.

The Comets hope to continue their winning ways at home during this five-game homestand. Houston is 7 and 2 at home thus far this season.

Here are the starting line-ups:

Los Angeles Sparks
#3 - Candace Parker
#8 - DeLisha Milton-Jones
#9 - Lisa Leslie
#24 - Marie Ferdinand-Harris
#6 - Shannon Bobbitt

Houston Comets
#7 - Tina Thompson
#20 - Tamecka Dixon
#2 -- Michelle Snow
#99 - Hamchetou Maiga-Ba
#41 - Shannon Johnson

#38 - Lamont Simpson
#49 - Kevin Sparrock
#6 - Bonita Spence

Update: 7:57 -- End of 1st Quarter: Comets 23, Sparks 14.

The Houston Comets dominated the Sparks in the first period on the boards. The  Comets out rebounded the Sparks 14 to 7.

Michelle Snow and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba each scored nine points for Houston. Lisa Leslie and DeLisha Milton-Jones each scored five for LA.

The Comets shot 10 for 22 (45.5%) from the field while the Sparks made just 6 of their 17 shots (35.3%).

The Comets outscored the Sparks 14 to 6 in the paint.

Update, 8:27 pm -- Halftime: Comets 40, Sparks 30.

The Comets continued their domination of the Sparks in the paint. Houston outscored the Comets 8 to 6 in the second quarter and 22 to 12 in the first half.

Comets forward Sancho Lyttle came off the bench and grabbed eight rebounds in just 11 minutes. Lyttle also blocked a driving lay-up attempt by LA's Candace Parker.

The Comets scored 10 fast-break points to the Sparks' four.

The Comets shut out the Sparks on 2nd chance points 9 to 0.

Michelle Snow led all scorers with 11 points in the first half. LA's Big Three of Parker (6 points); Milton-Jones (8 points) and Leslie (7 points) combined to score 21 of the Sparks 30 first-half points.

The Comets shot 5 for 15 in the second quarter and 15 for 37 (40.5%) from the field in the first half. The Sparks shot 6 for 17 in each quarter for 12 for 34 (35.3%).

Houston is 0 for 6 from the three-point line while LA is 3 for 9.

Update, 9:05 pm -- Comets 45, Sparks 41, 3:49 left in the 3rd quarter.

Some interesting officiating has taken place in the third quarter. LA scored the first 10 points of the period. A flagrant 1 foul was called on LA's Keisha Brown (against Shannon Johnson) was followed up by a bizarre clear path foul called on Shannon Johnson (against Keisha Brown).

Elbows are starting to fly, too. Tempers are getting heated. A technical foul was just called on Pee Wee at the 3:33 mark.

Update, 9:17 pm -- End of 3rd quarter: Comets 53, Sparks 46.

After the LA Sparks scored 10 straight points to tie the game at 40, the Comets outscored the Sparks 13 to 6 to take a seven point lead into the fourth period.

Houston shot 5 for 16 in the third period from the field. LA shot 3 for 9 (33.3%). The Comets shot 3 for 5 from the foul line while the Sparks shot 10 for 13.

The Comets continued their dominance in the paint outscoring the Sparks 10 to 2 in the period.

Lisa Leslie scored six of LA's 16 third-quarter points.

Update, 9:50 pm -- 4th Quarter: Comets 65, Sparks 65-- overtime.

Lisa Leslie tied the game at 65 with a DEEP three-point shot with just 6.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Houston's Tamecka Dixon made a big steal late in the fourth quarter to squash a Sparks' possession.

FGs -- Houston: 7 for 20. LA: 7 for 16.
FTs -- Houston: 9 for 12. LA: 7 for 9.

Update, 10:10 pm -- Final score: Comets 75, Sparks 72 -- Overtime.

Houston center Michelle Snow led all scorers with 20 points as the Houston Comets edged the Los Angeles Sparks 75 to 72 in front of a sold out Reliant Arena.

The Comets (11-12) have now won the first two games of a five-game homestand. The Sparks (13-10) have lost two straight.

The game was intense and sloppy at times; but, it was definitely exciting!

The Comets outscored the Sparks 38 to 22 in the paint.

Houston's Tina Thompson struggled from the field and made just 1 of 11 her attempts. She finished the game with only three points.

The game got chippy and sloppy in the second half. One flagrant foul; one clear-path foul; and one technical foul was called in the third quarter. The two teams combined for 41 turnovers.

Update, 11:50 pm -- a few post-game quotes from the Los Angeles Sparks

Sparks' head coach Michael Cooper: "What a game?! Another one for the WNBA! What a great game to play in front of the fans! Houston has always been a staple of the league. The fans come out and support them. I think it was great. It was game we should have won; but, again, Houston played us tough. They played us tough in LA; and, here we go (tonight) with another overtime. We just came up short. I thought we got out rebounded; and, we didn't hit shots when we needed to."

Cooper (on the team's final possession in OT): "We were trying to get a three point shot. Obviously, we needed that. Again, Bobbitt's (rookie point guard Shannon Bobbitt) trying to learn. She didn't get the ball down the court as fast as she could have. Plus, she went down the wrong side of the court for the play; but, the game shouldn't have come down to that. We were up by two points in overtime. In LA, we scored the first seven points (in the overtime); but, games come down to you win some you lose some. But, I thought our players took a step forward in their maturation in the league tonight."

Sparks' center Lisa Leslie (opening thoughts on the game): "It was a great game. I thought it was good for the fans. Both teams played hard; and, unfortunately, the better team lost tonight."

Leslie (difference in 1st and 2nd halves): "We were getting out rebounded in the first half. They did a good job of boxing us out. In the second half, we crashed the offensive boards and did a good job of making them have one and dones on their offense which helped us get back in the game."

Sparks' forward Candace Parker (opening thoughts on the game): "Obviously, like Lisa said, I felt like we were the better team. We forced overtime; and, we thought we had it in overtime. They made plays down the stretch and we didn't."

Parker (on what she could have done differently in the game): "Obviously, I could have help the team a little bit more on the boards. Normally, I'm a little bit more effecient on the boards and things like that; but, that's the best thing about the WNBA, you have another game in two days and you're able to redeem yourself."

Parker (on what the Comets did differently tonight compared to their early match up): "I think they did a few more things differently; but, overall, today's game called for moving the ball and finding the open player."

Parker (on LA's last possession in overtime): "I took the ball out because Dixon hit the two free throws. Then, I was supposed to run down and get into the play but the dribble hand off didn't work; and, we ended up get into the play too late."

Update, 7/20, 9:15 am --  post-game comments from Houston Comets

Houston Comets Head Coach Karleen Thompson (On Team Defense)
“Well we wanted to double Candace Parker and force her back to the middle. We wanted to make her pass the ball and take away her one-on-one. She is a phenomenal player and tough to guard. It takes a team effort and we made the adjustments on her and it worked.”

(On the Starters)
“Whoever goes out on the floor plays hard. I think that the momentum was going our way and we stayed with it. You make the necessary adjustments when things are not going your way. Watch out for us!” 

Houston Comets center Michelle Snow (On Team’s Intensity)
“Honestly, a lot of our attitudes were that we were upset and mad about the last time that we played them..We just felt like we didn’t finish that game out. We needed to close this game and we knew that we could beat them. I thought that everybody came out playing hard and hustling. We were running the floor and forcing them to play us because we were very aggressive.”

On Her 3-Pointer

“I have been telling them that I could shoot threes for years. I do it in practice sometimes just to mess with everybody but I know that I can shoot them. I know that as a 6-5 post player that is my last option but nobody was open so I shot it.”

Houston Comets guard Tamecka Dixon (On Tonight’s Game)
“You know we actually put that loss behind us. We felt like we played well enough the first time to beat them but we came up short. We put that behind us. We are about winning these games for the homestand and we did that tonight.”

Houston Comets forward Sancho Lyttle (On Her Play Tonight)
“Well I was just trying to keep up what I have been doing so far. Even if you come off the bench you have to do what you have to do.” 
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wells-Broughton is TSU's Coach

HOUSTON, TX -- This afternoon, Yolanda Wells-Broughton, was introduced as the new head women's basketball coach at Texas Southern University.

"We're pleased to have a person like Coach Wells-Broughton coming from a national powerhouse program like LSU," said TSU's Athletics Director Charles McClelland. "She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in all aspects of the game."

Wells-Broughton comes to TSU after serving one year as an assistant coach at LSU under fomer WNBA Houston Comets head coach Van Chancellor. (Yesterday, Van Chancellor told the media Wells-Broughton would be named TSU's new women's basketball coach.)

Prior to her stint at LSU, Wells-Broughton served as an assistant coach at Texas Christian University from 2004 - 2007. In her three years at TCU, Wells-Broughton helped the team into the NCAA Tournament all three seasons.

Though she is getting a relatively late start (the summer recruiting period has already begun), Wells-Broughton does not mind the challenge one bit.

"I'm very confident that Texas Southern's athletic department has hired the right person," said head coach Wells-Broughton. "With my experience going into LSU last year, I went to LSU five months pregnant and they had nine kids graduating. We graduated nine and had to replace nine. Nevertheless, the results are we had the number four recruiting class in the country. I think TSU is a great challenge; but, with my experience, I have no doubt that I can get it done."

She has to sign "only six kids in the upcoming class" for TSU.

Wells-Broughton hopes to install and instill a new winning attitude at Texas Southern; and she told everyone within earshot TSU's winning "started this morning". With all of her players on the same page as the coaching staff, Wells-Broughton believes the change toward a winning culture should take a couple of years.

"There's a lot of talent in the state of Texas; and, even when I was recruiting at LSU, I was recruiting kids out of the city of Houston and the surrounding area. I'm looking forward to it. I'm not sure we're going to have to go out of the state of Texas to recruit."

Though she was only on LSU's coaching staff with Van Chancellor for just one season, Wells-Broughton said she learned quite a bit from him.

"He taught me family comes first; but, he also taught me how to recruit. How to take my recruiting to another level and how to 'close the deal'. Not only start it but finish it. I love the pro-style offense form. I thank God for him for taking a chance on me. I was pregnant with two kids; and, he gave me an opportunity."

"I'm excited. My family is here; and, my family has supported me my entire career. It's just a blessing that my family is now right down the street from me."

Fans of TSU should like the style of play -- on offense and defense -- Wells-Broughton plans to bring to TSU.

"I've been associated with mostly uptempo. I really want to push the ball. I want to incorporate (Memphis head coach John Calipari) Calipari's offense which is a dribble drive offense and create a lot of shots. I want to press and try to get easy baskets off of it."

Wells-Broughton's recruiting philosophy should ring a bell to fans who've followed Cynthia Cooper's recruiting attitude at Prairie View A&M.

"Recruits will have to tell me 'No.' That's my philosophy. I'm still going after the stud athletes. Someone is going to give us an opportunity. We're not only going to knock on the door we're going to kick the door down until they tell us 'No'."

Wells-Broughton is a native Houstonian; and, she attended Spring Woods High School. She played college basketball at Grambling State University from 1992 - 1994. As a player at GSU, she earned all-conference honors and helped GSU earn its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament in 1994.
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Comets host Lynx

Update, 1:03 p.m. -- Final score: Comets 96, Lynx 88.

Tina Thompson scored a team-high 25 points and Tamecka Dixon chipped in 22 points to help lead the Comets to a 96 to 88 win over the Minnesota Lynx before an announced sell-out crowd of 7,261 fans on Kids Day.

Houston forward Sancho Lyttle pulled down a game-high 18 rebounds to go along with her 16 points. Hamchetou Maiga-Ba added 14 points.

Candice Wiggins scored a game-high 27 points for the Lynx.

Houston's record improves to 10 and 12 while Minnesota's record falls to 10 and 11. Today's win by the Comets evens the regular-season series at two wins each.

Both teams shot 34 for 70 (48.6%) from the field in the game. Houston shot 96% (24 for 25) from the free throw line. Minnesota shot 13 for 18 (72.2%) from the foul line.

Update, 12:31 p.m. -- End of 3rd: Comets 71, Lynx 63.

Comets shot 9 for 20 from the field and 8 for 9 from the foul line in the third. Minnesota shot 8 for 19 from the field and 6 for 9 from the charity stripe.

Tina Thompson's 20 points leads all scorers. Tamecka Dixon has 16; Sancho Lyttle has 12 points and 10 rebounds; while Hamchetou Maiga-Ba added 10.

Seimone Augustus leads the Lynx with 15 points; Candice Wiggins has 14 and Vanessa Hayden-Johnson has 12.

The Comets have out rebounded the Lynx 30 to 25.

Update, 11:50 a.m. -- Halftime: Comets 45, Lynx 41.

Tina Thompson scored 16 points off the bench for the Comets. Tamecka Dixon scored eight points. Lyttle and Maiga-Ba each added six points.

Candice Wiggins scored 10 of Minnesota's 30 bench points.

Both teams shot very well from the field: Comets (17 for 30, 56.7%). Lynx (18 for 33, 54.5%).

Shannon Johnson dished five of Houston's 12 first half assists while Minnesota's Lindsey Harding handed out four of Minny's nine assists.

Minnesota scored 16 points in the paint to Houston's 14.

Two lead changes and two ties in the first half.

Update, 11:30 a.m. -- End of 1st quarter: Comets 24, Lynx 17.

For the first time in her career, Tina Thompson did not start. Due to an "ocurrence" which took place in yesterday's practice.

Despite Thompson's not starting, the Comets got off to a great start and led by as many as 11 points in the quarter. Minnesota's Candice Wiggins scored eight points to help the Lynx get back in the game.

Houston shot 9 for 14 (63.3%) from the field in the quarter. Minnesota shot 7 for 14 from the field.

Update, 7/17/08, 10:40 a.m. -- Tina Thompson is not in the starting line up for the Comets; but, she is in uniform and she did participate in today's warm ups.

HOUSTON, TX -- It's Kids' Day at Reliant Arena as the Houston Comets (9-12) host the Minnesota Lynx (10-10). Tip is set for 11 a.m. If you've never experienced a Kids' Day event, prepare yourself for lots and lots of kids screaming, hollering, and enjoying themselves!

Today's game is the fourth and final time the Comets and the Lynx will face each other in the regular season. The Lynx won the first match up on May 27 with a 98 to 92 overtime win in Houston. The Comets won the next game, June 21, 72 to 65 in Minnesota. The third game took place just a few days ago, July 12, in Minnesota, and the Lynx topped the Comets 85 to 71. As a result of the Lynx two wins, today's game is very important for the Comets to win in order to tie the regular season series at 2. If the Comets lose, the Lynx would win the head-to-head match up 3 to 1 and, technically, move 3.5 games ahead of the Comets in the battle for one of the four playoff spots.

Minnesota has already announced their starters:
#45 - Noelle Quinn
#30 - Anna DeForge
#33 - Seimone Augustus
#20 - Nicole Ohlde
#21 - Nicky Anosike

Here are the Comets' starters:
#21 - Sancho Lyttle
#41 - Shannon Johnson
 #2 - Michelle Snow
#20 - Tamecka Dixon
#99 - Hamchetou Maiga-Ba
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hodges Signed for Season

From the Comets...

HOUSTON -- The Houston Comets have re-signed Roneeka Hodges for the remainder of the 2008 season. Per team policy, details of the contract were not disclosed.

Hodges, a 5-11 guard from Florida State, was signed to a seven-day contract on July 5, 2008. In three games, she averaged 4.0 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists.

Hodges was lost by Houston in the WNBA Expansion Draft to the league’s newest franchise, the Atlanta Dream, on February 6, and then became part of a trade to the Seattle Storm in exchange for Iziane Castro Marques and other considerations. She was selected by the Houston Comets in the second round (No. 15 overall) in the 2005 WNBA Draft.
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Van: Pleased for TSU

HOUSTON, TX -- Since I was told "off the record" the name of the new head coach at Texas Southern University, I decided to attend the Touchdown Club of Houston's luncheon today honoring LSU's head football coach Les Miles.

Confused? Don't be. Let me explain.

Van Chancellor, LSU's head women's basketball coach, was scheduled to appear at the luncheon as well. The person expected to be TSU's head coach was an assistant coach on LSU's staff in 2007-2008.

Her name? Let Van tell you:

"I'm really pleased," said Van. "I'm really pleased for two things. I'm really pleased for Texas Southern. I consider myself a Houston boy. They had a women's basketball opening; and, they have hired a person that I recommended very, very strongly for this job -- Yolanda Wells-Broughton. She played in the league (WNBA). She coached at TCU. She coached at the junior-college level. She's ready."

"I think that Texas Southern has made a great, great hire in hiring her for this position. I think that she'll do a tremendous job. She's got class. She knows the game; and, she knows how to recruit."

TSU is expected to make an official announcement very, very soon.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

TSU set to name Head Coach

HOUSTON, TX -- This evening, Charles McClelland, Texas Southern University's Athletic Director, verified on KCOH 1430 AM (http://www.kcohradio.com/) what The HRR was told this past weekend -- TSU will name a new head coach of women's basketball Wednesday, July 16.

Mr. McClelland appeared on Sports Rap and said TSU will name its next head coach "tomorrow". McClelland also stated the coach "is a she".

McClelland did not announce the name of the head coach on the air.
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Hypolite has no Regrets

HOUSTON, TX -- Brianna Hypolite has no regrets.

Hypolite, 6'0", guard / forward, chose to attend Rice University during her junior year at Dickinson High School. Despite receiving scholarship offers from other colleges, Hypolite kept her word to Rice; signed her national-letter-of-intent this past spring; and, is now enjoying college life as a Rice Owl.

“I decided on Rice in January of my junior year (2007). I came up here with my mom and my high school coach, Darren Samuels. I really liked what Rice had to offer. I really thought I could make a home here.”

“This was my very first visit; and, I felt this was the only school I needed to visit. I cancelled all of my other plans. I told them ‘Thanks; but, I’ve made my decision.’ That was about it.”

“There were many schools that were upset that I didn’t even come visit them.”

Brianna Hypolite: RiceOwls.com

Perhaps those schools were upset because Hypolite, the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 4A Player of the year, averaged 14.9 points, 12.1 rebounds and 4.3 steals per game during her senior season.

“I love playing defense; but, I feel that you can always get better. I’m really working on my defense this summer and my dribbling and shooting.”

Hypolite says, “Most people would say I have an all-around game because I put up numbers in every category. Hopefully, that will translate to my college game. I’ve always been the type of player to do a little of everything – well. Not one thing extremely well or one thing I can’t do well.”

Hypolite participates in the open gym basketball sessions twice a week; and, she is truly a gym rat who seems to be willing to play basketball 24 / 7.

“Competing with the upperclassmen in open gym set the bar high as far as the expectations for us in the program.”

However, Brie is also a student and she is enjoying going to class.

“Classes are great. I like them a lot. A lot of the athletes are in summer school right now; so, I get a chance to hang out with my teammates more and meet new people. Overall, the experience has been a lot of fun. I’m taking six hours right now – one class in June and one class in July. My first class was African Religions. It was very interesting. I learned a lot. That class really opened my eyes to a lot of different things regarding African culture which is not really something that’s discussed a lot; so, it was very interesting. Now, I’m taking Introduction to Kinesiology. It’s a lot of fun.”

“I haven’t decided on a major; but, I’d like to pursue a career in International Business; so, maybe something in Economics or Business.”

Hypolite has a favorite player who she tries to pattern her game.

Deanna Nolan (wing player for the WNBA's Detroit Shock). Because of her athletic ability. I would like to be like her. I try to be. Not to imitate her completely; but, I would love to be compared to her or say that I have the potential to be like her. I wish I could jump as high as she does; but, right now, I have grabbed the rim a couple of times.”

Hypolite will, once again, participate in open gym tonight and Thursday and for the rest of the summer. Heck, she helps organize the sessions by calling her basketball buddies to head to Rice to participate in open gym. Would you expect anything less from someone who has no regrets about her decision to attend Rice?

“No regrets. Not one. I love it here. I’ve been here for summer school since June 9; and, I’ve been able to participate in some of the activities. “I picked Rice for the academic experience as well as the well-rounded program. I guess I chose to attend Rice because I wanted to get a great education and be able to compete at the Division I level. I love it here. It’s the best decision I’ve made so far.”
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lawson, DMJ, Catchings Complete USA Squad

Earlier today, USA Basketball announced guard Kara Lawson and forwards Tamika Catchings and DeLisha Milton-Jones were named to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.

These three players complete the 12-player roster. The first nine members were named to the U.S. squad on May 31, 2008, and include three-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks); two-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith (Detroit Shock); 2004 Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Tina Thompson (Houston Comets); and Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks) and Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix Mercury), who will participate in their first Olympic Games this summer.

Olympic women's basketball competition will be held Aug. 9-23. Preliminary play is scheduled for August 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17; quarterfinal action takes place Aug. 19; semifinal play is slated for Aug. 21; and the women's finals will be held Aug. 23.

The U.S. Women's Olympic Team opens Aug. 9 versus the Czech Republic, and next faces host China on Aug. 11, Mali on Aug. 13 and Spain on Aug. 15. The U.S. finishes off its preliminary play Aug. 17 against New Zealand.

The defending Olympic champs, the USA women in fact will be vying for a fourth consecutive Olympic gold. Since women's basketball was officially staged at the 1976 Olympics, the Americans have collected a record five gold medals, one silver and one bronze medal, while compiling a 42-3 (.933) overall record in seven Olympic appearances (the United States chose not to participate in the 1980 Olympic Games).
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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Comets lose to Merc

Post-Game Quotes for Houston Comets vs. Phoenix Mercury – July 8, 2008, 2:30 p.m. (CDT) at US Airways Center

The Comets (9-10) lost to the Mercury (9-9) 99 to 94.

Comets Head Coach Karleen Thompson:
(Opening statement): “It was a well played game. It was a battle that people wanted to see. These teams in this league are competitive and incredible teams, there are going to be a lot of fights like this for the rest of the season and the fight for the playoffs. Right now everything is up in the air so I expect to see more games like this one.”

(On their defense) “We can’t come out and give up 52 points in the 2nd half let alone 47 in the 1st half. We just have to tighten up a little more on our transition defense. They’re a great shooting team and everyone on their team can shoot, so they present a tough match-up for anybody. I think it’s too bad we couldn’t come out of here with a win but if it’s going to be a hard fought game like this one I’ll take it.”

(On all the offensive runs) “Basketball is a game of runs. They had a great crowd today and that made it a very tough place to play. Both teams played well and it was anybody’s game until the horn. They came out and hit key shots and got key rebounds and gave themselves a chance to get the game, and fortunately for them their shots fell at the end.”

Comets Forward Tina Thompson (23 points, 7 rebounds):
(On whatever happened in the game): “Every time we play them it’s a physical game. I think they have to play more physical because they are a smaller team and more guard team oriented. So they have to be a little more physical than a lot of the other teams.”

(On the momentum switch)“The momentum switched back and forth all game long and unfortunately they ended up with it at the end of the game and they were able to capitalize on that and pulled it out.”

(On trying to stop the Mercury)“We definitely worked on our transition defense and tried to pick them up early and knowing where certain players were. They have a lot of players that can shoot and you need to try and stop them early.”

Comets Guard Shannon Johnson (6 points, 13 assists):
(On guarding Taurasi and Cappie): “They are two of the best scorers in the league so you just try and contain them. It’s not about trying to control them because they are very good scorers. They have the green light to put the ball up at any time. They work hard on offense and defense so it’s very important to try and slow them down since it’s impossible to stop players like that.”

(On their offense) “We are a very good offensive team and we move the ball well. We play high and low and were able to get the ball inside and out. So we knew we’d get enough shots and that’s important for us to take from this game.”

(On the difference in the halves) “We weren’t as aggressive as we were in the first half and weren’t able to get the shots that we had in the first half as freely. That’s the thing with the game, it can change momentum throughout the game and each team had their runs”

(On the physical play) “All the games are physical and that’s a great thing about playing in the WNBA. Everybody just thinks it’s a girls game but it’s a lot more than just that.“

Mercury Head Coach Corey Gaines:
(On Taurasi’s 3,000th point):
“I had a thing with the players at the beginning of the year and I felt like I had two dragons on the team – Diana and Cappie – and Diana comes through when you need her. We’re just trying to give her enough rest so she can do what she does best at the end of the game.”

(On the pace of the game):
“We started out slow tonight but we kept up our pace, the way we do in practice. Houston just wore down a little bit. I knew they wouldn’t be able to hit shots like they did in the first half the entire game. We practice that way every day, so keeping the pace fast is definitely to our advantage.”

(On defense):
“It’s tough because every team you play has a different offense that they throw at you and we’re still working on our rover defense. As soon as Julie (Hairgrove), my defensive coach, figures out what they’re doing, we try to make adjustments to their style of play.”

Mercury Guard Diana Taurasi (30 points, 6 assists):
(On what went better today than in the past few games):
“You know, not much early in the game. There is always a point in the game, especially when you’re down and we cut (Houston’s lead) to single digits (and) in the past two games we’ve cut (the leads) down to single digits, but today we found a way to get over the hump. I think that was the most important thing.”

(On the comeback victory):
“It shows a lot of character from our team. We could have easily tainted today but we found a way to win. Especially against Houston who is very good this year and we’ll probably be neck-and-neck with them for the rest of the season for one of the playoff spots, so it was very important.”

(On her record setting 3,000th point):
“I didn’t know (about the record) until a reporter told me before the game. It’s a cool little record but there is somebody sitting across the room (Cappie Pondexter) who will probably get there faster than I did.”

Mercury Guard Cappie Pondexter (22 points, 5 assists):
(On the camp day atmosphere):
“Every kid’s day that I’ve participated in has been great. They love it. They bring a lot of energy and when they’re having fun we kind of feed off of that.”

(On a pre-game conversation with Taurasi):
“Before the game Diana and I were talking and I told her ‘It’s us or them. If we want to get there and make the playoffs we take them down now.’”

(On Diana’s 3,000th point):
“It’s a great accomplishment. There is no one more deserving than her. She’s put tremendous work in since I’ve been here; I’ve loved being her teammate and working with her. I’m sure she’ll help me to get to 3,000.”
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Smart: from Young to Rice

D'Frantz Smart will play basketball at Rice University. So what? Big deal?


However, realize this: Smart finished second as Ms. Basketball in the state of Illinois her senior season. Smart had a scholarship offer to play basketball for head coach Jolette Law at the Univeristy of Illinois. Smart also helped her high school, Chicago's Whitney Young HS, win the Illinois 4A state title this past season.

Why did D'Frantz Smart choose little old Rice University to further her basketball career?

Maybe it's because D'Frantz Smart is little herself. She's not quite 5 feet tall.

“Actually, I’m 4 feet and 11 and ¾ inches.”

Whatever she lacks in height, Smart makes up with quickness, smarts, toughness, and confidence.

“I don’t like to be cocky; but, I’m good.”

If you're so good, why Rice?

“I got letters from big time programs; but, when it came down to them choosing somebody that’s 5’7” but not as skilled as me, they chose the 5’7” person. They knew my skills were better; but, went with the taller person as they always do in basketball. I’m fine with that. I’m going to show that my skills are better than height. They can recruit on potential. At Rice, they recruit on who can play.”

D'Frantz is confident; but, she's also talented.

“I was runner-up for Ms. Basketball in the state of Illinois. I lost to Sarah Boothe. She’s going to Stanford.”

Let her describe her basketball skills.

“My game is quick. It’s up and down. I like to get out and run. Pass. Shoot a lot of threes. And just keep the game moving. Everything I do is fast but under control. But, at the same time, I can run an offense in the half court.”

Smart is currently in Houston attending summer school -- she's taking two classes -- Public Speaking and Communications.

“It’s a lot of work piled up in a small amount of time; but, at the same time, it’s a small environment so the teacher gives you a lot of one-on-one time which helps you learn better. I came here for the small environment. I’m ready to learn; and, more importantly, I’m ready to hoop.”

D'Frantz Smart: RiceOwls.comShe's also participating in the Open Gym sessions on campus.

“Open gym has been good so far. It’s been competitive. We have other people (from around town) participate because all of my teammates are not here right now. I’m excited for when the season comes to see everybody on the court together.”

Smart is also smart -- pun intended. She has a very clear understanding of recruiting in college basketball -- the good and the bad.

“In the bigger conferences, people get lost in the system; and, at a smaller conference, you can shine and people still notice who you are even if you came from a smaller school. People in the NBA and the WNBA have gone to schools you’ve never heard of; but, they still go in the first round of the Draft. It’s just about how you play at that small school instead of going to a big time school. Nowadays, a lot of kids choose the bigger school simply because of the name. They’re not going for fit; and, that’s why a lot of people are transferring today. I came to a place that fit my style where I could possibly get playing time early instead of sitting for three years or getting recruited over.”

She did her research before choosing to attend Rice.

“I learned about Rice through the mail and receiving recruiting letters. I Googled them, too. I found out Rice is one of the best schools in the nation.”

D'Frantz is also a student of the game.

“Coach (Rice Owls head coach Greg Williams) Williams is the main reason I’m came here. He coached in the league (WNBA). He has experience. He coached Becky Hammon and helped her get to where she is now. I’m pretty sure he can help me get better just as he helped her.”

Smart follows the NBA -- “I’m a huge Kobe Bryant fan. He’s the best player ever – in my opinion.”

But, she also keeps up with the WNBA as well.

“I’m more of a (Phoenix Mercury guards) Diana Taurasi / Cappie Pondexter fan. Cappie first because I’m sticking with the Chicago people.”

Despite being a tad bit under five-feet tall, Smart wants to improve, get this, her mid-range game.

“I want to improve my mid-range game. I want to get better at moving without the ball. People say it’s a lost art. I agree. It’s hard to come from having the ball all the time in high school then come to college where everybody is good. As long as you move without the ball, you can never be guarded. Like Rip Hamilton (of the Detroit Pistons), he averages 20 (points per game) because he comes off screens; so, I’m trying to add that to my game as well.”

D'Frantz is one of four freshmen for Rice in 2008 - 2009; and, despite Rice's having only four upperclassmen on this year's team, she believes the Owls will be more than okay this season.

“Rice is going to be good this year. Trust.”

D'Frantz has her eyes on this season and her future, too.

“I do hope to play in the WNBA. I’m not going to shy away from that as a goal; but, at the same time, I’m going to use my degree – chemical engineering. I’m pretty sure that will make me more money than playing in the WNBA. If the chance to play in the W comes, I’ll take it. If not, I’ll have a six-figure job waiting for me.”

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Fans on Comets New Home

Here's some video from the Houston Chronicle shot before the July 5 game between the Comets and the Sacramento Monarchs. Fans give their opinions on Reliant Arena and the team:

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Aqua as a Monarch

Former Texas A&M point guard, A'Quonesia Franklin, made her first trip to Houston, Texas, -- as a professional basketball player -- Saturday afternoon with her Sacramento Monarchs teammates. The Monarchs lost to the Houston Comets inside Reliant Arena 73 to 65; but, Aqua took time to speak to The HRR and a few other members of the media to give her thoughts on the game as well as being a rookie in the WNBA.

HRR: Tell me about playing in front of friends and family today.
Aqua: It's just to grea to see them. I hadn't seen them in two and a half months; and, we got to hang out together on the 4th. Just seeing them was exciting for me.

HRR: What are your thoughts on the game?
Aqua: Houston did a great job of controlling the game -- especially in the second half. They came out with more energy than we did. We came out pretty flat. As a defensive team, we have to play with more energy than we did today.

HRR: What about the team defense in the second half?
Aqua: They had a lot of points in the paint. We let them get the ball at the high post; and, they swung the ball inside and out. We had a lot of miscommunication on the team and just gave them easy baskets.

HRR: Talk about being in the WNBA.
Aqua: Being a rookie, It's a dream come true for me. It's a blessing for me to be her; and, I'm very excited.

HRR: Discuss your teammates.
Aqua: Great teammates. They welcomed me with open arms. I love them to death. They're just like family.
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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Comets vs. Monarchs

Update -- 9:32pm. Post-game comments from Monarchs head coach Jenny Boucek. "They're a good team and they're playing really well," Boucek said of the Comets. "We don't have one of our major weapons offensively (shooting guard Kara Lawson); but, for us, it's always about our defense. We were okay defensively; but, we never took them out of their comfort zone and have any type of defensive rhythm. We rely on that heavily."

HRR: Were you surprised they started the big line up (Sancho Lyttle; Tina Thompson; and Michelle Snow)?
Boucek: Not surprised; but, that line up presents a lot of problems for us. They're tough to guard that way; but, they're also big and long defensively; so, you're having a tough time scoring inside. We already struggle with that because we're undersized. We're not a big team which puts a lot of pressure on our shooters; and, we're down one shooter. Offensively, we were a little bit challenged; but, I give a lot of credit to Houston. They're playing extremely, extremely well right now. That's a good team. This is not a game where I feel like we broke down or this and that. They beat us. We did not do enough things well to break their rhythm that they've been in for a while now. I was impressed with them today.

Update -- 3:57pm. Final Score: Comets 73, Monarchs 65.

The Houston Comets improved to 9-9 on the season with a solid 73 to 65 victory over the Sacramento Monarchs (8-10). Houston's starting five combined for 67 points in teh game led by 19 points from Tina Thompson. Thompson missed the previous four games with a fractured left ring finger. Michelle Snow added 17 points while teammates Hamchetou Maiga-Ba scored 12 points and dished out five assists. Sancho Lyttle scored 10 points and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Shannon Johnson scored nine points and handed out seven assists.

Houston led 58 to 55 to start the fourth quarter; and stretched the lead to seven with points from Snow and Thompson.

The Comets shot 52.5% (32 for 61) from the field including 7 for 15 in the fourth quarter. The Comets limited the Monarchs to just 3 for 15 in the final period.

Nicole Powell led the Monarchs with 18 points (6 for 18 from the field but for 4 for 8 from the three-point line).

Update -- 3:31 pm. End of Third Quarter: Comets 58, Monarchs 55.
Thompson leads all scorers with 14 points. Snow has 11; Lyttle -- 10; Johnson -- 9; and Maiga-Ba -- 8.
Powell leads the Monarchs with 12 points. Harper still has 11 points. Crystal Kelly has 8 points. Four players (Williams-Strong, Ticha, Scholanda and Chelsea) each with 4 points.

Points in paint: Monarchs 26, Comets 28.
2nd Chance Points: Monarchs 13, Comets 4.

Comets: 25 for 46 (54.3%) from the field -- 19 assists. Monarchs: 21 for 48 -- 12 assists.

Turnovers: Monarchs - 12. Comets - 11.

Update -- 2:50pmEnd of Second Quarter: Tied at 41.
Sacramento forward Laura Harper leads all scorers with 11 points -- off the bench.

Michelle Snow and Shannon Johnson each scored nine points in the half. Lyttle scored eight; Tina Thompson added five; Maiga-Ba and Ajavon each scored four points.

Comets: 17 for 31 (54.8%) from the field on 13 assists. Monarchs: 17 for 36 (47.2%) on 10 assists.
Comets: 17 total rebounds. Monarchs 18 total rebounds.
Comets turned the ball over eight times. Sacto - just seven times.

Update -- 2:26pm. 
End of First Quarter: Comets 22, Monarchs 20.

Lyttle leads all scorers with eight points. Snow has six. Tina played nine minutes in the quarter but didn't score. The Comets made 11 of 18 from the field. Sacto shot 9 for 16 from the field.

The Monarchs were led by five points from Nicole Powell. Four from Adrian Williams-Strong.

Points in the paint: Monarchs 14, Comets 16.

Update -- 1:52pm, Here are the starting line-ups and the officials:

Sacramento Monarchs
F - Nicole Powell
F - Rebekkah Brunson
C - Adrian Williams-Strong
G - Ticha Penicheiro
G - Scholanda Robinson

Houston Comets
F - Tina Thompson
F - Sancho Lyttle
C - Michelle Snow
G - Hamchetou Maiga-Ba
G -Shannon Johnson

# 7 - Clarke Stevens
#46 - Metta Roberts
#24 - Tony Dawkins

Update -- 1:33pm, Tina Thompson is in uniform for the Comets; so, she's expected to play. Tamecka Dixon and Mwadi Mabika are on the Inactive List. Though she's not on the list for Sacto, Kara Lawson won't play today. (She's not in uniform.)

Update -- 12:48pm, The Comets signed Roneeka Hodges to a seven-day contract today. Ro is uniform for today's game versus the Sacramento Monarchs.

HOUSTON, TX -- Saturday afternoonn (2pm CDT), in an unofficial start to the second half of the 2008 WNBA regular season, the Houston Comets will face the Sacramento Monarchs in an important game for playoff positioning in the Western Conference.

Both teams are 8 and 9 and trail the fourth-place Phoenix Mercury (8-7) by one game in the standings but two games in the loss column. (Four teams from each conference qualify for the WNBA Playoffs.)

Today's game will be the second time this season the Comets will play the Monarchs. The Comets lost to the Monarchs
73 to 66 in Sacramento on May 30. That loss by the Comets was the team's fourth of five straight losses to start the 2008 season. Since that 0-5 start, the Comets are 8 and 4 including winning three of their last four games without forward Tina Thompson (out with a fractured left ring finger).

Thompson is a game-time decision for today's ball game. Tamecka Dixon, veteran shooting guard, is expected to miss the game (her fifth straight) as she rests her Achilles' tendon.

The Comets are 7 and 3 in their last 10 games while the Monarchs evenly split their last 10 games (5-5).
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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Comets at Dream

The Houston Comets (7-9) will try to sweep the regular season series (2-0) tonight (6:05 pm CDT ) with a road win over the Atlanta Dream (0-16).

A few weeks ago, June 16, the Comets defeated the Dream
88 to 79 in Houston. Atlanta's starting backcourt of Betty Lennox (29) and Ivory Latta (21) combined for 50 points in that game.

Michelle Snow led the Comets with 18 points and 13 rebounds in the game. Four other Comets, including forward Tina Thompson (12 points), also scored in double digits. Rookie guards Erica White (10) and Matee Ajavon (12) helped Houston's bench outscore the Dream's bench 32 to 16.

Thompson will be on the Inactive List for tonight's game. This will be the fourth straight game Thompson will sit out due to her fractured left ring finger. The Comets are 2 and 1 without Thompson thus far this season.

Veteran guard Tamecka Dixon (sore Achilles') will be in uniform for tonight's game; but, she will not play.

Yesterday, the Comets announced veteran wing player Mwadi Mabika had successful arthroscopic knee surgery on her right knee to repair a cartilage tear. Mabika is expected to have four to six weeks to complete rehabilitation.
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Mabika has knee Scoped

The Comets sent a press release announcing this news a few minutes ago...

HOUSTON (July 2, 2008) – Mwadi Mabika, a 5-11 starting guard for the Houston Comets, underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage on her right knee. The surgery was successful and she will spend the next four to six weeks completing rehabilitation.

Mabika has started in 10 of the 13 games in which she’s played this season, posting averages of 6.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. A Los Angeles Spark for 11 years, Mabika was signed as a free agent by the Houston Comets on February 20, 2008.

The Comets (7-9) will try to keep the Atlanta Dream (0-16) winless Thursday night as the teams face each other in the ATL. Tip is set for 6:05 pm CDT.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

WNBA Touts Improvements

Today, the WNBA sent a press release announcing some achievements during the first half of the 2008 WNBA season.

Take note:

Double-digit growth in TV ratings, record traffic to WNBA.com, increased attendance and sellouts set the tone as the WNBA nears the halfway point of its 12th season.

WNBA ratings are up 20 percent on ABC (0.6 rating vs. 0.5) and 22 percent on ESPN2 (0.22 vs. 0.18), while average attendance through June has increased 2.44 percent vs. a comparable period in 2007 (7,519 vs. 7,340). Highlighting the attendance growth are 18 sellouts registered to date – already surpassing the 17 total sellouts for the entire 2007 regular season.

In June, WNBA.com set an all-time record for monthly site visits with nearly 3 million, a 35 percent increase over June 2007. WNBA.com also experienced a single-day video record of nearly 95,000 streams on June 23, one day after Parker became the second player in WNBA history to dunk in a regular season game.

WNBA merchandise sales at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue and at WNBAStore.com increased 34 percent versus the same time last year, led by sales of Parker jerseys.

The strong WNBA fan response is fueled by outstanding performances on the court as All-Stars take their game to new heights and the most heralded draft class in league history has delivered.

A pair of perennial All-Stars reached milestones with Lisa Leslie becoming the first WNBA player to record 3,000 career rebounds and Tina Thompson joining Leslie as the second player to reach the 5,000 career points plateau. Rookie sensations Candace Parker and Candice Wiggins (“Ace” and “Ice”) have flourished – with Parker ranking among the league leaders in points, rebounds, blocks, assists and steals per game and Wiggins leading all rookie scorers – while first-round picks Alexis Hornbuckle and Nicky Anosike are pacing the league in steals per game.

Later this month, the New York Liberty host a historic event – The Liberty Outdoor Classic – the first-ever regular season professional basketball game to be held outdoors. The July 19 game against the Indiana Fever will be held at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, NY, at 6:30 p.m. CDT and televised on MSG.
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Ags Part of State Farm Classic

Today, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame announced Texas A&M's women's basketball team will be one of four teams participating in the 2008 State Farm Tip-off Classic this November.

A&M is making its first-ever State Farm Tip-Off Classic appearance and will face Pittsburgh in a first-time meeting between the two schools on Sunday, November 16, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Host LSU and Notre Dame round out this year’s classic field leading into the 2008-09 season.

The mission of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is to “honor the past, celebrate the present and promote the future” of women’s basketball.

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Coop on TSU Job

HOUSTON, TX -- On Monday, June 30, Texas Southern University's Athletics Director Charles McClelland announced TSU failed to reach an agreement with Surina Dixon as head coach of the TSU's women's basketball program.

Current Prairie View A&M University head coach Cynthia Cooper may be a leading candidate to replace Dixon at Texas Southern.

The HRR spoke with Cooper earlier today to get her comments on the TSU job opening.

Here's what she said, "I'm interested," Coop commented. "However, given the time of the year, I'm not as interested in the Texas Southern job as I was a few months ago."

This weekend is the start of the summer recruiting (re: evaluation) period (10 days at the start of July with 10 more days at the end of July) for college coaches; and, Cooper has already planned and established the itinerary for herself and her Prairie View A&M assistant coaches to travel across the country to scout high school basketball talent.

However, Coop did add, "I'm not completely closing the door on Texas Southern. We'll have to see how things play out."
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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Comets at Sun

Updated at 9:40 pm, CDT -- Comets lose to Connecticut 78 to 68.
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP)—Lindsay Whalen had nine assists to set Connecticut’s career record and scored 14 points to help the Sun overcome a 14-point deficit to beat the Houston Comets 78-68 Tuesday night.

Asjha Jones had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead the Sun (13-5), who maintained the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Houston (7-9) played its third straight game without Olympian Tina Thompson, who has a broken left ring finger. Matee Ajavon led Houston with 14 points. Michelle Snow had 11 points and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Sancho Lyttle had nine points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 4:33 left.

Houston led 36-22 with 3:34 left in the first half before Connecticut went on an 8-2 run before halftime.

The Sun used an 11-1 run to wipe out that deficit, and a 13-5 run gave them a 59-51 lead with 8:38 remaining.

Jamie Carey made a pair of 3-point field goals in the fourth quarter for Connecticut, the second of which gave the Sun a 72-67 lead with 1:17 remaining. Ajavon’s free throw with 1:05 left got the Comets within four at 72-68, but Houston got no closer.

Connecticut went 6-for-8 from the free throw line in the final minute. Connecticut rookie Sandrine Gruda scored a career-high 14 points and former Comet Barbara Turner added 10 points and nine rebounds.

Originally posted at 2:48 pm, CDT.

The Houston Comets (7-8) will play the Connecticut Sun (12-5) tonight at 6pm CDT inside Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Comets will try to extend a four-game winning streak against the Eastern Conference-leading Sun.

Houston's Tina Thompson will miss her third straight game tonight as she continues to rest her fractured left ring finger.
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