Nothing But Janeth
By John Gardella

When Houston's celebrated Big Three shrunk to the Big One even before the start of the season, concern was discerned all over Comets' orbit. It happened quickly: WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes (torn ACL and lateral meniscus in left knee) was lost for the season on the heels of Cynthia Cooper's retirement, leaving Tina Thompson as the lone member of the Big Three to suit up.


But as WNBA fans have come to expect, Houston knows exactly what it takes to win and has proven that reports of its demise are greatly exaggerated. That's because the Big One has become the Big Two. Thompson has been supported this season by first-time All-Star Janeth Arcain, a key contributor to Houston's four titles. Arcain filled the void created by the absence of the two stars. Enough so that she was voted to start for the Western Conference All-Star team.

A career 7.9-point-per-game scorer, Arcain is tied for third in the league in scoring at 19.1 points per game and fourth in steals per game at 2.13. She and Thompson (22.7 ppg) are the only teammates to rank in the top 10 in scoring and are largely responsible for the Comets' 12-4 record and second-place standing in the West, two and a half games behind Los Angeles.

"I worked hard for four years," Arcain said. "And I helped the Comets so much to get four rings. I was patient, but now I have to step up. Right now I have my chance."

The Comets had to wait for Arcain, 32, a late arrival in camp due to a commitment to a professional team in Brazil. But when she finally did arrive in mid-May, her coach breathed a sigh of relief. The Comets were 2-1 in exhibition play at the time, but were struggling with their offense.

"I became a better coach," Van Chancellor told the Houston Chronicle. "The whole mood of the team was uplifted when Janeth Arcain came in here. "It was like a new day, like a dark cloud [had been removed from] over this team."

Arcain has eclipsed the 20-point barrier seven times, including a string of four straight games. The Comets are 6-1 in those games. Arcain was named the WNBA Player of the Week for games played June 4 through June 10, as she averaged 23.3 points in three Houston victories, shooting 83.3 percent (10-of-12) from the free throw line and leading the league in steals with 4.3 per game.

"It's so great to be on the All-Star team and to be the starter," Arcain said. "I'm so glad because the fans make this vote. I guess I have more fans then I imagined. I hope this can happen again, but right now I just want to enjoy this time. I think I'll be able to show the fans what I can do on the court."

She already did, which is why she's an All-Star.


Starters announced for 2001 WNBA All-Star Game

Houston Comets
Houston Comets
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