2002 Record
24-8, .750
(2nd in West)

Points Scored
2072 (13th overall, 7th in West)
Points Allowed
1892 (1st overall, 1st in West)
Scoring Differential
+5.6 (2nd overall, 2nd in West)

Offensive Efficiency
97.1 (9th overall, 4th in West)
Defensive Efficiency
88.7 (1st overall, 1st in West)
Possessions per 40 min.
66.4 (11th overall, 8th in West
What are these stats?

Award Winners & Honorees
Defensive Player of the Year

Sheryl Swoopes

Sheryl Swoopes
Tina Thompson

All-WNBA, First Team
Sheryl Swoopes

All-WNBA, Second Team
Tina Thompson

2002 Draft Recap
Rd. 1 – 10, Michelle Snow
Rd. 3 – 42, Shondra Johnson
Rd. 4 – 58, Cori Enghusen

Playoff History
Six out of six years
Last Appearance
2002, lost in first round

2002 In Review: What Went Right?

Sheryl Swoopes picked up her second WNBA MVP Award after missing the entire 2001 season with a knee injury. The 31-year-old Swoopes finished third in the league in scoring (18.5) and second in steals (2.75), earning Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second time and All-WNBA First Team accolades for the fourth season.

Although her scoring output decreased, Tina Thompson improved her field goal shooting percentage in 2002 from 37.7 to 43.1, and upped her three-point field goal percentage from 29.3 to 37.0.

Houston’s already strong defense showed marked improvement from the previous year. Opposing defenses shot a WNBA record low 37.5 percent from the field vs. the Comets in 2002 compared to 39.3 percent in 2001. The difference is greater than it may appear though, because the league as a whole increased its field goal percentage in 2002 from 41.1 to 42.0.

What Went Wrong?

For the second time in as many years, the Comets failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs, falling to the Utah Starzz two games to one. In the three-game series, Houston hit only 36.6 percent of its shots from the field including 29.2 percent in Game No. 1. Defensively, the Comets allowed the Starzz to connect on 43.9 percent of its field goal attempts and 37.5 percent of its three-pointers.

Despite the presence of Swoopes, Thompson and Janeth Arcain, Houston’s offense was slightly below league average last season. Swoopes numbers were down across the board from her 2000 MVP season – 50.6 percent from the field in 2000 compared to 43.4 percent in 2002; 37.4 percent from three point range to 28.8 percent; and a career-low 4.9 rebounds per game – while the 33-year-old Arcain shot a career-low 42.4 percent from the floor.

No team relied on its primary scorer last season more than Houston relied on Swoopes. No team relied on its top two scorers more than Houston relied on Swoopes and Thompson. No team relied on its top three scorers more than Houston relied on Swoopes, Thompson and Arcain. Which is a roundabout way of saying that Houston doesn’t have much in the way of offensive weapons outside of these three players. Of course when you have Swoopes, Thompson and Arcain in the starting lineup, does it really matter?

Head Coach Van Chancellor

2002 Starting Line-up
G Sonja Henning
G Janeth Arcain
C Tiffani Johnson
F Sheryl Swoopes
F Tina Thompson

Key 2002 Reserves
C Michelle Snow

Looking Ahead To 2003

Key Questions

The biggest question on the minds of Comets fans this offseason, and indeed the biggest question on the minds of the entire WNBA, is will Cynthia Cooper return to the league as a player? She’s given off plenty of vibes indicating she will, but an official announcement is still forthcoming.

If Cooper does come back to Houston after a two year layoff, how good will she be and how will Van Chancellor incorporate her back onto the floor and into the locker room? This year Michael Jordan showed that the greatest player in NBA history could still bring it at the age of 40, so there’s certainly a precedent to suggest that the greatest player in WNBA history can do the same.

Regardless of Cooper’s intentions, it would behoove the Comets to improve its offense, but where will that improvement come from? Chancellor seems perfectly happy to ride his Big Two or Big Three or Big However Many He Happens To Have At The Time, and it’s hard to argue with the results of that philosophy. However a more efficient offense would certainly take some pressure off of the team’s defense.