13-21, .382 (5th in West)
2007 Starting Lineup
2007 Key Reserves
2007 Draft Recap
2008 Key Additions
2008 Key Losses
The Karleen Thompson era in Houston got off to a rough start as the team lost its first 10 games of the season – the longest losing streak in the WNBA in 2007 – and lost superstar Sheryl Swoopes to a season-ending back injury after only three games. Although thoughts of a postseason run faded quickly for the four-time WNBA champions, the team continued to improve throughout the season and finished the campaign with a 13-21 record.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Tina Thompson, who participated in her fifth WNBA All-Star game in 2007, averaged 18.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists to lead the Comets all season long. Michelle Snow provided the Comets with a solid option in the post, averaging 10.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. Houston welcomed back veteran point guard Tamecka Dixon at the mid-way point of the season. She brought experience to the backcourt and an additional scoring threat, averaging of 12.0 points and 3.2 assists in 18 games.
The veteran trio of Thompson, Snow and Dixon provided leadership on a team with a lot of young players – guards Crystal Smith, Erin Grant, Ashley Shields and forward Sancho Lyttle – who all make strides throughout the season. Learning from their elders and becoming accustomed to their new coach and teammates, the Comets demonstrated their potential, defeating top teams such as Detroit, Sacramento and New York in the second half of the season.
WHAT WENT WRONG
You simply cannot replace a player like Sheryl Swoopes and her absence from the team left the Comets with a huge hole that they were never completely able to fill on both sides of the court. Without Swoopes, Coach Thompson had her hands full trying to find a solid rotation that could compete against the best teams in the league night after night.
While Snow and Thompson gave the team two solid options on the offensive end, opposing teams were able to focus on them and leave the young core of the team to step up and make plays. Often the inexperienced Comets struggled to carry the load.
The team’s biggest setback came on the offensive end, where they scored just 73.8 points per game – third worst in the WNBA. A large contributor to their lack of scoring punch was their lack of outside shooting as Houston was last in the league in 3-pointers made with just 126 hits from long range.
NEEDS / FUTURE
The Comets had to play without Swoopes in 2007 due to injury, and will have to do so again in 2008 after she signed with the Seattle Storm as a free agent in the offseason.
Houston also made some moves in free agency, bringing in veteran forward Mwadi Mabika and point guard Shannon Johnson, as well as re-signing Dixon.
Houston lost two bench players in the offseason as Roneeka Hodges was taken in the Atlanta Dream expansion draft and Barbara Turner was traded to Connecticut in exchange for Megan Mahoney. Hodges and Turner averaged 3.5 and 4.2 points, respectively last season, and their production should be made up easily by the young reserves.
The Comets hold the fifth pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft and could benefit from more depth at the wing positions and more outside shooters. With the free agents they have added, the Comets will have a veteran team next year and can make a run at a postseason berth if they can jell quickly in Coach Thompson’s second year at the helm.