| 2006 Record|
(3rd in West)
Award Winners & Honorees
2006 Draft Recap
Dispersal Draft Results
The Comets returned to the playoffs in 2006 behind the play of their veteran core and some key newcomers. Ultimately, the season ended with a loss to the Sacramento Monarchs in the Western Conference Finals.
In her last season as a player, Staley reminded us all that she could still play with the best and even won the inaugural 3-point Shootout. After the season, she was awarded the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award. The award is given in honor of former Comets guard Kim Perrot who passed away after a seven-month battle with cancer. The honor is given to a player who exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship. It was the second (and final) time Staley received this honor. She will continue as the coach of Temple University's women's basketball team. Throughout her career as a player, she won three Olympic gold medals and was named to the WNBA All-Star team five times. In eight seasons with the Charlotte Sting and Houston Comets, she finished her WNBA career averaging 8.5 points, 5.1 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 263 games. Her veteran leadership will be missed in Houston, as will her play on the court. Staley actually led the team in 3-point percentage at 42.7%.
Throughout the Comets dynasty and even into this century, balanced scoring has been integral to the success of the team. In 2006, the Comets connected on 44.2% of their shots and Tina Thompson, Sheryl Swoopes, Michelle Snow and Dominique Canty all averaged in double-digit scoring with 18.7, 15.5, 13.0 and 10.9 ppg respectively. Rookie Mistie Williams was also a good option off the bench and demonstrated the ability to both score and rebound.
Swoopes led the way on the defensive end as well, finishing third in the league in steals with 2.06 per game. She was recognized yet again for her excellent overall performance and was named to both the WNBA All-Second Team and the All-Defensive Team. She was also named to the WNBA's 10th Anniversary All-Decade Team along with teammates Dawn Staley, Tina Thompson and former teammate Cynthia Cooper.
Although the team had a solid field goal percentage, they struggled putting points on the board. The discrepancy is the result of below-average free throw shooting and their meager 8.9 offensive rebounds per game. Their offensive inefficiencies were also the result of an inability to convert on turnovers. On the flip side, they turned the ball over an average of 15.7 times per game, the second highest mark in the league.
On the other end of the court, the Comets struggled against opposing teams with strong inside play. As a team, the Comets only averaged 2.5 blocks per game. These problem areas became most apparent on the road as the team compiled a 6-11 record away from home.
|Head Coach |
2006 Starting Lineup
-G- Dawn Staley
-G- Dominique Canty
-F- Sheryl Swoopes
-F- Tina Thompson
-C- Michelle Snow
Key 2006 Reserves
-Dawn Staley (retired)
The questions begin at the top. Van Chancellor, the last original coach in the WNBA, has sailed off into the sunset, resigning after 10 years with the Comets. During his years as head coach, he led the Comets to a 211-111 record along with nine playoff appearances. Chancellor's Comets were truly the first WNBA dynasty as they won four consecutive WNBA Championships from 1997 to 2000. Karleen Thompson, an assistant coach under Chancellor, has been named the new coach and general manager.
There is also a new owner in town. Hilton Koch, owner of Hilton Furniture and Mattress and a season ticketholder, bought the Comets this offseason.
"We are ecstatic to have Karleen Thompson as our head coach and general manager. Thompson has had success at every level she has been at, and her knowledge, enthusiasm, and experience will help build the Comets into a championship contender," Koch said.
There is also some uncertainty in the Comets lineup as Houston lost two key players in the offseason. Dominique Canty signed as a free agent with the Chicago Sky and Staley has retired. Staley's contributions were felt around the league while Canty finally had a breakout season before going down with an injury. So who will lead the Comets backcourt? Look for the Comets to use the ninth pick on a guard, one who is either a strong shooter or who can run the point.
In the recent Charlotte Dispersal Draft, the Comets began to reconstruct their roster by adding 6-5 center Yelena Leuchenka. At her size, she could really help Houston with its interior game, both defensively and offensively. Free agent Hamchétou Maïga-Ba will also be joining the squad by way of Sacramento. Entering her sixth season in the WNBA, she will provide the Comets with depth, maturity and even more championship experience.
With a new coach, a new owner and two key players gone, the Comets are still not ready to call this a rebuilding year. With Swoopes and Thompson, the team will always be in the playoff mix. But where there were once veterans, there will now be several newcomers. This season will be spent helping those younger players to hone their skills and develop their confidence. While an improvement from last year may be a tough task, the Comets must start looking toward the future missions to come.