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Houston Comets (Basketball team) | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Houston Comets (Basketball team)

Historical Note:

The Houston Comets was a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team based in Houston, Texas. They were formed in 1997, which was the inaugural season of the WNBA and were one of the original eight WNBA teams. The Comets were the first dynasty of the WNBA and they won more championships than any other team in the WNBA under the reigns of Head Coach Van Chancellor. They began as the sister team of the Houston Rockets under the ownership of Alexander Leslie from 1997 to 2006.

From 1997 to 2000, the Comets dominated the WNBA as they won all four championships in the first four years of the league's existence with the leadership of Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson who were referred to as the “Big Three.” The Comets were known for courting great women's basketball stars in addition to the “Big Three” such as Kim Perrot, who succumbed to cancer in 1999 and college star Michelle Snow.

Unfortunately, the Comets failed to make another WNBA Finals appearance after their 2000 Championship season. Changes in the roster, coaching staff, ownership and playing arena prompted the demise of the Comet’s Franchise. In 2001, 2-time league MVP Cynthia Cooper retired, and in 2007, Chancellor resigned as Head Coach and Alexander sold the Franchise to Hilton Koch. Chancellor was replaced by Assistant Coach, Karleen Thompson; and shortly thereafter, the team moved from playing its home games at the Toyota Center to Reliant Arena. Given these changes over the span of seven years, the Comets struggled greatly as they only moved past the First Round of the playoffs once, which was in their 2005 season, and they failed to make the playoffs 3 out of their last eight seasons. Due to this hardship, Koch put the team up from sale in 2008, but didn’t receive any offers from investors. Consequently, the team fell under the management of the WNBA and was disbanded in the same year.

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