May 17, 2016
Twenty-years ago the WNBA began, and, and along with the rival ABL, came the first United States professional women's basketball games. The leagues gave experienced Americans players, with developed games from years of European play, a chance to show what they could do before the home crowds.
Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, and Sheryl Swoopes were the poster children for the league, but it was a player previously known in the States as a role player at Southern California, coming off the bench to spell Cheryl Miller and the McGee twins, that was the first true superstar of the WNBA.
Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, then just Cooper, or Coop, raised the roof, and raised it high for the Houston Comets, along with four championship banners.
As a player Cooper was:
Quite possibly the Greatest of All Time, Cooper-Dyke captured the fans, male and female alike, with her tenacity, her aggressive drives to the basket, her killer crossover moves, and her ability to drill jump shot after jump shot.
The Comets were the original dynasty, claiming the first four WNBA titles behind the Big Three.
Before Lebron, Wade and Bosh were the NBA's Big Three, Cooper, Swoopes and Tina Thompson were all legitimate superstars that still worked together to win their titles.
Complimented by outstanding role players like Janeth Arcain, Tammy Jackson, and of course, Kim Perrot, coach Van Chancellor molded the Comets into the success story of the league.
As good as Cooper was in the regular season, where she averaged 21 points per game for her career, she elevated even higher in the playoffs, averaging over 23 per game, including 28 in 1997 and 26 in 1998.
It is our loss that Cooper was already 34 years old when the WNBA started, so we only got to see a small sample of her game before she retired.
It is a pleasure to welcome the first WNBA player inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame, Southern California head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke back to Dishin & Swishin, and to have her as the first guest in our #WNBA20 series of podcasts.
Topics covered include:
We will be having more #WNBA20 podcasts along with our regular Dishin & Swishin show, so if you have a particular person or topic you would like to see discussed, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see what we can do.
Now let's Raise the Roof with Cynthia Cooper-Dyke! Enjoy the podcast and thanks for listening!