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What you need to know about the former WNBA power
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What you need to know about the former WNBA power

The Houston Comets won the first four WNBA championships back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

The Houston Comets won the first four WNBA championships back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

With women’s basketball booming in popularity, the WNBA is expanding.

Oakland will join the league this season, which begins Tuesday, giving the league 13 teams with plans to grow to 16 teams by 2028.

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said this week at a meeting with a group of sports editors from across the country, including the Chronicle, that the league has a short list of cities it is considering but did not mention Houston, once home to a founder. member and the WNBA’s first and still perhaps greatest dynasty.

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Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said he is interested in bringing the WNBA back to Houston. He already has the banners.

No city can match Houston’s unforgettable place in WNBA history. But just in case a refresher is in order as the WNBA considers expansion options, a look at the Comets’ short, comet-like 12 years.

1996

The WNBA was founded by the NBA and joins the American Basketball League as professional women’s leagues in the United States. (The ABL would go bankrupt during the 1998–99 season.)

The Comets were one of the eight original teams, along with the Charlotte Sting, Cleveland Rockers and New York Liberty in the Eastern Conference, and the Los Angeles Sparks, Phoenix Mercury, Sacramento Monarchs and Utah Starzz in the Western Conference.

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1997

Van Chancellor, the University of Mississippi coach who applied for the coaching position with six WNBA teams, has been selected by Rockets and Comets owner Leslie Alexander and Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson, who also served as executive vice president of the Comets, as the first coach.

Sheryl Swoopes, the Texas Tech star who was one of the stars of the 1996 Olympic gold medal team, is assigned to the Comets by the WNBA and becomes the first player signed.

USC star Tina Thompson is the first draft pick in WNBA history.

Dawson signs Cynthia Cooper, one of the key players on USC’s championship teams, who had played one season professionally in Spain and 10 seasons in Italy and who led leagues in scoring in nine of the 11 seasons.

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Comets top New York Liberty for first WNBA championship.

Cooper is named Finals MVP.

Cooper has been named the WNBA MVP.

Cooper and Thompson named first team All-WNBA.

Chancellor named coach of the year.

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1998

The WNBA expands and the Comets are moved to the Western Conference.

The Comets go 27-3, a .900 winning percentage for a league record that still stands.

Comets top the Phoenix Mercury, two games to one, to win the WNBA Championship.

Cooper is named Finals MVP.

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Cooper has been named the WNBA MVP.

Chancellor named coach of the year.

Cooper, Swoopes and Thompson named first-team All-WNBA.

1999

Comets top New York Liberty, two games to one, to win the WNBA championship.

Chancellor named coach of the year.

Cooper, Swoopes named first-team All-WNBA.

Thompson named second-team All-WNBA.

Kim Perrot, the Comets point guard and an inspirational leader, dies of lung cancer.

2000

Comets top the New York Liberty 2-0 to win the WNBA championship.

Cooper is named Finals MVP.

Thompson is the All-Star game MVP.

Swoopes named defensive player of the year.

Chancellor named coach of the year.

Cooper, Swoopes named first-team All-WNBA.

Thompson named second-team All-WNBA.

WNBA calls the sportsmanship award the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.

Cooper announces her retirement.

2001

Swoopes will miss the season with a torn ACL.

Sparks tops Comets, 2-0, in the first round.

Janeth Arcain is named most improved player of the year.

Arcain is named first-team All-WNBA.

Thompson named second-team All-WNBA.

2002

Starzz tops Comets, 2-1, in first round.

Swoopes named defensive player of the year.

Swoopes has been called the WNBA MVP.

Swoopes is named first-team All-WNBA.

Thompson named second-team All-WNBA.

2003

Cooper returns, but only plays four games before retiring as a player.

Sacramento Monarchs top Comets, 2-1, in the first round.

Swoopes named defensive player of the year.

Swoopes named second-team All-WNBA.

2004

Comets fail to reach the playoffs.

Thompson is named first-team All-WNBA.

2005

Monarchs top Comets 2-0 in Western Conference finals.

Swoopes is the All-Star game MVP.

Swoopes is named first-team All-WNBA.

Swoopes has been called the WNBA MVP.

2006

Monarchs top Comets, 2-1, in first round.

Swoopes is named second-team All-WNBA.

Dawn Staley wins the Kim Perrot Award for Sportsmanship.

Leslie Alexander, owner of the Rockets at the time and sole owner of the Comets, announces that the Comets are for sale.

2007

Hilton Koch buys the comets.

The Chancellor resigns as coach.

Karleen Thompson named coach and general manager of Comet.

Comets fail to reach the playoffs.

Thompson is named second-team All-WNBA.

Chancellor inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

2008

Comets move into the Reliant Arena.

Koch puts the team up for sale.

WNBA takes over the Comets’ operations.

Playing what would be their final game, Comets top the Monarchs at TSU after being forced to move due to Hurricane Ike.

Comets fail to reach the playoffs.

WNBA announces the Comets would disband in 2009.

2009

WNBA suspends franchise operations.

Comets players are distributed in a WNBA payout draft.

2010

Cooper inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

2011

Cooper, Swoopes and Thompson are named among the top 15 players in WNBA history during an All-Star game ceremony.

2016

Cooper, Swoopes and Thompson were named among the top 20 players in WNBA history at the ESPY awards.

Swoopes inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

2018

Thompson inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.