1997 WNBA Championship

Last updated
1997 WNBA Championship
1997 WNBA Finals logo.png
TeamCoachWins
Houston Comets Van Chancellor 1
New York Liberty Nancy Darsch 0
DatesAugust 30
MVP Cynthia Cooper (Houston Comets)
Eastern Finals New York defeated Phoenix 59-41
Western Finals Houston defeated Charlotte 70-54
  WNBA Finals

The 1997 WNBA Championship was the championship game of the 1997 WNBA season, and the conclusion of the season's playoffs. The Houston Comets, top-seeded team of the league, defeated the New York Liberty, second-seeded team, 65-51 to win the league's inaugural championship.

Contents

The Comets' 18–10 record gave them home court advantage over New York (17–11).

For the playoffs, the top four teams overall in the league were seeded one to four. Top seed Houston played the four seed Charlotte and the two seed New York played number three Phoenix.

Road to the finals

Houston CometsNew York Liberty
18–10 (.643)
1st East, 1st overall
Regular season 17–11 (.607)
2nd East, 2nd overall
Defeated the (4) Charlotte Sting, 70-54WNBA SemifinalsDefeated the (3) Phoenix Mercury, 59-41

Regular season series

The Liberty won 3 of the 4 games in the regular season series:

June 26
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived February 8, 1998)
New York Liberty 62, Houston Comets 60 (OT)
July 2
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived February 8, 1998)
Houston Comets 67, New York Liberty 70
July 4
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived February 8, 1998)
New York Liberty 65, Houston Comets 58
August 17
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived February 8, 1998)
Houston Comets 70, New York Liberty 55

Game summary

Time listed below is Eastern Daylight Time.

NBC
August 30
7:00pm
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived February 8, 1998)
New York Liberty 51, Houston Comets 65
Scoring by half: 24–28, 27–37
Pts: Hampton (13)
Rebs: Hampton (13)
Asts: Weatherspoon (5)
Pts: Cooper (25)
Rebs: Jackson (11)
Asts: Cooper (4)
Compaq Center, Houston
Attendance: 16,285
Referees:
  • Bell
  • Courteau
  • Palmer

The Houston Comets became the first WNBA champions, riding the unstoppable Cynthia Cooper and a suffocating defense to a 65–51 victory over the New York Liberty.

Cooper, the fledgling league's leading scorer who was named Most Valuable Player earlier in the week, scored 14 of her 25 points in the pivotal second half, when the Comets had a 10–0 burst and held the Liberty scoreless for nearly 6½ minutes. Tina Thompson added 18 points for the Comets, who turned Houston into "Clutch City" again. The city adopted that nickname during the two-year championship reign of the NBA's Houston Rockets.

Cooper also was named Finals MVP as the sellout crowd of 16,285 saw the Comets come up with their best defensive effort of the season.

Kym Hampton had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Vickie Johnson added 12 points for the Liberty, who picked a bad time for one of their worst offensive displays. A meaningless basket with three seconds remaining by Rebecca Lobo—who was limited to nine points—allowed New York to avoid its lowest point total of the season.

Houston, which edged New York for the Eastern Conference title and knocked off Charlotte in the semifinals, finished the regular season 18–10. The Liberty, who advanced with a semifinal win at Phoenix, were 17–11.

Awards

Rosters

1997 Houston Comets Finals roster
PlayersCoaches
Pos.#Nat.NameHeightWeightFrom
F 4 Flag of Brazil.svg Arcain, Janeth 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)147 lb (67 kg) Brazil
G 14 Flag of the United States.svg Cooper, Cynthia 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)150 lb (68 kg) Southern California
F 9 Flag of the United States.svg Guyton, Wanda 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)178 lb (81 kg) South Florida
G 20 Flag of the United States.svg Harris, Fran 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)153 lb (69 kg) Texas
F 23 Flag of the United States.svg Jackson, Tammy 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)190 lb (86 kg) Florida
F 33 Flag of the United States.svg Moore, Yolanda 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)175 lb (79 kg) Mississippi
G 10 Flag of the United States.svg Perrot, Kim 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)130 lb (59 kg) Southwestern Louisiana
F 22 Flag of the United States.svg Swoopes, Sheryl 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)145 lb (66 kg) Texas Tech
F 7 Flag of the United States.svg Thompson, Tina 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)178 lb (81 kg) Southern California
G 5 Flag of the United States.svg Woosley, Tiffany 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)132 lb (60 kg) Tennessee
Head coach
Assistant coaches
  • Flag of the United States.svg Unknown




Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (IN) Inactive
  • (S) Suspended
  • Cruz Roja.svg Injured
1997 New York Liberty Finals roster
PlayersCoaches
Pos.#Nat.NameHeightWeightFrom
G 10 Flag of the United States.svg Blades, Rhonda 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)138 lb (63 kg) Vanderbilt
G 22 Flag of the United States.svg Crumpton-Moorer, Cassandra 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)175 lb (79 kg) Alabama
G 5 Flag of the United States.svg Ford, Kisha 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)153 lb (69 kg) Georgia Tech
C 34 Flag of the United States.svg Hampton, Kym 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)210 lb (95 kg) Arizona State
G 55 Flag of the United States.svg Johnson, Vickie 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)150 lb (68 kg) Louisiana Tech
C 50 Flag of the United States.svg Lobo, Rebecca 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)185 lb (84 kg) Connecticut
F 33 Flag of the United States.svg Trice, Trena 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)180 lb (82 kg) North Carolina State
G 11 Flag of the United States.svg Weatherspoon, Teresa 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)161 lb (73 kg) Louisiana Tech
F 23 Flag of the United States.svg Wicks, Sue 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)174 lb (79 kg) Rutgers
G 13 Flag of the United States.svg Witherspoon, Sophia 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)145 lb (66 kg) Florida
Head coach
Assistant coaches
  • Flag of the United States.svg Unknown




Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (IN) Inactive
  • (S) Suspended
  • Cruz Roja.svg Injured

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References