Cynthia Cooper (basketball)

Cynthia Lynne Cooper-Dyke (born April 14, 1963 in Chicago, Illinois) is a retired American basketball player who has played in college, the Olympics, and in professional leagues, most notably with the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). She is considered by many as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, women's basketball player ever. She played for the Houston Comets from 1997-2000 and again in 2003.


Although born in Chicago, Illinois, Cooper grew up in South Central Los Angeles, California. She was married to Brian Dyke in 2000. Has twins a son Brian Jr and a daughter Cyan was born June 15, 2002.

In 2000, she published her autobiography, entitled "She Got Game: My Personal Odyssey", which covered her childhood, her basketball career up to that time, and her mother's battle with breast cancer.

A noted disciplinarian, Cooper has long been well-known for understanding rules.

High school years

She attended Locke High School before enrolling at the University of Southern California.

College years

Cooper was a four-year letter winner at guard for USC from 1982-86. She led the Women of Troy to back-to-back NCAA tournament titles in 1983 and 1984 and closed out her collegiate career with an appearance in the 1986 NCAA tournament championship game and a spot on the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team. Cooper ranks eighth on USC’s all-time scoring list with 1,559 points, fifth in assists (381) and third in steals (256).

She graduated from USC in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

International career

Cooper was a member of the gold medalist 1988 US Olympic Women's Basketball Team.

WNBA career

Cooper was voted the WNBA's MVP in 1997 and 1998 and also won four WNBA Championships with the Houston Comets. During the Comet dynasty, she was a vital part of the triple threat offense with Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson. When retired in 2000, Cooper became the first player in WNBA history to score 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 2,500 career points. She scored 30 or more points in 16 of her 120 games and had a 92-game double-figure scoring streak from 1997-2000. She went on to coach the Phoenix Mercury for one and a half seasons.

Cooper returned as an active player in the 2003 season, but announced her final retirement from professional basketball in 2004.

Afterwards, she served as a TV analyst and halftime reporter for the Houston Rockets of the NBA.

College coaching career

In May 2005, Cooper was named the Head Coach of the women's basketball team at Prairie View A&M University.

Cooper's impact at Prairie View was immediate. In just her second season, Cooper led the underdog Panthers to the SWAC tournament title, netting the school its first-ever Women's NCAA Tournament bid.

In January 2008 the NCAA penalized Prairie View for NCAA rules violations committed by Cooper, reducing the number of scholarships for the team. The school was placed on four years' probation for "major violations" in 2005-06 that ranged from Cooper-Dyke giving players small amounts of cash to various forms of unauthorized practices. Cooper also gave players free tickets to Comets game, which is another NCAA infraction.

Hall of Fame

Cooper-Dyke will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. [ [ Ex-Comet Cooper-Dyke gets Hall of Fame nod | Top stories | - Houston Chronicle ] ]

Vital statistics

*Position: Guard
*Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
*College: University of Southern California
*Team(s): Houston Comets


External links

*WNBA-profile|Cynthia_Cooper|Cynthia Cooper
* [ Unofficial Fan Site]
* [ News and Q&A interview regarding Cooper's coaching hire at Prairie View A&M University]
* [ Cooper leads PV to first ever NCAA tournament]

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