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Swoopes, Cooper Prove Tough Combination

June 14, 1998|From Associated Press

Sheryl Swoopes scored 28 points and proved she can play alongside Cynthia Cooper, leading the Comets to a 73-62 victory over the New York Liberty on Saturday.

The game, played before 16,285 at Houston, was a rematch of the inaugural WNBA championship game.

Swoopes, who played only nine regular-season games last year after returning from childbirth, meshed well with Cooper. Last season's league MVP, Cooper scored 18 points before leaving the game with 3:38 to play because of an injury to her right knee.

Swoopes missed two practices on Tuesday and later had a face-to-face meeting with Coach Van Chancellor over rumors that she and Cooper could not coexist on the team.

But all was in order for the Comets' season opener, in which Swoopes and Cooper helped them pull away with a 24-10 run to begin the second half.

Charlotte 78, Detroit 69--Rhonda Mapp scored seven 12 points down the stretch, leading the Sting past the expansion Shock and spoiling the WNBA coaching debut of Nancy Lieberman-Cline.

Razija Mujanovic had 22 points and 13 rebounds at Auburn Hills, Mich., in the inaugural game for the Shock. Andrea Stinson scored 16 points and Vicky Bullett added 14 points and 12 rebounds for Charlotte.

The Shock sold 22,076 tickets, but with the Detroit Red Wings playoff hockey game on television and thunderstorms in the Detroit area, only 15,574 fans showed up.

That left the Sting's league record of 18,937 against Houston on Aug. 16, 1997 intact.

Utah 78, Washington 77--Kim Williams had five points and a key steal in the final 43 seconds as the Starzz came from behind to win at Salt Lake City in front of 6,288.

Utah erased a six-point Mystics' lead with 1:13 to play. The Starzz took the lead on Williams' 10-foot leaner with nine seconds left, and Elena Baranova stripped the ball from the Mystics' Nikki McCray with two seconds to play.

The Mystics were denied their first win in franchise history, and the Starzz won for the first time this season.

McCray led Washington with 26 points, and Alessandra Santos de Oliviera scored 19 and had 18 rebounds.

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