WNBA at a glance

June 11, 1998|By Christian Ewell

Defending champion: The Houston Comets took the inaugural WNBA crown, defeating the New York Liberty in the championship series.

New teams: For the Washington Mystics and Detroit Shock, starting a year late shouldn't be a hurdle. But both teams are spread thin and will have trouble finding the playoffs in 1998.

Best returning players: Cynthia Cooper (22.2 ppg) and Tina Thompson are a tough combo again for Houston. Other top returnees include Los Angeles' Lisa Leslie (15.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg), Sacramento's Ruthie Bolton-Holifield (19.4 ppg), Utah's Wendy Palmer (15.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg), New York's Teresa Weatherspoon (6.1 assists per game, 3.0 steals per game) and Michele Timms of Phoenix (12.1 ppg, 5.1 apg, 2.6 spg).

Best new players: At 7 feet 2, Malgorzata Dydek makes it possible for Utah to win more than the seven games it won in 1997, while Ticha Penicheiro -- when teamed with Bolton-Holifield -- makes the playoffs a possibility for Sacramento.

Surprising teams: With only three players returning and a new coach, Sacramento is a different team from the one with the league's second-worst record last season. With the exception of Dydek, Penicheiro was the most coveted entry in this year's draft; she and Bolton-Holifield should immediately be one of the league's top backcourts.

Pub Date: 6/11/98

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