WNBA marks loss: Cooper leaving game


HOUSTON - Less than happy with her diminished role in the Houston Comets' offense, three-time WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player Cynthia Cooper said Monday night that she will retire at the end of the 2000 season.

"This is my last year in the league," Cooper said. "I will retire after this year.

"With different things that have happened this year, and obviously last year, just the things that are going on now, I think it's time for me to move on. I know it's going to make a lot of people happy that I'm, to use a cliche, passing the torch. It's just time for me to move on."

One of the WNBA's two oldest players, Cooper, 37, was the league's scoring champion in each of its previous three seasons and was the regular-season Most Valuable Player in 1997 and '98. In this year's season-opener, she became the first player in the league to reach 2,000 career points.

But the past 21 months have been among the toughest for Cooper. Her mother died after a long fight with breast cancer, Cooper was involved in an auto accident that caused nearly $30,000 in damages to her Mercedes-Benz convertible,one of her two homes burned to the ground, and best friend and teammate Kim Perrot died of lung and brain cancer.

"This is pretty much a shocker," coach Van Chancellor said of Cooper's announcement. "If this is true, it will be a loss for all of us."

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