Thompson the link to Comets past and present

May 15, 2008 7:22:45 PM PDT
Saturday night in Detroit, the Comets open their 12th season. and for the first time since the WNBA started in 1997, there will be no Cynthia Cooper and no Sheryl Swoopes in the lineup. The only remaining member of the "big three" is Tina Thompson."I'm probably around the age Cynthia was when we started," Thompson said of Cooper, who was in her 30s and a prolific scorer during those championship seasons.

We tend to forget that Tina Thompson was the Comets' first draft pick in that first season that launched four straight WNBA titles. But this offseason, she was torn over whether to return to the Comets or play overseas, where she could make more money. And coming off a 13-21 season, it would have been understandable if she went with the money.

"(Playing in the WNBA) is not as financially rewarding as going overseas. It brings a lot more than that. And, the WNBA has also given us an opportunity to go over to Russia or wherever place we go and make the kind of money that we make," Thompson said.

Thompson played in Russia during the offseason, which ended this past Saturday, meaning that she made her first apperance in Comets camp Thursday and the Comets' first game is only three days away. But forget about there being any jealousy.

"Of course, I'm the leader of this team, but I have been. Since 1997, I was one of the leaders on this team," Thompson said.

This year's first round draft pick, Matee Ajavon from Rutgers, has led the Comets in scoring in all three preseason games, but when Thompson walked in Thursday, the rookie made sure Thompson saw when she turned and said hello. "It was definitely nice and I was definitely excited to see Tina back. That's why when you saw me, I said, 'Hey, Tina.' It was exciting to see her," Ajavon said.

"I've been watching her the past couple of years and she's a great player. I'm happy for the opportunity to play with her," Ajavon added.

And for a team didn't make the playoffs and will be calling Reliant Arena home this year, they need all the star power they can get.

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