Comets melt Mercury as Cooper watches


HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Comets got some bad news, but Sheryl Swoopes had her first double-double of the season with 11 points
and 10 assists as they beat the Phoenix Mercury 66-51 Tuesday night.

Tina Thompson added 14 points on 7-of-13 shooting, helping the Comets (3-2) avoid their first three-game losing streak in team
history. Two of their three wins this season have come against the Mercury.

Cynthia Cooper watched her teammates win from the bench with a right shoulder injury. Cooper, the WNBA's oldest player at 40, tore
her right rotator cuff in practice Monday and will miss at least two weeks.

Tamicha Jackson and Plenette Pierson each scored nine points for the Mercury (1-4), who have lost two in a row.

"I think that we were just really patient in the first half,'' Thompson said. "In the past couple of games, we were just trying
to get things done immediately. Tonight, we knew we just wanted to get things done through our offense. The baskets that we got
tonight were off our commitment to making good passes.''

The Comets shot 69.2 percent from the floor in the first half and led 39-28 at halftime. Swoopes led all players with 10 points
at the break, going 5-for-8 from the floor. Michelle Snow added eight points and nine rebounds for the

Houston led by as many as 15 in the first half when Swoopes made her first 3-pointer of the game with 7:18 left. The Comets were
shooting 77 percent (14-for-18) at the time. Pierson made three of her four shots in the first half and led Phoenix with seven points at the break.

Swoopes said the team learned at halftime that Cooper would not be available for awhile. "When we went into the locker room for halftime, the mood was
very somber and we knew something was up. Cooper was already in here, and she had her head down. That's when we knew it wasn't going to be good news,'' Swoopes said.

Cooper had an MRI on Tuesday. The results, revealed just before tip-off, showed a small tear in the rotator cuff. She is to be
re-evaluated in two weeks. If it is determined she needs surgery, she could miss the rest of the season, team doctor Bruce Moseley said.