Cynthia Cooper-Dyke

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For the accountant, see Cynthia Cooper (accountant).
Cynthia Cooper-Dyke
Sport(s) Women's College Basketball
Current position
Title Head Coach
Team USC Trojans
Conference Pacific-12 Conference
Biographical details
Born (1963-04-14) April 14, 1963 (age 51)
Chicago, Illinois
Alma mater USC, Prairie View A&M University
Playing career
1997-2003 Houston Comets
Position(s) Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
2005-2010
2010-2012
2012-2013
2013-present
Prairie View A&M University
UNC Wilmington
Texas Southern University
University of Southern California
Accomplishments and honors

Awards
WNBA MVP (1997, 1998)
WNBA All-Star (1999, 2000, 2003)
WNBA Champion (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
WNBA Finals MVP (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
WNBA scoring champion (1997, 1998, 1999)
WNBA Hall of Fame(2009)
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame(2009) (profile)
Basketball Hall of Fame(2010) (profile)

CAA Coach of the Year(2010)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2010 (profile)

Cynthia Lynne Cooper-Dyke (born April 14, 1963 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former American basketball player who has won championships in college, the Olympics, and in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). She is considered by many as one of the greatest women's basketball players ever.[1] In 2011, she was voted in by fans as one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history. She played for the Houston Comets from 1997–2000 and again in 2003. On April 11, 2013 she was introduced as the head coach for the University of Southern California women's basketball team. In her first season as head coach at USC, she led the Women of Troy to their first Pac-12 conference championship and consequently, their first NCAA tournament bid since 2006.

Personal[edit]

Although born in Chicago, Illinois, Cooper-Dyke grew up in South Central Los Angeles, California. Cooper-Dyke is the daughter of Mary and Kenny Cooper. Her father left the family when she was only six years old, leaving her mother to raise eight children.[2] Cooper-Dyke attended the University of Southern California, and played on their women's basketball team for four years, but left in 1986 before earning a degree. She played on international women's basketball teams (Spain and Italy) for a decade before returning to the US to play for the Houston Comets. While abroad she learned to speak Italian fluently.

In 2000, she published her autobiography, entitled She Got Game: My Personal Odyssey, which covered her childhood, her basketball career up to that time, and her mother's battle with breast cancer.

She was married to Brian Dyke on April 28, 2001. She is a mother to twins, a son, Brian Jr., and a daughter, Cyan, born June 15, 2002.

Early Years[edit]

High school[edit]

She attended Locke High School before enrolling at the University of Southern California. Cooper participated athletically in both track and field as well as basketball. She led her team to the California State Championship (4A) scoring an average of 31 points per game, and scoring 44 points in one game. Cooper was named the Los Angeles Player of the Year.[2]

College[edit]

Cooper was a four-year letter winner at guard for USC from 1982–1986. She led the Women of Troy to NCAA appearances in all four years, Final Four appearances in three of her four years, and back-to-back NCAA tournament titles in 1983 and 1984.[2] After the 1984 Championship, she briefly left school, but was persuaded to return. She completed four years with USC, although she did not graduate.[3] Cooper closed out her collegiate career with an appearance in the 1986 NCAA tournament championship game and a spot on the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team. Cooper ranks eighth on USC’s all-time scoring list with 1,559 points, fifth in assists (381) and third in steals (256). While Cooper was at USC, the Women of Troy compiled a record of 114–15.[2]

Career[edit]

Guard
Nationality United States American
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 150 lb (68 kg)

Team USA[edit]

Cooper was named to represent the USA at the 1981 William Jones Cup competition in Taipei, Taiwan, while still in high school. The team won seven of eight games to win the silver medal for the event. Cooper scored 2.8 points per game and recorded nine steals.[4]

Cooper was selected to represent the USA at the inaugural Goodwill games, held in Moscow in July 1986. North Carolina State's Kay Yow served as head coach. The team opened up with a 72–53 of Yugoslavia, and followed that with a 21 point win over Brazil 91–70. The third game was against Czechoslovakia and would be much closer. Cheryl Miller was the scoring leader in this game, scoring 26 points to help the USA to a 78–70 victory. The USA faced Bulgaria in the semi-final match up, and again won, this time 67–58. This set up the final against the Soviet Union, led by 7-foot-2 Ivilana Semenova, considered the most dominant player in the world. The Soviet team, had a 152–2 record in major international competition over the prior three decades, including an 84–82 win over the USA in the 1983 World Championships. The Soviets held the early edge, leading 21–19 at one time, before the USA went on a scoring run to take a large lead they would never relinquish. The final score was 83–60 in favor of the USA, earning the gold medal for the USA squad. Cooper averaged 2.0 points per game.[5]

Cooper continued to represent the USA with National team at the 1986 World Championship, held in Moscow, a month after the Goodwill games in Moscow. The USA team was even more dominant this time. The early games were won easily, and the semifinal against Canada, while the closest game for the USA so far, ended up an 82–59 victory. At the same time, the Soviet team was winning easily as well, and the final game pitted two teams each with 6–0 records. The Soviet team, having lost only once at home, wanted to show that the Goodwill games setback was a fluke. The USA team started by scoring the first eight points, and raced to a 45–23 lead, although the Soviets fought back and reduced the halftime margin to 13. The USA went on a 15—1 run in the second half to out the game away, and ended up winning the gold medal with a score of 108–88. Cooper averaged 5.9 points per game.[6]

Cooper played for USA Basketball as part of the 1987 USA Women's Pan American Team which won a gold medal in Indianapolis, Indiana. Cooper was a member of the gold medalist 1988 US Olympic Women's Basketball Team.,[7] and the Bronze Medal team in 1992.[8]

International[edit]

Cooper played for several teams in the European leagues:[2]

  • Samoa Bétera (Spain) 1986–1987 (36.7 ppg)
  • Parma (Italy) 1987–1994
  • Alcamo (Italy) 1994–1996

During her time playing for Samoa Bétera, a Spanish team, she was the league leading scorer with 36.7 ppg. During the almost ten years she played in the Italian leagues, she was the leagues leading scorer eight times, and finished second the other two years.[2]

In 1987, she was the MVP of the European All-Star team. She was also named to the Al-Star team of the Italian leagues in 1996–1997.[2]

WNBA[edit]

At the age of 34, Cooper signed on to play with the Houston Comets. She led the league in scoring three consecutive years, galvanizing the franchise to a record four WNBA Championships. In addition, she was voted the WNBA's MVP in 1997 and 1998 and named Most Valuable Player in each of those four WNBA Finals. Cooper was named the 1998 Sportswoman of the Year (in the team category) by the Women's Sports Foundation.[9] During the Comet dynasty, she was a vital part of the triple threat offense with Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson. When retired in 2000, Cooper became the first player in WNBA history to score 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 2,500 career points. She scored 30 or more points in 16 of her 120 games and had a 92-game double-figure scoring streak from 1997–2000. She went on to coach the Phoenix Mercury for one and a half seasons.

Cooper returned as an active player in the 2003 season, but announced her final retirement from professional basketball in 2004. Her appearance in the game, as a 40-year-old, made her the oldest player, at the time, to play in a WNBA game.[2]

Afterward, she served as a TV analyst and halftime reporter for the Houston Rockets of the NBA. Cooper has also been named one of the top 15 players in the WNBA at the 2011 WNBA All-Star game.[10]

Career Statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game
 PPG  Points per game  TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage  Bold  Career high League leader
Regular Season[edit]
Playoffs[edit]

College coaching career[edit]

In May 2005, Cooper was named the Head Coach of the women's basketball team at Prairie View A&M University.

Cooper's impact at Prairie View was immediate. In just her second season, Cooper led the underdog Panthers to the SWAC tournament title, netting the school its first-ever Women's NCAA Tournament bid.

In January 2008 the NCAA penalized Prairie View for NCAA rules violations committed by Cooper, reducing the number of scholarships for the team. The school was placed on four years' probation for "major violations" in 2005–2006 that ranged from Cooper giving players small amounts of cash to various forms of unauthorized practices.[11] Cooper also gave players free tickets to Comets game, which is another NCAA infraction.

On May 10, 2010, she was announced as the next Head Coach of the UNC Wilmington Seahawks Women's Basketball team.[12] During her first year at UNCW, Cooper was named CAA Coach of the Year.

On April 10, 2012, Cooper resigned from UNC Wilmington and became the head coach at Texas Southern. The move gave her the opportunity to return to Houston where she spent a lot of time as a player.

On April 11, 2013 she was introduced as the head coach for the University of Southern California women's basketball team.[13][14]

Halls of Fame[edit]

Cooper was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.[15] She was also announced as a member of the 2010 induction class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (the first WNBA player to be so), and was formally inducted on August 13 of that year.[16]

Awards and achievements[edit]

  • 2× WNBA MVP (1997, 1998)
  • 3× WNBA All-Star (1999, 2000, 2003)
  • 4× WNBA Champion (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
  • 4× WNBA Finals MVP (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
  • WNBA Hall of Fame (2009)
  • Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (2009)
  • Basketball Hall of Fame (2010)
  • CAA Coach of the Year (2010)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "90. Cynthia Cooper, Basketball". Sports Illustrated for Women. Retrieved 20 Oct 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Porter p. 88–89
  3. ^ Grundy p. 199–200
  4. ^ "1981 WOMEN'S R. WILLIAM JONES CUP". USA Basketball. Retrieved 13 Oct 2013. 
  5. ^ "FIRST WOMEN'S GOODWILL GAMES -- 1986". USA Basketball. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "TENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN -- 1986". USA Basketball. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Games of the XXIVth Olympiad -- 1988". USA Basketball. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  8. ^ "Games of the XXVth Olympiad -- 1992". USA Basketball. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  9. ^ "Sportswoman of the Year Award". Women's Sports Foundation. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  10. ^ http://www.wnba.com/allstar/2011/top15_072311.html
  11. ^ "Division I Committee on Infractions Penalizes Prairie View A & M University Women's Basketball Program". NCAA. Retrieved 2009-08-02. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Cynthia Cooper-Dyke Leaves Prairie View for UNC-Wilmington". HBCU Digest. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  13. ^ Klein, Gary (April 12, 2013). "Cynthia Cooper-Dyke to coach USC women's basketball". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  14. ^ Fisher, Brian (April 11, 2013). "USC will hire TSU's Cynthia Cooper-Dyke as new head women's basketball coach". TigerFans.net. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  15. ^ "WBHOF Inductees". WBHOF. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  16. ^ "Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2010" (Press release). Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 2010-04-05. Retrieved 2010-04-05. 

References[edit]

  • Cooper, Cynthia (June 1, 2000). She Got Game: My Personal Odyssey. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-0-446-60839-8. 
  • Grundy, Pamela; Susan Shackelford (2005). Shattering the Glass. The New Press. p. 175. ISBN 1-56584-822-5. 
  • David L. Porter, ed. (2005). Basketball: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-30952-6. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Cheryl Miller
Phoenix Mercury Head Coach
2001–2002
Succeeded by
Linda Sharp