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June 14, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Checking in on Houston

It’s all about Storm F Sheryl Swoopes’ return today. The papers have caught up with other players who switched teams after making their name in one uniform and Swoopes is just the latest.
It’ll be interesting to see Reliant Arena for the first time. Heard all kinds of stories, but Comets F Tina Thompson likes the move from the Toyota Center. I kind of miss the days when Houston played at the Compaq Center, even that circus smell (remember that Houstonians?). The place was rocking in the team’s early years (winning titles helps) and now it’s a mega church. I’ve only seen the Toyota Center full a few times during the playoffs and I believe when the team let Hurricane Katrina victims in for free. Otherwise it had a desolate feeling.
“Some people enjoy a really big house that’s really fancy and it’s museum-like and they have a lot of really cool things in there,” Thompson said in comparing the Toyota Center with Reliant Arena. “And other people enjoy a very quaint and comfortable house that you can make a home. It’s a matter of opinion, I guess. You can be in this huge big house that has no life or feeling in it and people come to it and aren’t very comfortable. Versus coming to a nice-sized, middle-class home where you’re very comfortable and you don’t have to take your shoes off — you just kick your feet up and have a good time. That’s the Toyota Center versus Reliant Arena.
“We are wanted in Reliant Arena. They are very happy to have us there and it feels like home. It’s very reminiscent of the Compaq Center. The Toyota Center wasn’t a great situation on both parts. You come into a place and you don’t feel comfortable there or that the people there don’t want you. So, the move was good for us. We were very restricted in the aspect that we didn’t have the same openness or freedom that the Rocket players had. It didn’t affect me, personally, but as a team we were. If my teammates aren’t comfortable as a whole then it makes me uncomfortable.”
The Comets (1-7) are one of the league’s seven independently owned franchises, spliting from the Rockets in 2007. I’ve heard the approximate 7,000-seat Reliant Center needs some love, but if new owner Hilton Koch invests in it, the Comets can return to the successful franchise they were in the late 1990s.
The game won’t be aired, but be sure to checkout the rematch of last season’s WNBA Finals on ABC at 12:30 PST today when Detroit (7-3) plays struggling defending champion Phoenix (2-5).

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