Sports

WNBA Legend Cynthia Cooper-Dyke Continues to Make an Impact in Woman’s Basketball

Cynthia Cooper-Dyke had one of the best careers in WNBA history. She is a notable name in women’s sports. Cooper-Dyke knows what it takes to win, and she was a competitor on the court.

She only spent five seasons in the WNBA but won multiple WNBA titles. After her playing career, she became a coach.

Cynthia Cooper-Dyke had success in college and playing overseas

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Cooper-Dyke played college basketball at the University of Southern California. She played at USC from 1982 to 1986 and had a lot of success there. Cooper-Dyke led USC to three Final Four appearances and back-to-back NCAA tournament titles in 1983 and 1984. She ranks eighth on USC’s all-time scoring list with 1,559 points, fifth in assists (381) and third in steals (256). After an impressive career at USC, she was selected to represent the United States in the inaugural Goodwill Games in July of 1986. Cooper helped the U.S. team win the gold medal.

That same year she played overseas in Spain for Samoa Betera. During her time playing in Spain, she led the team in scoring averaging 36.7 points per game. In 1987 she was the MVVP of the European All-Star team. After her time in Spain, she spent nearly 10 years playing in Italy for two different teams. She led the league in scoring eight times.  

Cynthia Cooper-Dyke joining the WNBA and dominating the league

In 1997, Cooper-Dyke signed to play with the Houston Comets at the age of 34. When Cooper-Dyke joined the Comets, she did not waste any time. She led the league in scoring for three consecutive seasons, and she won four consecutive WNBA titles in her first four years playing in the league. Cooper-Dyke also was named the MVP of the WNBA Finals each year. She accomplished everything during her time in the WNBA.

Cooper-Dyke made multiple All-Star teams, and she was a two-time WNBA MVP. She played at a high level despite being one of the oldest players in the league during her career. Cooper-Dyke became the first player in WNBA history to score 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 2,500 career points. She took a break from playing after the 2000 season and returned in 2003, becoming the oldest player at the time to play in a WNBA game. She was 40 years old. The four-time WNBA champion was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Still impacting the game through coaching

Cooper-Dyke’s first coaching experience came in the WNBA. While she took a break from playing, she coached the Phoenix Mercury during the 2001 season and part of the 2002 season. She finished with an overall record of 19-23 after resigning after 10 games during the 2002 season. In 2005, she was named the head coach of the women’s basketball team at Prairie View A&M University. She helped turn the basketball team into a winning program during her time there. After her first season, the team had a winning season every year.

After her time at Prairie View A&M, she became the head coach at UNC Wilmington in 2010. In her first season, she led the team to a 24-9 record, and Cooper-Dyke was named the CAA Coach of the Year. She also has had coaching stops at Texas Southern and her alma mater USC. Cooper-Dyke returned to Texas Southern in 2019, where she is currently the head coach. During the 2019-20 season, she led the team to a 20-10 record. She continues to make a big impact on the game through coaching, and she left her legacy as one of the greatest players ever to play in the WNBA.