Thursday, 27 June 2013


                           BLACK             SOCIAL            HISTORY                                                                                                                                                              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. 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.


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. 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

High school

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 45 points in one game. Cooper was named the Los Angeles Player of the Year.


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. 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

Team USA

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., and the Bronze Medal team in 1992.


Cooper played for several teams in the European leagues
  • 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.
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.


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. 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.
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.