In the first season following Cynthia Cooper's premature retirement, fans were looking forward to Sheryl Swoopes to carry the team to its fifth WNBA championship. But when a knee injury sidelined Sheryl for the entire season, Tina Thompson took over at forward, with Janeth Arcain as her support at guard. The two took the team to the playoffs with a respectable 19-13 season. Thompson came in third in the league in scoring, and sixth in rebounds. She was the leading vote-getter in the West for the all-star game. But beginning with a suspension in July and then a sprained ankle, Thompson's Comets hit the skids in August. Before that, Thompson was being touted as an MVP contender. The Comets couldn't make it past the L.A. Sparks in the playoffs, and Thompson tore a calf muscle in the deciding game. Now she's recuperating for next season as the rest of us hang our hopes on the triumvirate of Swoopes, Thompson and Arcain picking up where the Comets left off this year.