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Volume 71, Issue 6, Monday, August 29, 2005

Sports

Lyttle stops Sparks' attempt to light up fire

Rookie's continuing education not enough to stop her on the court

By Lourdes Castillo
The Daily Cougar

As the Houston Comets prepare for the playoffs, former Cougar Sancho Lyttle has seen nothing but individual success on the court.

"I just went out to play (Saturday) and I guess we all had some momentum," Lyttle said. "When one of us was doing good, everyone was playing good."

After a three-game losing streak on foreign territory -- at Phoenix (80-75), Sacramento (55-45) and future playoff rival Seattle (71-68) -- the Comets showed just how powerful homecourt advantage can be by defeating the Storm (75-72) on Aug. 14. The Comets followed this win with a 73-62 loss at Minnesota and a 77-66 victory over Phoenix on Aug. 18. 


Rookie Sancho Lyttle played an important role in the victory the Comets claimed over Los Angeles on Saturday.
Will Cordray/The Daily Cougar

The Comets then took on Los Angeles and Phoenix once again, resulting in a 55-50 loss and an 80-72 victory, respectively.

"In the away games, they would get in front of us and then we would have to fight back," Lyttle said. "We only lost by a few points. We made a pact that we weren't going to lose any more close games, so on the next game we came from behind again and won."

Since the Aug. 5 game against Phoenix, Lyttle has averaged 4.2 points per game and come close to tying her season-high 13 points she recorded in June, also against Los Angeles. 

On Aug. 19, the Comets announced the seven-day contract of 5-foot-9-inch guard Felicia Ragland.

"(Ragland) was here before. Everybody missed her when she left, so when she came back she brought the life back to everybody," Lyttle said.

During the last Comets' season game against foes the Sparks, Houston took complete control during an impressive start in which the Comets led 10-2 less than two minutes into the game. 

"We came out saying that they owed us one, so in the first two minutes, we were blazing and we just kept it up," Lyttle said. "I guess the motivation was to get back. I don't know. We didn't do anything special before the game. I guess we wanted to win and everybody had something to do (on the court)."

The lead only increased, allowing the Comets to finish the first half 41-16 in a display of dominance over the Sparks. Los Angeles has been a perpetual rival, who coming into Saturday's game, held a 3-0 advantage in this season's series and a 20-18 lead in all-time series.

The second half saw the Sparks try to light some fire themselves as they battled back, but because of the large point difference, the Comets came out victorious in a remarkable 77-51 win.

During the defeat of the Sparks, Lyttle recorded a total of eight rebounds -- three offensive and five defensive -- and 11 points in 18 minutes of play. 

As the Comets look forward to the postseason, Lyttle also has things to look forward to on and off the court. Lyttle is back at UH and is looking to finish her degree in kinesiology.

"I have to look at the playoffs as if I'm going to the NCAA tournament, but it's going to be different because of what's at stake now," Lyttle said. "I'm not really nervous."

Lyttle once again shared a piece of her experience with the Comet's has been like, as well as answers to questions about her life off the court.

On embarrassing moments:

"I don't let those things get to me. I just laugh it up, unless somebody embarrasses me, then I fight back by being sarcastic. I don't fight back with punches; I fight back with words."

Lyttle's advice to future rookies:

"My advice is to stick it out. When you come in, you are the one in trouble all the time. You have to do this, that and they will be on your back all the time, but you just have to stick it out. Next year, I'll see what second-year people get."

On where she sees herself in 10 years:

"Hopefully still playing. I don't know (if I'm going to get married). Ask me again in five years." 

On her most memorable moment:

"I guess my most memorable time was during the draft. Everybody thought I was going to make it, but nobody knew where. When it was announced that I was going to be coming back here, I was excited."

Lyttle's plan to go back to school:

"I'm actually going back (to school) right now to get my degree. I hate school, but it's something that I need. So I go, but if I had a choice to play (basketball) instead of going to school, then I would play everyday. There are some subjects I'm good at, some that I'm not. In the ones I'm good at, I pay attention a lot. I only have one year left."
 

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