Originally created 08/17/99

Comets to stay focused as ailing teammate's condition worsens



HOUSTON -- Former Houston Comets point guard Kim Perrot, her body ravaged by cancer, remained in intensive care Monday, as a solemn team came to grips with her certain death while trying desperately to stay focused on basketball.

It's a tough act for the two-time WNBA champions, who have relied heavily on the 5-foot-5 Perrot as a fierce, emotional lynchpin.

"Of course during the game, we're going to come out here. We're going to play hard. We're going to focus on what we need to," said forward Tammy Jackson, the Comets' chosen spokeswoman. "But again, after the game is over, I'm sure our minds and our hearts and are our spirits are going to be with Kim."

The Comets beat the Utah Starzz 80-71 Monday night as fans wore white ribbons honoring Perrot. Other fans wore pink hearts with "Kim" inscribed on them.

Houston players wore white stickers bearing Perrot's No. 10.

During the final seconds, fans chanted "We love you, Kim."

Late Saturday, Perrot was flown from Tijuana, Mexico, where she had been receiving treatment, to Houston, where she was admitted to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Although doctors are employing an "aggressive treatment" regimen, coach Van Chancellor informed the media Sunday that the 32-year-old's condition had significantly worsened and that Perrot, listed in serious condition, was being made as comfortable as possible.

The Lafayette, La. native was told in late January that unchecked lung cancer had spread to her brain.

She had surgery Feb. 24 to remove a golf ball-size brain tumor and followed up with months of radiation therapy which arrested four smaller tumors in her brain.

Perrot was advised by doctors to undergo chemotherapy to stem the cancer growth in her lungs. Instead, she selected treatment offered in Mexico. Beginning in late May, she stayed there for three weeks. She returned to Houston, but went back to Tijuana for a second round of treatment a month ago.

Perrot, who played at Southwestern Louisiana, quickly won fans' hearts as a tough but enthusiastic player when the WNBA debuted three years ago.

"I remember when she came here and she played, I just called her, `Hey, Point Guard!, You're my kind of point guard,"' Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich recalled Monday. "She played with such energy and unselfishness and I just took a liking to her."

Perrot averaged 8.5 points, 4.7 assists and 2.8 steals last season and finished second in the voting for WNBA defensive player of the year.