1 minute read

Janeth Arcain: 1969—: Professional Basketball Player

Benched As Comets Star Returned

Arcain started every game but one in the 1997 season, ranking second in the WNBA in free-throw percentage and turning in an especially strong performance in the postseason playoffs. The 1997 campaign would mark the first of an amazing four consecutive championships for the Comets, but Arcain's role changed in subsequent seasons as forward Sheryl Swoopes, Arcain's nemesis in Brazil's 1996 Olympic final loss to the United States, returned to the Comets's lineup after a pregnancy leave. Arcain found herself in an unfamiliar spot—on the bench.

"Yeah, it affects me," Arcain admitted to the Chronicle. "All players like to play. To us, it's good to play 40 minutes. But on our team, we have a lot of great players." The situation was especially frustrating for a woman whose identity was so wrapped up in the game of basketball. Arcain thrived on recognition and attention from fans. "All my friends tell me, 'You should be tired of that. Everybody recognizes you. You should be scared to go outside,'" Arcain told the Chronicle. "But no, I like that. If I stopped doing that, probably I would die, because this is my life. Basketball is my life. It's what I like to do."

Indeed Arcain continued playing in Brazil, putting her on virtually a year-round schedule. She often missed part of the preseason Comets's training camp—which wasn't a problem in terms of physical conditioning, but it did impede her ability to quickly fit in with the flow of her teammates' game in Houston. The challenge for Arcain, and for Houston coach Van Chancellor, was to develop her abilities anew so that she could fit into a variety of roles on the court. An experiment in putting Arcain in the play-making point guard position was disappointing, but Arcain persevered, rather than adopting the play-me-or-trade-me attitude that other players might have.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: (Hugo) Alvar (Henrik) Aalto (1898–1976) Biography to Miguel Angel Asturias (1899–1974) BiographyJaneth Arcain: 1969—: Professional Basketball Player Biography - Won Olympic Silver Medal, Benched As Comets Star Returned, Broadened Her Skills