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WNBA FINALISTS KEEP PERROT IN HEARTS

Cynthia Cooper looks to win her third WNBA championship for teammate Kim Perrot.

"It's extremely important," Cooper said. "I'm proud of the team and how they stuck together in tough times. It seems like every season it's something."

Perrot, who helped lead the Houston Comets to consecutive WNBA titles, died of lung and brain cancer on Aug. 19. Among those at her side was best friend and two-time MVP Cooper.

With heavy hearts, Houston meets the New York Liberty in the best-of-three championship series that begins tonight at Madison Square Garden in New York. Thoughts of Perrot are not far from the players' minds.

"Emotionally, we're OK," Cooper said. "We're not exactly where we ideally would want to be. It's been extremely tough. But this season we hung in there and came away with the best record in the WNBA. We're looking to win this championship."

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