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Comets guard Staley retiring but not leaving sideline

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Dawn Staley thinks she'll never really be finished with basketball. She's simply done playing, now that the Houston Comets are out of the WNBA playoffs.

Staley, the veteran point guard who's been a star since her first Philadelphia high school season, officially finished her career in Houston's 92-64 loss to the Sacramento Monarchs on Saturday.

Staley, who announced her pending retirement earlier in the year, went scoreless in her final game, finishing with three rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes of a blowout.

"The dramatics were taken out of it pretty early," Staley said after spending most of the fourth quarter with a towel draped around her shoulders on Houston's bench. "I'm a competitor, and when you see it leaving your control … you want to be on that winning side, but certainly in sports, there are two sides."

But don't feel sorry for the three-time U.S. Olympian as she exchanges her uniform for a suit. She'll be an assistant coach on the U.S. team at the world championships this fall before finally devoting full attention to her successful day job as Temple's head coach. Staley, 36, is 126-59 with four NCAA Tournament berths in six seasons.

"I've had some great basketball moments, so I really can't complain," Staley said. "Of course, I would rather win than move on [to retirement], but I really can't complain with the career that I've had."

Staley reached three Final Fours with Virginia and played two seasons in the ABL before joining the WNBA's Charlotte Sting in 1999. She played 6½ seasons in Charlotte before accepting a trade to Houston last season to give her two more shots at a title -- but both ended with playoff losses to Sacramento.

Though she struggled to score in her final WNBA season, the five-time All-Star showed she still has the touch by winning the league's 3-point shooting contest at All-Star Weekend.

She finished with 2,226 points, 1,337 assists and 537 rebounds in the WNBA, appearing in 22 playoff games. Staley was honored at Houston's final regular-season home game last week, receiving jerseys from every stop in her U.S. career -- all the way back to Dobbins Tech, Staley's Philadelphia alma mater.

Staley, who also played professionally in France, Italy, Brazil and Spain, has three gold medals from the Atlanta, Sydney and Athens Olympics. She was honored as the U.S. flagbearer at the Athens Games in 2004.

Staley won't have much time for reflection. She plans to give herself just a few days of relaxation before getting back to work.

"In about a week, I'm going to North Carolina to train for the world championships -- and wait for Yo," Staley said of Yolanda Griffith, the Sacramento star who will play for her on the U.S. team.