More than a thousand people filed through a church here Tuesday to pay last respects to Kim Perrot, the diminutive Houston Comets point guard who died of cancer last week at age 32.
A Lafayette native, Perrot lay in state in an open casket draped with red and white roses as friends, fans, her former teachers and teammates passed by prior to an afternoon funeral Mass.
Tributes echoed those at a memorial a day earlier in Houston. Admirers spoke of the 5-foot-5 Perrot's generous heart and competitive spirit that won her a spot on Comets coach Van Chancellor's roster despite his initial misgivings about her size and playing style.
Perrot went on to help the Comets win two WNBA championships.
"She was a competitor. She was tough. It affected the people around her. She had an effect on this community like no other person," said Olympic track and field star Hollis Conway, a classmate of Perrot's for four years at the University of Southwestern Louisiana.
"I want everybody to remember her for who she was, a wonderful person who wanted to give back to the community," said Perrot's sister, Loretta Perrot.
Before and after her diagnosis last February, Perrot made more than 200 public appearances, often at schools, where she stressed the importance of working hard to achieve lifelong goals.
Chancellor and Comets players attended the funeral at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. An estimated 1,500 people filed in and out of the church and past the rose-draped casket prior to the Mass.
Near the casket was a spray of flowers, red roses forming Perrot's No. 10 against a backdrop of white roses.
Friends and family wore red roses and white patches with the number 10 printed on them.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.