Posts Tagged ‘ Tulsa Shock ’

WNBA Weekend in Review

July 18, 2011 9:34am
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The 2011 season is moving along quickly as the All-Star game is this Saturday. After tonight’s game between San Antonio and Los Angeles, every team will have played between 13 and 15 games.  Besides probably Tulsa, every team still has a legitimate shot at a playoff spot.

Going streaking:

The Phoenix Mercury head into their re-match against the Minnesota Lynx with their league leading 6-game win streak on the line and first place in the Western Conference.  Last game saw the Mercury storm back in the closing minutes to take a 112-105 victory, in the highest scoring game of the season.

The Tulsa Shock have now lost a league leading 9 games in a row. After leading the Sparks for most of Friday’s game, Tulsa couldn’t generate the necessary scoring chances once the Sparks stopped turning the ball over. The Shock will have a chance to re-group as they don’t play again until Tuesday after the All-Star break, hosting the Atlanta Dream.

There’s no place like home:

After a short 1-2 road trip, and two double-digit losses, the Connecticut Sun returned home to the comfy confines of the Mohegan Sun and defeated the Indiana Fever on Sunday. The Sun are undefeated at home, at a perfect 6-0.

Meanwhile the Seattle Storm finish up three game road trip tomorrow at Chicago before heading home. The Storm now stand at 2-5 on the road with their two wins coming against Tulsa and a Mystics team that was missing Crystal Langhorne. Seattle is coming off two road losses including a 69-62 defeat to Minnesota on Saturday.

The bottom of the Eastern Conference:

Although the Washington Mystics are 6 games behind Eastern Conference leading Indiana, they only trail 4th place Chicago by 3 games and have more than half a season left to play.  The Mystics showed lots of resolve in their overtime win over the Sparks, where they mounted the 2nd biggest comeback in WNBA history. Even in the last of their 5 game road trip, and a season full of injuries, Washington showed they should not be forgotten yet.

Just above Washington is the preseason conference favorite Atlanta Dream. Atlanta has been possibly the biggest disappointment this season, but put together their best effort on Saturday. Even playing without Sancho Lyttle, Atlanta looked like the team many pundits believed we would see before the season.

Amber Holt returns for Tulsa tonight

July 8, 2011 5:04pm
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Jessica Lantz with Swish Appeal is reporting that Amber Holt is dressed and in the starting line-up for the Tulsa Shock tonight. She was expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a broken thumb. Also, Ivory Latta is not in uniform tonight.

The expected starting line-up is:  G Doneeka Lewis, G Sheryl Swoopes, F Kayla Pedersen, F Tiffany Jackson, and F Amber Holt.

WNBA Friday: Links to get you ready for tonight’s game

July 8, 2011 3:03pm
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NEW YORK at SAN ANTONIO

The New York Liberty travel to San Antonio, to take on the Silver Stars in a re-match of New York’s 81-75 victory one week ago. This game will be shown on NBA TV.

Tracey Jucey, of Sports Page Magazine, talks about Essence Carson who has come into her own this season. “Carson is on pace for a breakout season as the Liberty’s most consistent player so far in 2011. Averaging only 3.6 points per game in 2010, her offensive production has more than quadrupled with 14.4 points per game to date.”

One of the many reason for the success of the Silver Stars this season has been the play of their bench. Carolyn Peck, at ESPN W, talks about some of the players who have contributed to San Antonio great start, including rookie Danielle Adams. “After following Adams in the NCAA tournament and watching her lead Texas A&M to a national championship, I have to admit she is a new face who has dramatically captured my attention.”

 

PHOENIX at TULSA

In the other match-up of the night, two teams heading opposite directions will meet for the 1st of their two games in 3 nights, as the Mercury travel to Tulsa to take on the Shock. This game can be seen on Live Access.

Odeen Domingo, of the Arizona Republic, discusses how the Mercury have turned it around after a slow start to the season. Diana Taurasi on the slow start: ”I think in the last few weeks, everyone settled in a little bit, felt a little more comfortable on the court, and knew what we needed from each other to get some wins. Now we just have to continue to work hard and see where it takes us.”

Meanwhile, Tulsa is hoping to turn things around tonight, and one key to a victory is the continued emergence of center Liz Cambage. Jessica Lantz from Swish Appeal talks about the Australian center who ranks in the league’s Top 20 in 24 statistical categories, but has struggled to find her shooting touch. “While her ability to make the bunnies might be a statistical category with room to grow, keep in mind that Cambage is 19 years old. 19. What were you doing when you were 19? Save a very limited few NBA ballers like LeBron James, this is a situation like none other particularly in the women’s game.”

At what point do the Tulsa Shock make a change?

July 7, 2011 12:23pm
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In a league with only 12 teams, it’s rare for teams to make the jump from cellar to contender in only a short amount of time because there is such a consolidation of talent. Aside from a situation in Minnesota where they missed a lot of players due to injury the past couple seasons and were able to draft Maya Moore with the number 1 overall pick, it is difficult to make that leap without a unique set of circumstances from year to year.

Fast forward to July 7th, and the Tulsa Shock are getting ready to host the Phoenix Mercury tomorrow. Tulsa is currently in last place, and hold the league’s worst point differential. They are coming off an embarrassing 30 point blowout by the aforementioned Lynx and now have to face, arguably the league’s hottest team (no pun intended) in the Mercury. As the oddmakers currently have it, Tulsa will be the biggest home underdog of the season. Is coach Richardson making the best of a bad situation? Would Tulsa even be better off making a mid-season change?

Kelly Hines of the Tulsa World, has explored some of the pressures facing coach Richardson as this point of the season. “This year, the Shock has been limited by inferior talent. As coach, Richardson may be getting as much out of the players as he can, but as general manager it’s up to him to find difference-makers. ”

Losing Amber Holt on a team lacking in guards was unfortunate, but I think Richardson has been getting a pass for being stubborn to his system. He obviously does not have the personnel to play the style he wants to play, yet insists on it. While I am not a basketball coach, nor would I advocate coming up with a new playbook in the middle of the season, Nolan’s “40 Minutes of Hell” seems difficult to buy into. Tulsa has the highest TO% (which accounts for turnovers on a per possession basis) in the league and I can only imagine what might happen in the up and down game Phoenix will bring to the BOK Center tomorrow night.

Jessica Lantz of Swish Appeal, touches on some positive changes the Shock have experienced, although sometimes you need to read between the lines of their double-digits losses. “The team is slowly figuring out how to use a 6-8 center down low by lobbing her the ball inside. And Cambage herself is adjusting to where she needs to play on the court in order to be effective against WNBA competition… And something that was sorely lacking to start the 2010 season – chemistry – is actually present in the locker room, despite the magnitude and ferocity of some of this year’s losses.”

While turning the team into a slow it down, half-court kind of team is easier said than done, I can’t help but think a complete emphasis on running everything through Cambage, the tallest player on the court in every game, will pay dividends. Slowing down the game should also combat some of their turnover issues, conserve an already short bench, and keep Tulsa fighting for that much longer in each game. Kayla Pedersen has also really impressed, and continues to get better each and every game. You could make as good of an argument for her as rookie of the year right now as any player in the league.

While maybe a coaching change is not going to make a difference at this point of the year, the role of GM for Richardson needs to be evaluated immediately. If he insists on playing his system, there needs be to be someone in the GM role finding the right players for his system. There are no easy fixes in this league, but go to from 2008 WNBA champion Detroit Shock to the Shock’s current state in Tulsa should not have been this “easy” either.

 

Part 2: Thoughts and stats through the first two weeks of the WNBA season

June 23, 2011 11:59am
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PART 2 of 2

Part 2 of our quick takes and looks at some of the underlying stats for each team in the league.

 

New York: Between learning a new scheme under new head coach John Whisenant, and having Pondexter handle more of the point guard duties, the Liberty have gotten off to a slow start.  Don’t be surprised to see this white-line defense turn a corner, as Whiz’s Monarch teams were consistently among the league’s best defensively.

Did you know: New York has yet to keep an opponent under 100 efficiency for a single game. The Sparks scored over 1.18 points/possession in their latest outing.

 

Phoenix: With a healthy and rested Diana Taurasi, the Mercury looked to be a team that would run out of the gate to start the season. Combined with a difficult schedule and poor defending the Mercury lost their first 3 games, but have since gained some momentum with two straight wins.

Did you know: Not that it is anything new with the Mercury, but they they are the only team to score and allow more than 1.06 points/possession. With coach Gaines, a Westhead disciple, don’t except to see Phoenix stop flying up and down the court anytime soon.

 

San Antonio: With coach Hughes back on the sideline, and the emergence of rookie Danielle Adams, the Silver Stars are one of the early season surprises. They were the league’s only undefeated team before Tuesday, as they fell in their rematch with Phoenix, playing without star Sophia Young.

Did you know: The Silver Stars lead the league in offensive efficiency and are the only team to top 100 offensive efficiency in every game this season.

 

Seattle: With essentially the same team back from their 2010 championship season and the addition of Katie Smith, the Storm were expected to start right where they left off. Instead, the defending champs have started slow in part to Lauren Jackson, who is not 100% healthy. Despite injuries, they still stand at 3-2 and welcome Minnesota to the Key Arena for a 2nd time this season.

Did you know: Seattle has recorded the single worst offensive output in a game this season, where they scored only 50 points in approximatively 75 possessions in a loss to Los Angeles on June 19th.

 

Tulsa: After suffering two blowout losses at the hands of the Silver Stars, the Shock have since been more competitive although have only one win to show for it. 2nd overall pick, Liz Cambage has given Tulsa an inside presence, but they have suffered from lack of depth at the guard position after losing Amber Holt for an extended period of time.

Did you know: After Thursday’s game at home against New York, the Shock will have been the first team to play 8 games, with the latest three games played at home.

 

Washington: No team might have experienced more turnover during the offseason than the Mystics. They lost Smith, Harding, and then Currie to injury (and Beard has yet to play this season). They brought in Anosike and a new coach in Lacey Trudi. One constant from last season has been the continued great play of Langehorne. One constant from this season has been atrocious defense.

Did you know: The Mystics have the lowest scoring bench in the league at 12 pts per game. That is more than 9 pts below the league average.


Despite the win, Tulsa’s still got issues

June 19, 2011 9:30am
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Despite last night’s 77-59 win over the Washington Mystics, the issues that have plagued the Shock this season (and for the past couple of seasons, actually) still showed up in the win. Tulsa’s issues are as follows: their best performer right now (Ivory Latta) is the starting PG. However, their franchise player is a 19-year-old 6-8 traditional post. ESPN.com’s women’s basketball analyst Mechelle Voepel discussed this issue in a recent chat. Her thoughts are in accord with what many others think WRT Tulsa’s issues this season. Tulsa is a point guard short. Latta is doing what she can to lead the team and does well as a scorer, but the team needs someone who comes off the bench who is the exact opposite–someone who can run some semblance of an offense. Andrea Riley is not that player. Unless Tulsa figures this out soon, their one win will serve as their only win for the next month.

News Channel 8 in Oklahoma reporting Tulsa center Liz Cambage will not play tonight

June 14, 2011 1:16pm
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News Channel 8 in Oklahoma is reporting that 6’8″ Australian center Liz Cambage will not play tonight.

She suffered a concussion last game against Connecticut when she was inadvertently hit in the face by teammate Tiffany Jackson.

Tulsa’s Richardson has won everywhere he has coached

May 31, 2011 2:59pm
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For a coach used to winning, the Shock’s Nolan Richardson is looking to right the ship in his second season coaching in the WNBA.

Given the time, Richardson has won at every coaching spot he has made. Richardson built a national champion team at Western Junior College. Next he won the NIT with Tulsa in his 1st season as coach. Richardson is probably best known for his “40 minutes of hell” while at Arkansas where he went to 3 final fours and won the NCAA championship in 1994.

John Klein of the Tulsa World writes, “Tulsa still doesn’t have the type of talent it will take to challenge for the league title. However, the Shock is likely to be far more competitive and surprise a few folks this year.  If the young players, like Elizabeth Cambage, can become the stars hoped for, then Tulsa has a chance to be what Richardson dreams. Richardson knows basketball. He has a winning system and he’s adjusted to the women’s game.”

Weekend Preseason Recap

May 30, 2011 2:15pm
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Saturday, May 28th:

The Los Angeles Sparks defeated the Phoenix Mercury 83-72, in a preseason game played at The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Sparks started the game well, leading 26-13 after the first quarter. “I’m very pleased with my team tonight” said Sparks head coach Jennifer Gillom, “I thought the energy was there, the aggressiveness was there, and tonight told me a lot.”

This game concludes the Sparks preseason, as they open up at home Friday, against the Minnesota Lynx at Staples Center. Phoenix travels to Seattle to face the defending champions on June 4th.

Sunday, May 29th:

The Atlanta Dream defeated  Great Britain 82-51, in the Dream’s only preseason game played in Manchester, England and the WNBA’s first game in Europe.

From James Bowman at Swish Appeal, “Coco Miller got off to a hot start in the first quarter, scoring seven of the first nine points for Atlanta and scoring 11 total first-quarter points.  (She would finish with 10-for-12 shooting and score 21 points.)  The Dream went to a double-digit lead early in the first quarter and never looked back.”

In the 3rd preseason game of the weekend the Seattle Storm defeated the Tulsa Shock 76-71.

After missing the game against Los Angeles, both Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird returned to the starting lineup as Seattle raced out to a 24-6 1st quarter lead and 45-25 halftime lead.

2nd overall pick Liz Cambage let her emotions get the best of her.  ”I was so nervous,” she said. “The first quarter I was so sick and had to run back and get it out of my system. But even getting off the plane yesterday, I was just so nervous going into training.”

Some additional thoughts from Jayda Evans’s in-game thread can be found here.

WNBA will feel immediate impact from this year’s draft

April 12, 2011 11:00am
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By adding the No. 1 overall draft pick in Maya Moore, the Minnesota Lynx will be expected to be a contender immediately.

Basketball is unique among team sports because of the impact a single player can make. While you have star players across the entire spectrum of sports, in basketball an impact player’s presence can be felt on each and every possession. While we anticipate the start of the new WNBA season, let’s take a look at yesterday’s top 5 draft picks, whose impact should be felt immediately this upcoming season.

1. Maya Moore F (UConn): Selected by the Minnesota Lynx
Moore transitions to the WNBA as possibly the greatest collegiate player ever. She ends her career at UConn with 150 wins and 2 national titles. Moore was only the collegiate player on the national team that won a world championship, and is expected to continue as an impact player with the national squad. She is expected to turn the Lynx into contender almost instantly.  While expectations for Minnesota and Moore are very high, there is every reason to believe the hype is warranted.

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