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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

June 27, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Checking in on the Tulsa Shock

Tulsa10.jpgSunday started out with rain in Tulsa and the team traveled in segments, part arriving around 8 p.m. on Saturday and the other — including the starting frontline of Camille Little, Swin Cash, and Lauren Jackson — arriving close to midnight. Jackson, according to Cash’s Twitter account, suffering an illness on one of the flights.
Just thought we’d start with the bad news first, if you’re a Storm fan. The good could be that you’re facing a Tulsa Shock team that despite relocation from Detroit is looking more and more like an expansion franchise.
“It’s a funny thing, we shouldn’t probably be no where (in it), but everybody is beating up on everybody,” said coach Nolan Richardson of being just one-game out of the fourth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference despite a 3-10 record. “Three weeks ago we were 3-3, .500 and I looked like I’d done the most incredible job in the world. I knew we were going to take our bumps and lumps but I really feel we can have a pretty good season.”
Richardson’s first year coaching women is a challenge. Stars like Deanna Nolan and Katie Smith opted not to relocate with the team and Richardson has made trades with other former Detroit players in an effort to get his system going. So far, though, the team is on a seven-game losing streak.
The ballyhooed signing of Marion Jones hasn’t even cultivated any wins. Jones, a disgraced Olympian who’s returning to basketball after helping North Carolina win a NCAA championship in 1994, is averaging 6.8 minutes and 1.7 points in 13 games. But the latest is that she’s improving.
Jones and four teammates were infected with a staph infection, cancelling Thursday’s practice. G Shanna Crossley was hospitalized this week and is undergoing antibiotic treatments at home. She could miss as many as 8-10 days, Richardson said. The others were cleared to play.
“I know it’ll work,” Richardson said of his philosophy in the WNBA. “I don’t think people know my style – it’s getting after people. We don’t press all day long, that’s the greatest myth of my style. My style of play is how hard to do you want to play? If you don’t want to play hard, then you can’t play my style.”
In Detroit, the Shock gave the Storm constant trouble. The three-time WNBA champions own the overall series at 10-8. But who knows what to expect of the Tulsa version on Sunday.
Richardson says his system is about stopping opponent’s patterns, but his Shock allow a league-leading 22.5 assists and are second in giving up an average 89.5 points.
Storm coach Brian Agler didn’t get a chance to really prepare, however. The teams met during the preseason — Seattle losing 90-80 without its full starting unit. But the WNBA-leading Storm (12-2) played Friday and traveled Saturday, not practicing.
The 1 p.m. (PST) start doesn’t allow time for shootaround. Seattle, riding a three-game win streak, has to rely on the scout given to players and gut — another aspect that could be lacking after starters played 35 to 40 minutes in a tough win against Indiana.
This one will be interesting to say the least.
*above image prodived by NewsOn6*

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