Later tonight Tulsa will be Shock’d. The city’s newest professional sports franchise, the Tulsa Shock, will make it’s debut in a 7 p.m. contest with the Minnesota Lynx at the BOK Center. Earlier this week we brought you a look inside the WNBA, today is your chance to brush up on everything about the home team before you head to the game.
HISTORY OF THE FRANCHISE
The Shock made it’s WNBA debut as an expansion team in 1998 and was the sister team of the Detroit Pistons. In their first season the squad got off to a slow start, losing it’s first four games. They battled back, however, finishing at 17-13 and coming up just one game short of clinching a playoff berth.
1999 produced a 15-17 record and a tie for a playoff spot. The Shock went head to head with the Charlotte Sting in a one-game playoff that they lost 60-54. The next season brought a 14-18 record and another tie for the final playoff seed, but the Shock would lose the tiebreaker and not qualify.
The team endured the worst season in it’s history in 2001. A 10-22 record landed them in a three-way tie for last place in the Eastern Conference. After a 0-10 start in 2002 the franchise made it’s second coaching change in three seasons, hiring former Pistons bad boy Bill Laimbeer.
Laimbeer made several roster changes and the team subsequently landed the first playoff seed during the 2003 season with a 25-9 record. The Shock then defeated the Cleveland Rockers and Connecticut Sun to set up a championship series with the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Sparks. The Shock went on to clinch the series win before a WNBA record crowd of 22,076 during game three.
The team returned to the playoffs the next two seasons, but exited early after first round losses. Laimbeer’s team returned to championship form in 2006, compiling a 23-11 record and reaching the finals. The Sacramento Monarchs jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series before the Shock battled back to send the series to a deciding fifth game. The Shock then beat the Monarchs 78-73 to win their second championship.
The Shock returned to the finals in 2007 after posting a 24-10 regular season record and clinching the top playoff seed. In a final series that again went to a deciding game five the Shock were defeated by the Phoenix Mercury. 2008 produced the third championship for the franchise as they rode a 22-12 regular season through the playoffs and past the San Antonio Silver Stars for the title.
During their final season in Detroit, the Shock finished the regular season with an 18-16 record, and clinched their seventh straight playoff appearance. They swept the Atlanta Dream in a first round series before losing to the Indiana Fever. The loss marked the end of the franchise in Detroit.
On October 20, 2009 it was officially announced that the team would be moving to Tulsa. Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry was among those in attendance when WNBA President Donna Orender made the announcement. One month earlier it was announced that former University of Tulsa and University of Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson would be the general manager and coach of the franchise owned by a group led by Oklahoma City businessmen Bill Cameron and David Box.
Chante Black (11) – 6’5” C. Entering second WNBA season out of Duke. Averaged just under 3 points per game during 2009 season with Connecticut. Acquired in trade the day before the draft that sent the Shock’s first round pick and 2011 second round pick to the Sun.
Kara Braxton (45) – 6’6” C-F. Five years WNBA experience, all with the Shock franchise. The University of Georgia product averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game in 2009.
Shanna Crossley (0) – 5’10” G. Crossley enters her fourth WNBA season after playing for the legendary Pat Summit at Tennessee. Played the previous three seasons with San Antonio where she held a career three-point shot percentage of 44 percent.
Amber Holt (4) – 6’ F. Entering third WNBA season out of Middle Tennessee State. Acquired along with Black in the trade with the Sun. Holds career points average of 6.3 per game.
Alexis Hornbuckle (22) – 5’11” G. Attended college at Tennessee. Entering third WNBA season and third season with the Shock franchise. Averaged 6 points per game through two professional seasons.
Marion Jones (20) – 5’10” G. Entering her first WNBA season after making her name as an Olympic sprinter. Won 1994 NCAA championship while with North Carolina.
Natasha Lacy (3) – 5’10” G. Rookie out of UTEP. Accumulated more than 1,300 points and 750 rebounds during her college career.
Plenette Pierson (23) – 6’2” F-C. Longest tenured member of the Shock, entering ninth WNBA season. Spent first three seasons in the league with Phoenix before joining the Shock in 2005 where she has won two championships. Averaged over 11 points per game during the 2007 and 2008 seasons before missing the 2009 season due to injury.
Scholanda Robinson (5) – 5’11” G. First round draft pick of the Sacramento Monarchs in 2006. Entering fifth professional season averaging 6.1 points per game. Acquired by the Shock in WNBA dispersal draft after Monarchs folded.
Amanda Thompson (21) – 6’1” F. Entering first professional season. Should be a crowd favorite after leading Oklahoma to two straight Final Four appearances. Selected in the second round of the 2010 WNBA draft.
Shavonte Zellous (1) – 5’10” G. Second year pro out of Pittsburgh. Averaged 11.9 points per game for the Shock in 2009.
Nolan Richardson – Head coach. Legendary men’s college coach making WNBA debut. Spent time with Tulsa where he won the 1981 NIT title and led Arkansas to the 1994 NCAA championship. Richardson’s “40 minutes of hell” up-tempo style could revolutionize the women’s game. Is currently the only coach to win junior college national championship, NIT title and NCAA championship.
Two Shock home games will be televised nationally. Tulsa’s first meeting with defending champion Phoenix on May 25 and the first of two visits by Los Angeles on July 13 will be carried by ESPN2.
In addition to the two nationally televised games, the Shock recently announced a local television agreement with Cox Communications. Cox will broadcast 15 home games on Cox cable 3 in Tulsa, while five of those games will be simulcast on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
MAY – Saturday, May 15 vs. Minnesota 7 p.m.; Thursday, May 20 vs. San Antonio 11:30 a.m.; Sunday, May 23 at Minnesota 6 p.m.; Tuesday, May 25 vs. Phoenix 6 p.m.; Saturday, May 29 vs. Indiana 7 p.m.
JUNE – Friday, June 4 vs. Minnesota 7 p.m.; Saturday, June 5 at Chicago 7 p.m.; Friday, June 11 at San Antonio 7 p.m.; Saturday, June 12 at Phoenix 9 p.m.; Friday, June 18 at Minnesota 7 p.m.; Saturday, June 19 vs. Minnesota 7 p.m.; Wednesday, June 23 at Atlanta 11 a.m.; Friday, June 25 vs. New York 7 p.m.; Sunday, June 27 vs. Seattle 3 p.m.; Tuesday, June 29 vs. Connecticut 7 p.m.
JULY – Saturday, July 3 vs. Washington 7 p.m.; Thursday, July 8 at Indiana 6 p.m.; Tuesday, July 13 vs. Los Angeles 6 p.m.; Friday, July 16 at San Antonio 7 p.m.; Saturday, July 17 at Phoenix 9 p.m.; Tuesday, July 20 at Los Angeles 2 p.m.; Thursday, July 22 vs. Phoenix 7 p.m.; Sunday, July 25 at Seattle 8 p.m.; Tuesday, July 27 vs. Atlanta 12:30 p.m.; Friday, July 30 vs. San Antonio 7 p.m.
AUGUST – Sunday, August 1 at Washington 3 p.m.; Tuesday, August 3 vs. Seattle 7 p.m.; Friday, August 6 at Los Angeles 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, August 7 at Seattle 9 p.m.; Friday, August 13 at San Antonio 7 p.m.; Saturday, August 14 vs. Los Angeles 7 p.m.; Tuesday, August 17 at Connecticut 6:30 p.m.; Thursday, August 19 at New York 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, August 21 vs. Chicago 7 p.m.