It may have only been a preseason game, but it’s clear that the Tulsa Shock are a changed team. They also showed that they had no intention whatsoever of being the WNBA’s doormat for the 3rd straight season.
A balanced attack on offense and an aggressive defensive plan helped the Shock to an 86-60 victory over the Seattle Storm Friday morning in the BOK Center as the Shock hosted a day game for Tulsa schoolchildren as the 2011-12 school year nears it’s end. The kids in the audience cheered loud and proud for Coach Gary Kloppenburg’s ladies, who clearly fed off their energy.
Coach Kloppenburg’s draft choices made their impact as his first two picks, Glory Johnson and Riquna Williams both had 10 points, and Lynetta Kizer led the shock with 5 rebounds.
“It was really good. I think I tired to help out as much as possible.” Glory Johnson said, “Offensively, you know, when my shots weren’t falling I was trying to make sure I got the steal back on defense so I was worried a lot about my defense and made sure I got that down and my offense would come naturally.”
Ivory Latta, one of the returning veterans for the Shock had 9 points, and Kayla Pedersen had 4. Shanna Zolman (Crossley) had three points in her second game after sitting out the entire 2011 season with a torn ACL.
Seattle’s leading scorer was Victoria Dunlap with 13 points and 5 boards, and Tina Thompson had 9 points and 6 rebounds.
After the game Coach Kloppenburg was very complimentary of his ladies, “I just thought we had a lot defensively – that intensity was really good throughout. We had less hesitation then we did in Atlanta.” he said, “We really locked in on what we wanted to do defensively and I think the pressure really bothered them. We need to play that way if we are going to be the type of team that plays with high energy.”
The victory over the Storm on Friday ends the preseason at 1-1 for the Shock, and Coach Kloppenburg has to pare his roster down by four players by May 17th to bring his club into compliance with the WNBA roster regulations and if the victory over the Storm is any indication, they will be tough decisions indeed.
One thing is for sure, even though the season hasn’t started yet, it is very possible that the Shock may move from the dubious title of WNBA doormat to contender.
The Shock being the 2012 season at home against the San Antonio Silver Stars on May 19 at 7:05pm in the BOK Center. Fans attending opening night will receive a t-shirt and led light “thunder sticks“. Tickets are on sale at the BOK Center Box Office, at wnba.com/shock.