As the Shock get set to start their inaugural season in Tulsa, some fans may be wondering what the Shock and the WNBA are all about. This is part two of a three-part series taking an in depth look at the history of the WNBA and the Shock. Part one (published yesterday) told the history of the WNBA, while part three (on Saturday) will introduce you to the Tulsa Shock franchise.
WNBA WESTERN CONFERENCE
LOS ANGELES SPARKS (2009: 18-16; Home: Staples Center – Los Angeles, California)
The Sparks are one of the eight original teams in the WNBA and have posted an all-time record of 266-158 since 1997. Los Angeles has reached the postseason 10 times, which is more than any other team in the history of the league. The Sparks won back-to-back championships in 2001 and 2002.
Veterans Marie Ferdinand-Harris, Betty Lennox, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Ticha Penicheiro and Tina Thompson have 54 years of experience combined. Former Oklahoma State guard Andrea Riley will make her professional debut with the Sparks this season.
MINNESOTA LYNX (2009: 14-20; Home: Target Center – Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Minnesota joined the WNBA in 1999 and has since posted a record of 152-214. In two postseason appearances the Lynx have managed to win just one game.
Guard Lindsay Whalen joins the Lynx this season after spending the first six years of her career with Connecticut where she averaged 11.6 points per game. Rookie Monica Wright looks to have a promising season ahead of her after averaging 18 points through two pre-season games.
PHOENIX MERCURY (2009: 23-11; Home: US Airways Center – Phoenix, Arizona)
An original WNBA team, Phoenix holds a record of 215-209 all-time. Last season the Mercury claimed their second championship, defeating Indiana 3-2 in a best-of-five-game series. Their two championships ties them with Los Angeles for third among all teams.
Reigning league and finals MVP Diana Taurasi returns for her seventh season with the Mercury. Last Season Taurasi led the charge for Phoenix in 2009, averaging 20.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. University of Oklahoma stars Ashley Paris and Nyeshia Stevenson will play for the Mercury this season.
SAN ANTONIO SILVER STARS (2009: 15-19; Home: AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas)
The San Antonio Silver Stars got their start in the WNBA in 2003 after the Utah Starzz franchise moved to the Alamo City. The franchise has an all-time record of 187-237 with 100 of those wins coming after their relocation. The Silver Stars have made it to the postseason five times, including a 2-1 conference semifinal loss to Phoenix last season.
Becky Hammon and Sophia Young return for San Antonio after averaging 19.5 and 18.2 points respectively for the Silver Stars last season. Young also contributed 6.5 rebounds per game in 2009. Hammons also led the team with five assists per game.
SEATTLE STORM (2009: 20-14; Home: Key Arena – Seattle, Washington)
Seattle joined the WNBA in 2000 as the sister team to the since departed SuperSonics. The Storm holds an all-time record of 168-166 including seven playoff appearances. The team won the 2004 WNBA championship after beating the Connecticut Sun in a best-of-three game series.
The Seattle roster is headlined by University of Connecticut product Sue Bird. Through eight season, all with the Storm, Bird has averaged 12.6 points and 5.5 assists per game while maintaining a field goal percentage near 43 percent. Forward Lauren Jackson led the team last season with a 19.2 point per game average.
TULSA SHOCK (2009 as Detroit Shock: 18-16; Home: BOK Center – Tulsa, Oklahoma)
As a franchise, the Shock has accumulated a record of 210-186 since the team’s inception in 1998. After winning three championships behind head coach Bill Laimbeer. The Shock announced in October, 2009 that they would be moving to Tulsa.
For a more detailed look into the history of the Shock franchise, check back for part three of our WNBA pre-season report tomorrow.