Tulsa Shock season in review
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
9/26/12 at 5:27 AM
Related Story: Tulsa Shock prepare for draft in wake of 2012
Original Print Headline: Shock Season in Review
June 17: On Father's Day, the Shock finally won its first game of 2012 and broke a 15-game losing streak over two seasons, running to an 87-75 win over the Phoenix Mercury. Temeka Johnson had 22 points and five assists and Riquna Williams scored 15 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter.
July 12: Glory Johnson had 30 points and 14 rebounds in an 89-74 loss at the defending league champion Minnesota Lynx, showing why head coach Gary Kloppenburg felt she deserved rookie-of-the-year consideration. The 30 points were a Shock individual season high.
Sept. 20: In the final home game, Temeka Johnson scored a career-high 26 points as the Shock raced to a 78-66 win over the playoff-bound New York Liberty. With wins at Phoenix and San Antonio in its previous two games, the Shock had its first three-game winning streak since moving to Tulsa in 2010.
May 29: Tulsa's 0-9 start was punctuated by heartbreaking losses in the closing seconds. None hurt more than a 76-75 loss at the Los Angeles Sparks when Kristi Toliver hit a 3-pointer with one second left.
June 8: More heartbreak followed in a 98-91 overtime loss at the Chicago Sky. Tulsa led 75-69 with 27 seconds left in regulation, but Epiphanny Prince forced overtime by hitting a trey with a tenth of a second left.
Aug. 28: The Shock was embarrassed when 6-foot-8 Liz Cambage, the team's No. 2 overall draft selection in 2011, decided not to return after playing for her native Australia in the London Summer Olympics. Following an initial flap over her reported reluctance about coming to Tulsa, she played her rookie season with the Shock but missed all of 2012, bypassing the first part of the year to prepare for the Olympics. With a winter professional season looming in China, Cambage's agent said the Olympics had left her "exhausted." Tulsa holds Cambage's rights for another three years, and team president Steve Swetoha said he hoped to have her back next year, but skeptical fans wondered if she would ever return.
A series of unfortunate events
Things went badly last November for the franchise with the WNBA's worst record when the Shock finished fourth in the four-team draft lottery, despite having the most chances (442 out of 1,001) of winning the top pick. On the floor, the Shock lost six times in the closing seconds of regulation or overtime. Liz Cambage's refusal to rejoin the team after the Olympics added to the impression of a luckless franchise.
The new girls
Glory Johnson ranked third in points (11.5), second in rebounds (6.8) and first in steals (2.2) among WNBA first-year players. Riquna Williams averaged 10.5 points in her rookie season and played her best at the end, averaging 11.5 points over the final 13 games.
Acquired from Phoenix for Andrea Riley, eight-year veteran guard Temeka Johnson averaged 12.2 points and 4.7 assists, fifth in the league. Roneeka Hodges, another eight-year veteran, arrived in a July 2 trade with Indiana for Karima Christmas and averaged 10.2 points over the final 20 games.
Moving up in the world
In her sixth WNBA season, Ivory Latta posted career highs in points (14.3), field goals (175), shooting percentage (.390) and minutes played (962). In her seventh WNBA season, Jennifer Lacy posted career highs in 3-pointers (44) and 3-point percentage (.404). Before her June knee injury, Lacy ranked among the league leaders, shooting over 50 percent from behind the arc.
From the top
The Shock developed toughness and an attacking defensive persona under first-year head coach Gary Kloppenburg and assistants Jason Glover and Kathy McConnell-Miller. The coaches received high marks around the league for getting the most out of their talent as the Shock tripled its win total (nine) over the previous year (three).
Number to know:
Turnovers forced by the Shock, most by a WBNA team since Indiana's 638 in 2009. Tulsa forced a league-high 18.4 turnovers per game.
The Shock's Kayla Pedersen waves to fans after her team defeated Phoenix for its first win of the season on June 17. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World