The Tulsa Shock entered the season with high hopes but then lost five games to open the year.
Two straight victories have confirmed what many expected from the Shock this season. Tulsa is likely the most improved team in the WNBA and there is a good chance the Shock might become the league’s most entertaining team.
Tulsa has a long ways to go to reach the playoffs, a preseason goal, but the season is still young and the Shock seem to be hitting its stride.
The Shock has a chance to win a third straight on Friday night at the BOK Center when the Los Angeles Sparks come to town.
It is not a simple formula. The Shock is better because of a handful of developments, some expected and some surprising.
The most surprising has been the play of center Courtney Paris, a four-time All-American at Oklahoma.
Paris has been a disaster through most of her pro career. However, she recorded her fifth double-double of the season earlier this week in a victory over New York. She had 16 points and 12 points against the Liberty. That’s more like her collegiate numbers.
She is second in the league in rebounding (10.4).
OU coach Sherri Coale isn’t surprised. She said the OU Caravan in Tulsa last week that Paris is simply "doing what she is good at doing". Coale explained that’s working hard on the interior to get rebounds, short put-backs and quit trying to be "something she is not" is the key to Paris finally fulfilling big expectations.
Paris’ development combines well with the emergence of Skylar Diggins as one of the best players in the WNBA. Diggins, who suffered through a disappointing rookie season, has blossomed into a legitimate star this season. She’s second in the league in assists and is eighth in scoring (17.9).
Rookie guard Odyssey Sims is still getting comfortable in her role with the Shock but she’s already making big contributions. She is a vicious defensive player. Against New York, Sims limited star Cappie Poindexter to a 2-for-14 shooting game.
The Shock may not be the best team in the league but it has a chance, because of players like Diggins and Sims, to be the WNBA’s most exciting team.
Tulsa isn’t at that level yet but it is giving off hints that a bright future is finally starting to become a reality.