Welcome to the third season of the Detroit Shock, and Tom's third year of creating web pages to promote this fantastic sport and this fantastic organization.
"Forward Dominique Canty drives to the hole."
Game 1: June 3rd was OPENING NIGHT for the new look Detroit Shock. The off season marked a change in direction for the Shock who traded or lost to free agency nearly half of their 1999 roster. As a result, my (Tom's) expectations for the game were minimal. Opening night was at 7 PM on June 3rd. The day of June 3rd got off on the right foot with the dynamic duo of Zack and Alex leading their Parchment MAJORS baseball team to a 4-1 victory over arch rivals Gull Lake. Alex hit a homerun and pitched 6 innings of 1 hit ball, while Zack ripped a lead off double and scored the game winning run. The baseball game ended at 3 PM and by 3:30 Alex, his Parchment teammate Zack, and I were on the road to Auburn Hills. We arrived at the Palace doors at 6 PM and headed down to see if we could talk to the players and get some autographs. In years past there were never more that 2 or 3 "real fans" collecting autographs. This year there were a bunch of what I would call "professional" autograph seekers who every time a player would come over they would try to get 5, 6, 7, as many autographs as they could. This meant that the players had less time to get to everyone else so if you weren't pushy you didn't get an autograph. That aside, Alex and Zack still had fun watching the players walking in and out of the lockerroom and shaking hands. But enough about the scavengers, lets talk basketball!
"Dominique Canty and Ticha Penicheiro collide."
The Sacramento Monarchs are stacked with talent. Ticha. Ruthie, Tangela, Kedra not to mention arguably the league's best player Yolanda Griffith. Detroit, on the other hand, with so many new faces, looked weak on paper, but they were strong of heart and played with ferocious defense from the opening tip. Sacramento had to work hard on every possession. The game went back and forth with Detroit pulling away, then Sacramento catching back up. In the end, it was the team defense, the board work of Wendy Palmer and Astou Ndiaye, and the hot shooting of 35 year old Elena Tornikidou that pushed Detroit to a solid 77-74 victory over the all-star clad Sacramento Monarchs team. Way to go SHOCK!!!! Good luck with the Lynx on Monday! After the game I took Alex and Zack courtside where they were each able to talk to Wendy, TJ, and Dominque while getting 8 of the Shock's 11 players to sign autographs for them. 6'6" Oksana Zakauluzhnaya seemed very shy. Elena Tornikidou had her son with her and was very nice about signing autographs. We left the Palace around 11 PM and pulled into our Parchment driveway at 1:30 Sunday morning.
"Markita Aldridge blows by Edwina Brown on her way to the basket. "
Game 2: On June 24th Kathy, Alex, Lauren, and I headed to The Palace for the Shock's game versus the Washington Mystics. The Mystics have an intimidating lineup which includes Chamique Holdsclaw, Vicky Bullet, Muriel Page, and lightning quick Nicky McCray. They also have a solid bench lead by markita Aldridge. We left Kazoo at 3 PM. About 3:15 I realized I had forgotten the tickets so back we went. The Shock exit is at mile marker 88. At mile marker 81 we ran into construction. It took us over an 1 hour to go the remaining 7 miles so instead of showing up an hour early we showed up exactly at tip off. The Shock played well defensively (beating the Mystics 14-3 in steals) but their offense was near non-existent and they got killed on the boards at both ends. They made it close at the end but the outcome was never really in doubt. After the game we headed straight home because Kathy is not a fan of staying and trying to meet the players. We hit a small traffic jam on the way out and then it rained the entire way home. Not a good night for the Wolfs or the Shock.
"Detroit's Dominique Canty maneuvers along the baseline on Friday. (AP Photo)"
Game 3: On July 14th Kathy, Alex, Lauren, and I again hopped into the Montero and headed for the Palace of Auburn Hills and a 7:30 tip off against the expansion Miami Sol. Because of the nightmare traffic game between Flint and Auburn Hills I tried the I-94 to Detroit and up route which was a big mistake. We spent 3 and 1/2 hours driving to the game. Yikes!!! We finally arrived at the Palace around 6 PM. Alex and I headed down to the visitor's locker room and between 6 and 7 were able to get 7 players to sign autographs including the league's shortest player Debbie Black. But don't let her size fool you. She played with the heart of a champion and the Sol jumped out to a 10-2 lead. The Shock worked their way slowly back into the game, in part because they were inspired by the fact that the Wolf family got to take center stage at the 8 minute mark of the first half. Yes, we got to go on the court and participate in the Regal Family shootout. We had 60 seconds to make as many baskets as possible from just inside the 3 point line. Unfortunately, as a family we only managed 1 basket, while our opponents nailed 2 to win the contest. It was quite the thrill. After that the game seemed inconsequential. The Shock pulled away in the second half for a final score of 80-50. There wasn't any traffic on the way home (we went the Flint route) but there was a lot of heated discussion concerning who out of the 4 of us was the biggest choke. In the end Dad got the nod for Choke of the Night. What a GREAT night of hoops and family!! Go Shock!
"Rookie Helen Darling came up big in the second half with 15 of her 17 total points to lead the Rockers. (AP Photo)"
Game 4: Kathy, Alex, and I left Kalamazoo at 4 PM Sunday night and drove as far as Ann Arbor before stopping at the State Street Sheraton to spend the night watching HBO and lounging around the pool. On game day (and my birthday), Monday, July 31st, we spent the day traveling between 3 different malls before ending up at the Palace around 6 PM. Alex and I headed down to the Cleveland Rockers lockerroom entrance and managed to snag 5 autographs including superstar Suzie McConnell-Serio. The game had playoff implications in that Detroit was 12-14 and Cleveland was 14-12. Detroit jumped all over Cleveland early with some amazing defensive pressure led by Anna DeForge. Detroit got up by as many as 13 and still held a 7 point lead at the half. In the second half Cleveland went to a full court press and Detroit's young guards struggled. In the end Detroit couldn't find a go to player and Cleveland crushed the Shock on the scoreboard even though the game was actually close up until the last 4 minutes. As much as I have loved watching Nancy coach the Shock and I have been a long time admirer of her accomplishments and contributions to women's sports at all levels I think her position as coach of the Shock is probably in trouble. She has made so many player changes these past 2 years, and it looks like none of them have really paid off. The players just aren't stepping up and helping her out. The team is without an identity. No Sandy Brooooooondello. No "Chairman of the Boards", Cindy Brown. No Korie Heeeeleda. I honestly feel they were a better team 2 years ago than they are now. I love you Nancy. I will miss you, as will all of Detroit.
Game 5: August 9th against the New York Liberty: Had tickets but am not able to attend because of Parchment coaching obligations.