Welcome to the fourth season of the Detroit Shock, and Tom's fourth year of creating web pages to promote this fantastic sport and this fantastic organization.
The Detroit Shock have a new head coach. 53-year old Greg Williams boasts a wealth of coaching experience, having worked extensively at both the professional and collegiate levels of women's basketball. As a Shock assistant coach the past three seasons, Williams helped lead the team to a 17-13 (.567) inaugural season record (The highest winning percentage by an expansion team in the history of the four major sports-WNBA/NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) and a 1999 WNBA playoff berth. Williams worked as an assistant coach for the WNBA's Utah Starzz in the league's inaugural 1997 season and has been associated with two other women's professional basketball leagues aside from the WNBA.
"Hey Coach Williams. Since you have pick #6, here's some free draft day advice from Coach Wolf (me). Like you aren't already getting tons of free advice from every armchair coach out there but here are my top 5 picks for this year's draft."
So who's left at this point? If anyone from above is left, then, well, pick them with the #6 pick. But assuming I am 100% on the above list you have a choice of the following and here's the order of preference that I have. Good luck!!
"Chris and Alex with their favorite Shockwave dancer"
Game 1: Our first trip to Detroit this year saw Alex, Chris Mydill, Kathy, and Tom hop in the Montero at 3 PM on Saturday, June 23rd heading for the Palace of Auburn Hills and "ROW 3" (YEAH BABY YEAH!!) seats to watch the Detroit Shock take on the Indian Fever. Detroit was without it's #1 draft pick Deanna Nolan and it's #1 post player Wendy Palmer. Both were lost to injury. The night before the Fever embarrassed the Shock in Indianapolis beating them by as much as 31 points at one point during the game so the Shock definitely has revenge on their mind. We walked into the arena 60 minutes before game time to find the Fever's #1 draft choice Tamika Catchings working on her jumper and rehab for the ACL she tore back in February. Before the game Chris, Alex, and Tom went over by the Indiana tunnel hoping to get some Fever autographs. Five minutes later Niel Ivey of national champion Notre Dame, Stephanie McCarty of national champion Purdue, and Kelly Schumacher of national champion were all lined up signing autographs for us. It was amazing!!! Ex-Shock player and fan favorite Olympia Scott-Richardson came out next and was nice enough to say she missed the Shock fans. Then as the rest of the team poured onto the court the boys were able to flag down Kodak All-American and University of Tennessee national champion Tamika Catchings as she was leaving the court. So with game time coming up we headed to our ROW 3 seats to watch and cheer what turned out to be a game of streaks. As luck would have Alex and Chris had to sit next to 4 very cute sisters between the ages of 12 and 18. Indiana came out on fire and jumped out to a 10 point lead. Detroit battled back to within 2 at the half. The Shock came out strong in the 2nd half and took as much as a 7 point lead before the Fever came back to take the lead for good with about 2 minutes to play, finally winning by 5. It was an exciting night. A victory would have been great but it was still a great way to kick off the 2001 season (for the Wolf's that is)!!! Click HERE if you would like to see the recap of the game or click HERE if you would like to read the box score. Until next game.
"This was the view from our ROW 3, section VIPA seats!!!!"
Practice: July 5th special VIP practice. July 5th turned out to be one of my favorite days ever. Kathy, Alex, Kaitlin (my point guard from last year's freshman team), and I piled in the car and drove to The Palace of Auburn Hills to sit courtside for a 2 hour Detroit Shock basketball practice. I got tickets to the practice as a benefit of sitting courtside at the Shock-Fever game last month. The players were very intense during practice and fought competitively at all positions. Rookie guards Deanna Nolan and Jae Kingi were very impressive, as was the work ethic of centers Astou Ndiaye and Barbara Farris. After the practice the players all came over and mingled with and signed autographs for the 40 or so fans in attendance. EVERY player was very very nice although some were very quite.The first player I met was Jae Kingi. She was very outgoing and in typical Wolf fashion I talked her ear off asking her all kinds of questions about Australia and her new life in America. After that I restrained myself and was able to actually meet all 13 players before they started filtering out. The night before I had stayed up putting together a "team photo" of sorts so that I had something for them to autograph. Every player commented on the quality of my home made "team photo" and 2 players asked me to send them copies. All in all it was a GREAT DAY for this Freshman Lady Panthers basketball coach.
Game 2: July 13th versus the Miami Sol. Schedule conflicts so I had to eat these tickets.
"Jae Kingi gave very little daylight to Helen Darling and the Rockers. (AP Photo)"
Game 3: August 14th versus the Cleveland Rockers. This was the last game of the season. The Kentucky Sorells drove up and attended the game with us. In the days prior to the game we watched Courtney Sorell tear up the water at the Oakland University World Swimming Championships. The game had little meaning in the standings. Cleveland had clinched the #1 seed in the East and Detroit had clinched the worst record in the East. So much for the standings. Detroit jumped on Cleveland early and held them under their thumb for the majority of the game. The game within the game was between Jae Kingi of the Shock and Penny Taylor of the Rockers. They are both from Australia and both play guard and they went after each other from the opening tip. Taylor ended up leading the Rockers in scoring with 21, but Jae got the last laugh with three triples and the victory.
See you next year! GO SHOCK!!!