San Antonio Silver Stars

2010 Finish
14-20, 3rd in Western Conference. Lost in Western Conference Semifinals.

Returning Players
  • Jayne Appel, C
  • Tully Bevilaqua, G (Signed as FA)
  • Becky Hammon, G
  • Shanavia Dowdell, F (Training Camp)
  • Crystal Kelly, F
  • Kelly Mazzante, G (Training Camp)
  • Roneeka Hodges, G
  • Ashley Walker, F-C (Training Camp)
  • Ruth Riley, C
  • Michelle Snow, C
  • Sophia Young, F
  • Departures
    Free Agents
  • N/A
  • Ashley Battle, F (UFA)
  • Helen Darling, G (UFA)
  • Chamique Holdsclaw, F (UFA)
  • Edwige Lawson-Wade, G (RFA)
  • Needs

  • Guards
  • Low-post scoring
  • Overview
    For anyone who remembers the 2010 NCAA Championship game between UConn and Stanford, injuries were already a factor in Jayne Appel’s young WNBA. Granted she had yet to be drafted, but there was little question as to whether a team would pass on her based on what was later diagnosed as a stress fracture in her cuboid bone and a third-degree ankle sprain in her right foot. San Antonio was the team to take her at the fifth overall spot, and Hughes is expecting big things in 2011.

    “She’s a healthy Jayne Appel,” stressed Hughes in a recent call with “I’m not sure we ever saw her as healthy as we [will see] her in 2011. So I think we’ll get a much better measure of what kind of impact she’s going to have for us here in 2011.”

    Take the fact that Appel has spent the better part of the offseason simply healing up and relaxing and add it to Hughes’ high expectations for his second-year center, and it would seem as if things are aligning themselves for a breakout year.

    The aforementioned injuries and the typical rookie transition limited Appel to just 12 minutes per game in 2010, in which she tallied 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds. This season, Hughes stressed that his 6-foot-4 center will jump into the fray right from the start.

    With the progress of last year’s pick, there also comes an opportunity to bring in new, young talent to play alongside his healthy mix of veteran leaders and stars of the future. The No. 6 pick in 2011 is in Hughes’ possession, just one off from where he landed Appel last season. In other words, he’s confident in who will be available, even if the decision may be a tough one.

    “I think we’re going to have the choice of a guard and I think there’ll be a post player left that is of a caliber that will make it a hard decision for us,” Hughes said.

    “There might be one post player that we covet in that upper group, and their might be three guards that we covet, and that’s going to be where our decision is,” he later added.

    Looking at the talent on San Antonio, one is forced to look beyond the draft a bit. In fact, look way beyond it, as four of the Silver Stars’ roster spots are currently occupied by undrafted players: Tully Bevilaqua, signed as a free agent this offseason, Becky Hammon, Shanavia Dowdell and Edwige Lawson-Wade.

    Hindsight, it seems absurd to think a player of Hammon’s caliber – a 13 year veteran and seven-time All-Star – could somehow slip through the cracks of any incoming draft class. But she did exactly that in 1999, signing as a free agent with the New York Liberty, and now stands as a tremendous success story when it comes to beating the odds and proving that hard work pays off. Yet in the present day of teams carrying an 11-player roster and 15-player training camp, could a modern-day Becky find a similar route to a successful career in basketball?

    “I think an 11-player roster has made it a little more difficult for that scenario,” said Hughes. “But I think there’s still opportunity. We do a good job of watching those players that evolve beyond the Draft Day, and I think it’s still possible, but the limited roster has certainly had an impact on the amount of opportunities for young women to make that trek.”

    The sixth overall choice in this year’s draft carries with it a realm of possibilities for the Silver Stars, but so too does the growth of last year’s draft pick. Making the roster will be a challenge, and history has shown that players don’t necessarily have to be drafted to make the team. Regardless of how the future of the team finds a way into camp, it will be up to them to make a good impression if they want to stick around.

    -- Frank Della Femina,

    (Follow Frank's Twitter Updates on Draft Day)

    2011 Selections

  • No. 6 (R1)
  • No. 20 (R2)
  • No. 30 (R3)
  • Recent Draft History

    2010 20092008
    5. Jayne Appel 14. Megan Frazee21. Chioma Nnamaka
    17. Alysha Clark26. Sonja Petrovic 39. Alex Anderson
    29. Alexis Rack39. Candyce Bingham