2002 Record
16-16, .500
(T4th in East)

Points Scored
2254 (3rd overall, 1st in East)
Points Allowed
2255 (12th overall, 7th in East) Scoring Differential
-0.0 (8th overall, 4th in East)

Offensive Efficiency
100.3 (4th overall, 2nd in East)
Defensive Efficiency
100.4 (14th overall, 7th in East)
Possessions per 40 min.
68.9 (7th overall, 2nd in East)
What are these stats?

Award Winners & Honorees
Shannon Johnson
Nykesha Sales
All-WNBA, Second Team
Shannon Johnson

2002 Draft Recap
Rd. 2 – 23, Davalyn Cunningham
Rd. 3 – 38, Saundra Jackson
Rd. 4 – 55, Tomeka Brown

Playoff History
One out of four years
Last Appearance
2000, lost in first round

2002 In Review: What Went Right?

Nykesha Sales continued to be the perfect model of scoring consistency following up seasons of 13.7, 13.4 and 13.5 with another 13.5 scoring average and earning her fourth consecutive WNBA All-Star nod.

Wendy Palmer, acquired in a mid-season trade for Elaine Powell, appeared rejuvenated after the deal as she averaged 11.3 points and 5.8 rebounds while hitting 38.3 percent of her shots from beyond the arc with the Miracle.

Shannon Johnson enjoyed one of the most productive offensive seasons during her four years in the WNBA averaging a career high 16.1 points while ranking fourth in the league in assists, earning an All-Star berth and All-WNBA, Second Team honors in the process.

Katie Douglas enjoyed a solid sophomore season averaging 8.5 points and upping all of her shooting percentages – FG%, 36.2 to 44.9, 3FG%, 31.6 to 36.7 and FT%, 72.3 to 86.6. She also reduced her turnover total despite playing nearly twice as many minutes as the previous year. Her improvement in this department helped the Miracle post the third best turnover percentage in the league in 2002.

What Went Wrong?

Orlando lost its career leader in rebounds and its second leading scorer when Taj McWilliams-Franklin announced that she was pregnant after the season’s 13th game. The fourth-year center and three-time WNBA All-Star was obviously not herself when she was on the court, as she posted career lows of 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds.

The Miracle relied on the three-point shot as an offensive weapon more than all but five other WNBA teams. For the past two seasons, however, they have ranked in the bottom half of the league in three-point field goal percentage, falling off to 31.5 percent in 2002 – the fourth lowest percentage in the league. Shannon Johnson fell off from 36.5 percent in 2001 to 27.9 percent a year ago.

Historically, Orlando struggled on the defensive end of the floor, and 2002 was no exception. The Miracle was particularly ineffective from beyond the three-point line where they permitted the opposition to connect on 37.0 percent of their shots. Opponents also owned the glass vs. Orlando as the Miracle grabbed a league-low 47.0 percent of available rebounds and 62.2 percent of all defensive rebounds, which also ranked last in the league.

Head Coach Mike Thibault

2002 Starting Line-up
G Shannon Johnson
G Katie Douglas
C Clarisse Machanguana
F Nykesha Sales
F Wendy Palmer

Key 2002 Reserves
C/F Jessie Hicks
G Adrienne Johnson
F Brooke Wycoff

Looking Ahead To 2003

Key Questions

How will the team react to new Head Coach Mike Thibault? Thibault has a wealth of coaching experience from which to draw, but he still has to learn the league first-hand. Expectations will be high in Connecticut as the women’s basketball-crazed state begins its inaugural campaign.

Can Taj McWilliams-Franklin bounce back to her pre-2002 form? Although the Miracle improved its scoring output in 2002, Orlando sorely missed McWilliams-Franklin’s rebounding as the team fell from an above average rebounding team to the worst in the league.

Can Adrienne Johnson become an effective starter in the WNBA again? Originally signed as a developmental player in 1997 by the Cleveland Rockers, Johnson played nine minutes per game during her first three seasons in the league. The Miracle chose the 5-10 guard in the 1999 Expansion Draft, and inserted her into the starting lineup during the 2002 season. Johnson responded by averaging 13.6 points and hitting 35.1 percent of her three-point field goal attempts, finishing second in WNBA Most Improved Player balloting. Prior to the 2001 season, she tore her ACL and sat out for the entire year. In 2002, Johnson averaged just 5.2 points on 37.6 percent shooting from the field and 29.5 percent from beyond the arc.