Veteran backcourt turning things around in San Antonio.

Johnson and Johnson Are Aiding in the Silver Stars’ Recovery Process

By Mike Slane,

Vickie Johnson's leading the Silver Stars towards the playoffs.
D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images
July 6, 2006 - In order for a young team to be successful, the younger players need someone who can guide them, someone who can show them the ropes of the league, someone who has been in the tight, pressure-filled spots so many times that they can predict just how things will turn out. So what better way to turn a young struggling franchise around then by signing a proven veteran who not only brings great career numbers, but leadership to the team as well? That is the formula that the San Antonio Silver Stars have been following as they rebuild the team and grow into playoff contenders

The Silver Stars came into the 2006 season with a combined .378 winning percentage through their first three seasons and were the victims of bad luck and unfortunate circumstance. Marie Ferdinand, LaToya Thomas, Kendra Wecker... this was a team that could not stay healthy. The ping pong balls never seemed to fall in their favor when the Draft Lottery came around, either.

Yet, with all of the lottery picks they have amassed on their roster in the past three seasons, the Silver Stars could not have picked a better leader to join veteran guard Shannon Johnson in the backcourt when they signed ten-year WNBA veteran Vickie Johnson. Johnson, one of only seven remaining original WNBA players to have played in every season since 1997, played her first nine seasons in the WNBA with the New York Liberty. In addition to being atop the all-time career stat leaders in a number of regular season and postseason categories, Johnson brought along with her career averages of 11.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists, and, most importantly, leadership both on and off the court.

Vickie Johnson had options when she tested the free agent market this part offseason. Yet, she signed with the Silver Stars partially because of Shannon Johnson.

"She is one of the best.guards in this league," Vickie Johnson said on her backcourt mate.

So far they have been a great combination on the court while leading the Silver Stars to an impressive 9-8 record.

Vickie believes Shannon is "one of the best guards in the league."
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images

“We just put that combination together, Johnson and Johnson, and just go out there and play well together,” Shannon Johnson said. “It’s been a lot of fun playing with another veteran out there who understands the game. If I throw the ball to her I know she’s going to do some great things with it. I don’t worry about it once I give her the ball.”

Not only has it been fun for both Shannon and Vickie on the court, but it has truly been a fun season for the fans of San Antonio as they watch the two veterans lead the Silver Stars towards the playoffs for the first time in San Antonio’s short history (the franchise formerly played in Utah, as the Starzz, and were in the Conference Finals in 2002 and also made the playoffs in 2001).

“(Making the playoffs) is definitely one of our goals," Shannon said. "That’s one of our goals as far as what we want to accomplish this year. I think this year the team has definitely set their eyes on making the playoffs.”

When asked if the Silver Stars have a chance to stay in the playoff race, Vickie Johnson confidently answered the question the same as any Silver Star fan would have… “Of course.”

The Silver Stars have a bright future ahead of them and the fans have a lot to look forward to as their young players continue to mature. With a young roster featuring a great young player in Sophia Young, who Vickie believes "will be a leader of the team" in the future, losing may be a thing of the past for the city of San Antonio. But for the forseeable future, as long as the veterans continue to lead this team, the sky is the limit for these young Silver Stars.

Shannon Johnson is currently leading the WNBA in total steals with 39 and is second in the league with an average of 2.29 steals per game. She also ranks No. 8 in assists with 61 and No. 12 in assists per game with a 3.6 average.

Vickie Johnson currently leads the team in scoring and assists with averages of 11.3 ppg and 3.9 apg. She ranks No. 7 in the WNBA in assists per game and No. 12 in minutes played (519).