Glory Goes Back To School
Shock players and coaching staff took a week off after their July 12 game versus the Minnesota Lynx but for Johnson time off meant going back to Knoxville to the University of Tennessee to defend her Master’s thesis on Pat Summit’s final season as head coach.
“It was basically telling the story of our season,” Johnson said. It was a tough season for us. A lot of people saw it from the outside but this was the inside voice, an internal perspective so I thought I’d share what other people didn’t get to see behind the scenes.”
Johnson completed her undergraduate degree in Global Studies in just three years before taking 16 and 15 credits in her fourth year at Tennessee to complete her Masters in Journalism and Electronic Media.
“We found out about Pat’s diagnosis at the beginning of the season – that was the first thing we heard when we came together as a team,” Johnson said. “We couldn’t really cope with it or deal with it, we just had to play.”
In August 2011, Summit was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and she stepped down as Head Coach at the University of Tennessee after 38 years in April 2012.
“The hardest part for me was talking to Pat and see what she thought about the season,” Johnson said. “She’s put so much into the program and now she’s having to step down so that was the hardest part for me.”
Johnson averaged 14.2 points and 9.9 rebound in her senior season at Tennessee. After a slow start to her rookie season, Johnson is averaging 15.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.40 steals (leads all rookies), shooting 48.5 percent (49-for-101) from the floor and 72.7 (56-for-77) percent from the line over her last 10 games before the Olympic break.
Johnson’s 30 point game on July 12 versus the Minnesota Lynx was the first 30-point game for the Shock since the team moved to Tulsa from Detroit in 2009.
A combination of explosiveness and a relentless work ethic, Johnson is part of a young core that the Shock hope to build around in the second half of the season.