From Shock Confidential game program

Detroit Shock All-Decade Team

The 2007 season marks the Shock’s 10th anniversary of playing professional women’s basketball. In honor of the past, and looking toward the future, the Shock will honor the best of the 63 players to ever put on a Detroit Shock uniform. Many more players will come to play for the Shock and they will realize how good the Shock have been in their initial decade in the league.

The Shock Confidential sat down with Eddie Rivero, the Shock’s basketball information specialist, to come up with this list of Shock All-Stars. Rivero, whose work involves him tracking player’s tendencies and other stats, is uniquely qualified to provide input as he has been with Palace Sports & Entertainment since 1984, working closely with the Detroit Pistons. He has been involved with the Shock since their inception and has only missed six home games.

So without further adieu: The Detroit Shock All-Decade Team

Second Team

Guard: #6 Sandy Brondello
Career: 155 games played | .414 Field Goal % | .410 3-point % | .854 Free throw % | 349 Rebounds | 349 Assists

The Detroit Shock selected Brondello in the fourth round of the 1998 WNBA Entry draft and one season later was the first Shock player selected to the All-Star Game. An acclaimed international player, Brondello played three more seasons in the WNBA for the Miami Sol and Seattle Storm yet couldn’t match her output from her first two seasons with the Shock.

Rivero says: “Her and Korie (Hlede) were the first two stars of our team. She reminds me of a female Chauncey Billups in the way that she directed the team well. She made sure the team got their shots first but at the end of the ball game when we needed a key play she would make it. She was a clutch performer and the heart and soul of the earlier teams.”

Guard: #7 Korie Hlede
Career: 133 GP | .414 FG% | .414 3-Pt % | .805 FT% | 375 Rebs | 273 Assists

Hlede has the recognition of being the first ever draft pick of the Detroit Shock as they selected her with the fourth overall pick. Hlede spent her first two seasons in the league with the Detroit Shock before moving on to Utah and New York. Prior to the 2003 season, she signed a free agent contract with the Shock and retired as a member of the Shock. She then accepted a position on the Shock’s coaching staff.

Rivero says: “Korie was a great rookie. Seems like she could hit the shot or make the play. When she hurt her knee she was never the same. You knew you were going to get 20-25 points a night with her and Sandy. She was definitely a fan favorite.”

Forward: #3 Wendy Palmer
Career: 238 GP | .425 FG% | .298 3-Pt % | .698 FT% | 1,449 Rebs | 269 assists

Palmer came to the Shock in a trade alongside Olympia Scott-Richardson in exchange for Hlede and Cindy Brown. She played in a total of 81 games during four seasons for the Shock but was traded along with a draft pick for Orlando’s first round pick in the ’03 draft and Elaine Powell.

Rivero says: “Wendy Palmer was probably the first true all-star on the team. She was dependable. She could give you a double-double almost every night. She was Cheryl Ford before Cheryl Ford (as far as stats were concerned) but she wasn’t as good as rebounding. Even though we weren’t very good she was always there to give you effort and play. She was going to give you everything she had. It was a shame we had to get rid of her to get better.”

Forward: #17 Elena Tornikidou
Career: 75 GP | .472 FG% | .404 3-Pt % | .882 FT% | 196 Rebs | 146 assists

Tornikidou only played three seasons in the league, all for Detroit. During her last years with the team, Tornikidou was always in the top 10 in a couple of different shooting categories including free throw percentage, field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage.

Rivero says: “She could drive to the hole and had a nice three-point shot. She reminds me a little bit of Joe Dumars in the sense that she was steady. We had her when she was in her mid 30’s and she didn’t have the skills she had back in her prime. She could play a little bit of “D” and put up 10 points almost every night. For a team that was growing she was good, especially during Deanna Nolan’s rookie year. She’d get her points and it would open things up for Nolan on the outside.”

Center: #12 Astou Ndiaye-Diatta
Career: 167 GP | .457 FG% | .649 FT% | 684 Rebs | 160 Assists

Drafted in the fourth round of the 1999 WNBA Draft, Ndiaye-Diatta spent five seasons with the Detroit Shock, even winning a championship as part of the 2003 team. She has since bounced around the league and has played for Indiana and Houston.

Rivero says: “Ndiaye-Diatta was steady. She played hard every night, which we needed in the beginning. Made the key defense and hustle plays. She did the dirty work that wouldn’t show up on the stat line but you would need to make to be a winner.”

First Team

Guard: #30 Katie Smith
Career: 252 GP | .411 FG% | .369 3PT% | .860 FT% | 792 Rebs | 634 Assists

It was a coup for Coach Laimbeer to pull off bringing the top U.S. scorer and all-star to a team that already had four all-stars in the lineup. Smith can do it all and has become comfortable initiating the offense from her hands.

Rivero says: “Katie Smith was the missing piece for the 2006 Championship. That championship made her hungry because she did everything and now it drives her to help this team repeat. She doesn’t let offensive woes effect the rest of her game and is a tremendous leader.”

Guard: #14 Deanna “Tweety” Nolan
Career: 192 GP | .397 FG% | .341 3PT% | .808 FT% | 690 Rebs | 532 Assists

Tweety does everything. The Shock all-time leader in games played, minutes played, points, field goals made, assists and steals can not only do everything but with her amazing athleticism, does it well. Her triple-double still ranks among the top feats in the WNBA as only five ladies have accomplished the feat.

Rivero says: “Deanna Nolan is the Richard Hamilton of the WNBA. A little bit too unselfish but she can get her shot anytime. She’s the one that can make and take the clutch shot. When the team is struggling offensively, she could give the team a shot in the arm. Amazing athleticism.

Forward: #32 Swin Cash
Career: 152 GP | .428 FG% | .242 3PT% | .727 FT% | 879 Rebs | 489 Assists

Drafted number 2 overall and really turned the franchise around. Cash was the superstar, and face of the franchise that the team could build around. With Nolan and Cash as the 1-2 punch, Detroit will stay formidable as long as they stay healthy. A knee injury scared the team but it looks like Cash is starting to regain her college form.

Rivero says: “Swin is a pro’s pro. She worked hard to come back from the knee injury and is starting to regain her form. Brings solid leadership and defense. She has the ability to change her game. Came into the league as a slasher and has developed a potent jump shot.”

Forward: #35 Cheryl Ford
Career: 128 GP | .454 FG% | .602 FT% | 1,316 Rebs | 132 Assists | 127 blocks

The third draft pick in a row to form the core of the championship team that you see today, Ford is good for a double-double every game. A rebounding machine, Ford is the leader of many rebounding categories and her offensive game is starting to blossom as well.

Rivero says: “Ford is the best do-anything forward in the league. The apple doesn’t fall from the tree. She’s Karl Malone 100%. If she got the opportunity she could probably play in the NBA and hold her own against the men.”

Center: #00 Ruth Riley
Career: 193 GP | .448 FG% | .770 FT% | 941 Rebs | 256 Assists | 293 blocks

Riley was picked up in the dispersal draft when the Miami franchise folded and what a pickup it was for the Shock. She instantly bonded with Cash and Nolan and with the addition of Ford and Riley Detroit had a formidable, young core group of players. Riley was good as a player, she was even better as a person leading the Shock’s community relations efforts on several fronts.

Rivero says: “The missing link on the 2003 championship team, Riley’s acquisition was a steadying presence on the young, but talented team. She was always there when you needed her just like her MVP game three effort against the Sparks in 2003. She was the best center to come through the tunnel for the Detroit Shock.”