And Teasley, Too
With Kelly, a second-year forward, adding youth to one of the league’s oldest frontcourt corps, the Shock decided to not to re-sign 10-year veteran center Barb Farris to another seven-day contract. Instead, they found backcourt depth by signing two-time All-Star Nikki Teasley, whose playmaking ability should offset the departure of Kristin Haynie to the Monarchs.
Both Teasley and Kelly participated in the team shootaround Tuesday morning, but will not be expected to log many minutes, if any, against Seattle later in the evening. “I’m ready to go if need be,” said Kelly, who didn’t get to sleep until 3 a.m. as she rushed to pack her apartment and make her flight to Detroit after the deal was announced around 5 p.m. “Whatever they ask of me I’m ready to do.”
Teasley, a seventh-year guard, began the 2009 season with the Atlanta Dream. The team released her to sign another North Carolina product - former Shock guard Ivory Latta - but not before the 30-year-old proved she can still play after missing the 2008 season on maternity leave. Teasley averaged 3.9 points and 3.5 assists in 10 games with the Dream, including seven points and 11 assists against the Shock June 26 at Atlanta.
“Being that I have won a championship before, I think I know what it takes to get there,” Teasley said. “Obviously I’m a veteran player, I’ve been in this league a few years now, and I think I bring leadership, motivation and just knowledge of how to get there and what it takes to get there.”
Teasley’s best season came as a member of the WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks in 2003, when she averaged 11.5 points, 6.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds and was named MVP of the All-Star Game. She averaged 10.7 points and 5.4 assists as recently as 2006 with the Washington Mystics.
“We’re happy that a point guard of her caliber was available to us in a seven-day situation. We’ll see what she can do for us,” Reeve said. “We like it for [Katie] Smith and [Deanna] Nolan to kind of do their thing off the ball. Nikki can pass the ball, she’s good in the open court, so we’ll see in seven days what she can give us and go from there.”
If all goes well during Teasley’s seven-day stint, it seems unlikely the Shock would sign guard Anna DeForge for a fourth time this season. Haynie’s departure has further increased Detroit’s need for a pass-first point guard, rather than a shooter like DeForge.
“We felt like we needed to not put so much pressure on Smith to have the ball in her hands and same thing with [Alexis] Hornbuckle,” Reeve said. “Hornbuckle in a utility role as a 1 we don’t mind, we just felt like we needed to have another true 1, and Nikki is that.”
DeForge started all seven games she appeared in for the Shock, but managed just 1.4 points per game on 27.8 percent shooting. Minus a 3-for-4 night at Seattle July 15, DeForge made just two of 16 field-goal attempts. Considered a reliable 3-point shooter who could spread the floor when Nolan or Smith were out of the game, DeForge did not score from beyond the arc and made only four attempts.