(3rd in East)
(3rd overall, 1st in East)
2381 (12th overall, 5th
-0.4 (6th overall, 2nd in East)
Winners & Honorees
Swin Cash, Second Team
2004 Draft Recap
Rd. 1 - 11,
Rd. 1 - 13, Shereka Wright
Rd. 2 - 23, Erika Valek
- 32, Jennifer Smith
Three out of seven years
2004, Lost in the First Round
What Went Right?
The Shock won its final three
games to finish 17-17, qualifying for the playoffs on the final day of the season
with a 68-54 win over Charlotte. Detroit finished only one game behind co-division
winners Connecticut and New York.
Detroit came into 2004 with most of the same cast that went 25-9 a year
ago, returning all five starters and reserve Barbara Farris. Once again, Swin
Cash was the team's catalyst, averaging 16.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists
per game and earning All-WNBA Second Team honors.
Forward Cheryl Ford put up
numbers comparable to those that earned her 2003 Rookie of the Year honors. The
league's second-leading rebounder averaged 16.0 points and 10.7 rebounds against
New York in the playoffs, but a 66-64 loss in the decisive game ended Detroit's
dream of a repeat. Deanna Nolan (13.6 ppg) and Ruth Riley (11.1 ppg) both enjoyed
their most productive seasons as pros.
The team turned an eye toward the
future with a pair of first-round picks. General Manager and Head Coach Bill Laimbeer
traded for guard Chandi Jones, the eighth overall pick, and selected 6-5 Iciss
Tillis with the 11th pick, acquired from the Houston Comets. Both contributed
in spurts as rookies, and should be even better in 2005.
The Shock lacked that one key player to provide a
spark for the second unit. Kedra Holland-Corn, who capably filled that role in
2003, was dealt to Houston in the trade for Tillis. Her veteran presence was missed.
The Shock's top two reserves in 2004, Farris and Merlakia Jones, combined
to score 10.0 ppg, just more than the 9.2 that Holland-Corn contributed the previous
After Farris and Jones, Laimbeer's bench was inexperienced, forcing
an additional burden on the starters. His bench got even thinner when Cash suffered
a torn ACL in her left knee that caused her to miss the final two games of the
regular season and the playoffs. Amazingly, the Shock took two must-win games
without their leading scorer to make the postseason.
Point guard Elaine
Powell was third in the WNBA in assist to turnover ratio (2.2) and enjoyed the
best assist total of her career, but her scoring total dropped from 9.0 ppg to
4.4 ppg and her shooting percentage plummeted to 37.7 percent.
the only one plagued by sub-par shooting. As a team, the Shock dropped from 45.0
percent to 41.7. Their long range accuracy, a healthy 38.7 percent in 2003, was
a miserable 29.7 percent in 2004.
G- Elaine Powell
G- Deanna Nolan
F- Swin Cash
C- Ruth Riley
Key 2004 Reserves
Ahead To 2005:
Laimbeer answered the first question - will Swin Cash be back? - with
a resounding yes, signing the Olympian to a three-year deal in February. The next
question - will she be at 100 percent? - should be answered in April. She is expected
to be ready for training camp.
Depth, another big question entering 2005, was
addressed in part with the signing of 6-5 Russian center Irina Osipova, who will
back up Riley in the middle. Increased contributions from Tillis and Chandi Jones
are expected, and the team could even hoax free agent Holland-Corn, a free agent,
The biggest question facing the Shock - which team will show
up in 2005? Will it be the squad that took the league by surprise in 2003, or
the squad that struggled to reach .500 in 2004?
The Shock should regain
a bit of its edge without the 'defending champs' target on its back. If that doesn't
help, the addition of assistant coach Rick Mahorn might. Laimbeer's fellow enforcer
on the Pistons' "Nasty Boys" teams, Mahorn will now mentor the Shock
defense and work with post players. That news is sure to strike fear in any opponent
that drives to the basket this season.