Skylar Diggins and the Tulsa Shock tip off their second half of the season on Friday, August 2 against the Los Angeles Sparks. Sitting at 6-15, just 2.5 games out of the last playoff seed in the Western Conference, Skylar and the Shock still have plenty to play for the rest of the way. Before she devotes her energies to a playoff push, however, Skylar took some time to look back at the first half of her rookie season and also talk about what she expects out of the second half.
WNBA.com: Looking back on the first half of the season, what has been your top moment on the court?
Skylar Diggins: It would probably be the first game that I played because I put on that WNBA jersey and it kind of all came to life. It was surreal for me because I was just in a Notre Dame uniform a couple months ago and now Im in the WNBA. So thats probably the proudest moment I had, that first game of the season where I got to put my jersey on and it was official.
WNBA.com: Now focusing off the court, what has been the shining moment for you over the past few months?
Diggins: Getting drafted and graduating, that was pretty special. Graduation was a big moment for me and my family because I promised my mom I would go to college and get a degree and I told her when I got my degree Id give it to my mom.
It was special for me to share the moment with my family, my new Roc Nation family and my new Tulsa Shock family came out to support. Just being able to share that moment with so many people I care about and people that have been with me since day one, it was special. I am so blessed to be able to say I graduated from Notre Dame, which has always been a dream of mine, and from the No. 1 undergrad business program.
WNBA.com: From the time you got drafted Im sure you had a perception about what life in the pros would be like. What has been the biggest surprise for you?
Diggins: I dont know, thats a good question. I heard a lot about the game being fast and physical, but it really is. Its a lot faster than the college game and its very physical, very physical. Just going from being a senior in college and being protected as a good player, maybe you get the call when you get fouled, but in the league thats not a foul. No blood, no foul in the league sometimes. Its definitely a physical league, even I can attest to that, I had stitches my first day on the job, so its a way more physical game that people talk about.
WNBA.com: Halfway through the season youve been able to travel to many road arenas. Aside from playing in Tulsa, what has been your favorite place to play so far?
Diggins: Thats a good question too. My favorite place to play is either L.A. or New York. Those are obviously very nice cities and theres a lot to do there. I dont get to visit those cities very often so its nice to be able to go and see some of the bigger cities in the country.
WNBA.com: If there was one thing you could have changed about your first half of the season, what would it be?
Diggins: Oh wow. Well Id want to play a little better. Yeah, that would be it. Obviously I wish we could have won more game, but I think that could be direct to what Im saying, to maybe play a little better. I definitely didnt have the start that I wanted to, but Im looking forward to this last part of the season so we can finish strong.
WNBA.com: Our first call, we talked about adjusting to living on your own and away from campus life. I remember you were experimenting with cooking and cooking tacos. How has your adjustment to life out of college and your cooking progressed?
Diggins: Yeah, my cooking is almost non-existent, but Ive been trying to do better. I get kind of lazy in the season, where Im like I want to go to a restaurant and have someone cook something for me or something, but its been okay. Ive been trying to cook once a week, but now were so busy on the road and stuff like that, but Im just really poor at cooking right now. Hopefully I can start getting a little better.
WNBA.com:I know youve had a ton of media attention and a ton of fan attention, what has been the strangest question or request youve gotten over the season's first half?
Diggins: I get some pretty strange ones from people just wanting to -- I dont know if theyre serious or not -- but I get questions if I say Im in a certain city asking like where I am going to be or where Im staying or if I wanna meet up or grab lunch. I dont think thats too bad, but Im not even going to tell you the worst that Ive gotten. But the most frequent is will you marry me. I get that a lot.
WNBA.com: I know youre only halfway through the season, but people always talk about the rookie wall? Does the rookie wall exist?
Diggins: No I havent experienced it. Im young, Im energetic. Of course it is a little quicker pace like I said and youre traveling so much, but now I actually feel like I have more down time than ever. I dont have classes, I dont to worry about group meetings or tests or anything things like that pertaining to class, so now I just kind of live for practice. Its the best job in the world. You dont have to work 9-to-5, you just come in and work really hard for the time that youre in the gym or in the weight room or what have you, so yeah Ive had a lot of time to rest my body and rest is so important. If you dont have rest -- doesnt matter if youre a rookie or not -- youre going to be tired and fatigued. Im sure it exists, but Ive been lucky enough not to run into it yet.
WNBA.com: You said you didnt know much about Tulsa before you moved there. What are you initial impressions of the city and what do you like about it?
Diggins: I still get lost sometimes around here. I really dont do too much. Im really boring actually. Its kind of sad, but from what I heard, I heard that people in Tulsa are really nice and that held true. People have been super nice and the fans are loyal and thats something about Tulsa that I know now, that every part of the city of I go, people are so nice, whether they know I play basketball or not, so I think thats special.
WNBA.com: I think I know it, but what is the goal for the Tulsa Shock in the second half?
Diggins: The goal is to make the playoffs. Thats been the goal and the crazy part is we still have a chance. We let a lot games go that we were in position to win and that shows our youth, but at this point its time to really buckle down. Every game is like a playoff game for us so thats where we are now.
WNBA.com: Is there anything for you, either statistically or in general, that you have set as a goal for the second half?
Diggins: I want my assist-to-turnover ratio to be better and I just want to make my open shots. Thatd be great. This league is all about making shots and my shot hasnt been falling like it should, like I thought itd be, but yeah, I just want to be better in every category and I dont want to think too much. Thats when I dont play very good basketball, when I think too much. I just want to improve and get better and win more games.
WNBA.com:Heading into the second half, is there, for any reason, a specific matchup that you have circled on your calendar?
Diggins: I cant think of one in particular but I guess Im going to be pumped up for every one because we have to win these games now at this point in the season where we are. We have to approach every game like its a playoff game.
The first half of the season didnt start like I wanted it to as far as individually and as far as our record goes. Our season hasnt gone how I planned or anyone had planned, Im sure of it, but at this point now, you cant cry over spilled milk. I think that its just all about moving forward. We cant go back and make a new start, but we can make a new finish. So thats when Im looking forward to the most.