Day One, First Practice

Coach Nolan Richardson and free agent acquisition Sheryl Swoopes spoke with the media after the Shock opened training camp on Sunday May 15th. Fifteen players were invited to camp of which 11 will be selected for the final roster by June 2nd. Below are opening thoughts from Richardson and Swoopes.

General Manager and Head Coach Nolan Richardson

On Andrea Riley
"Riley is a day-to-day. To me, Riley is 10 days away. She has to heal, I would be afraid to put her out there right now."

On Expectations for 2011
"We are trying to play better basketball. We are trying to move the ball a little more, clean up turnovers and get on the boards a little harder. Those are the three bad areas for us last year. I really think we are going to be a better passing, shooting and rebounding team."

"We are always going to be running a team. If you look at the ladies we have out there, we are not a strongly built physical team so we have to run. I think that's going to be our forte, we want to be able to run and play good half court defense, press at times, pick-and-choose when we want to press and play match-up or zone. I think with this team, I'll be able to throw some different things at you."

On this year’s first practice compared to last year
“This year’s practice was tremendous compared to the one last year. This year I think because we have a lot of young girls that are really trying to show that they belong. It’s going to be very hard (to cut this team down to 11). I’m glad that it’s going to be hard. If I had to do it today I couldn’t.”

Sheryl Swoopes

On her preparation for training camp
“I really spent a lot of time on conditioning and doing a lot of those drills that we were doing. A lot of full court stuff. Man, what an exciting time. Honestly, I didn’t even sleep last night. I called my Mom and some of my friends and you’d think I was a rookie again, because I really couldn’t sleep."

On being back after her three year hiatus
“Having not played in the league for three years and getting an opportunity to come back here and play is exciting. I still love this game. A lot of conditioning, a lot of running, but man I feel good.”

Thoughts on the first practice
“What was so interesting for me today is to just be out here and watch a lot of these younger players. I was pretty impressed with a couple of the rookies today. To see how hard they were working, they were putting me back to when I was there age. I thought, man, I just miss the friendship and being out here and enjoying this game.”

On playing for Coach Richardson
“For coach’s style of play you really have to be in shape. I am so excited to be able to play his style of play this year, but I think the hardest thing about playing for a coach like that is the mental preparation, because the conditioning and physical abilities will come eventually, but you also have to prepare yourself mentally because it’s tough, it’s not easy.”

Tweeting Thoughts

@MJAyim - Practice 1: Done! Great job, ladies!!! :)

@MarionJones - First practice of the season is complete and everyone survived and looked good. Now its time to ice, eat, nap and rest and then knock out this evening session.

@IvoryLatta12 - Practice #1 is out the way resting til #2. God is beyond great. Goodluck to everyone starting camp :)

@MsMccants - 1 down 1 to go!! first practice went very well......resting up for practice number 2 hope everyone is having a great day!!

@TiffthaDiVa - 1 down 1 2 go food then nap...

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