The name on the jersey still reads Shock, but make no mistake, this is a very different team than we saw in 2010 and 2011.
The Tulsa Shock have been in training camp for nearly a week, and already you can see the shift in the teams mentality. The look on the players faces has changed. You can see it in the way they run the floor. They are hungry for victory, and it is something new that Tulsa has yet to see on the court the previous two seasons.
The team is now built around a small group of veteran players - Ivory Latta, Jennifer Lacy, Scholanda Dorrell and Amber Holt - who are also surrounded by young and talented rookies Glory Johnson and Vicki Baugh from Tennessee as well as second year player Kayla Pedersen.
Pedersen hopes to improve on a rookie campaign when she averaged 6.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 23 minutes a game.
The culture of the program is a lot different, Pedersen said. Its very organized, you know who to go to and who to talk to and its very positive. Everyone is working hard, and everyone wants to improve every day. Its the fourth day of training camp and we are all tired, but you wouldnt know it just by looking at everyone.
Shanna Zolmanwho was a member of Pat Summits back-to-back final four teams in 2003 and 2004is no stranger to success, and as she enters her third season with the team, she was able to add perspective on the changes that have taken place.
Coach Klopp has been a breath of fresh air, Zolman said. Having someone who cares for you, and having someone you want to play for every dayits great. The organization of the team and discipline are the biggest changes that I have seen.
Lacy, after appearing in all 34 games for the Shock in 2011 while averaging 6.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, is a member of the core group of veterans returning from last year and is already overwhelmed with the differences from last year.
From the time we step on the court to the time we step off, Coach Klopp is teaching us the game. Lacy said. For me, thats the biggest difference from last year to this year. We can already see the change.
For the fans who stuck with the Shock through the tough times, hang on a little longer, youre loyalty is about to be rewarded.
I hate to be clich, but the energy here is awesome, Lacy said. Weve come together and when the Tulsa Shock are together, we are like one fist. Our goal this year is to give our fans 100 percent.
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