Shock Falls to Dream
Despite outscoring the Dream in the final quarter, Shanna Zolman missed a three-point attempt as time expired and the Tulsa Shock fell to the Atlanta Dream, 91-89, at Phillips arena on Saturday afternoon.
Ivory Latta let the Shock with 18 points and four assists and Zolman added 11 points in the loss.
“I think our team did very well,” Latta said. "We’re a young, running team and we have a great coaching staff. I think we look pretty good for only having been together for five days. It feels like a whole new team. We still have a lot of things to work on but we are going to get it. I saw a lot of great things out of our players today.”
In his first game as head coach, Gary Kloppenburg started Latta, Riquna Williams, Scholanda Dorrell, Glory Johnson and Kayla Pedersen. In her first game in the WNBA, Williams had 17 points for the Shock.
“She was outstanding,” said Kloppenburg about Williams. “To me, she looked like she has been in the league for a while. She came in and was aggressive and she can put it on the floor or put it up and shoot. She has a chance to be a really good player in the WNBA so we are happy to have her.”
Williams, the Shock’s 17th overall selection out of the University of Miami in the 2012 WNBA Draft, was able to perform despite her nerves and pre-game jitters that came along with both her first game and start in the WNBA.
“It was a quick, very physical game,” Williams said. “I’ve played in physical games but nothing like this. I was nervous at first. I thought I was going to come off the bench but I found out this morning that I was going to start. I just had to relax and let the game come to me and not try to rush.”
Fellow rookies Glory Johnson and Vicki Baugh finished with 12 and 11 points respectively and helped the Shock get 22 points off of second-chance opportunities.
“I thought Vicki Baugh came in and did a really good job,” Kloppenburg said. "Glory Johnson is a high energy player. When the lights come on, you see players step up so I was pleased with the effort of our players.”
The Shock recorded only 13 assists and shot 25.2 percent from three during the game – both areas that they feel they need to improve on before the start of the regular season.
“We were happy that we came out and played very hard against a team that won the Eastern Conference Championship last year,” Kloppenburg said. “We were happy with the effort and we were able to evaluate a lot of players and give different people playing time. We wanted to win to but we want see how our players respond as well. Defensive rebounding - we got hurt in that area tonight. Offensively we just need to keep working on execution and being able to move the ball. We will watch film and come back with a game plan for the week.”
After being together for only five days, the coaching staff and players understand they have much to still improve upon but they feel good about the direction they are heading as they prepare to play in their second pre-season game against the Seattle Storm on May 11th at the BOK Center.
“We need to rebound, rebound, rebound,” Latta said. “I don’t even need to look at the stat sheet to know we got outrebounded. We just need to keep working on our rebounding and rotation, but that’s going to come. With the way we played today, I think we are on the right track.”