Q&A With Terrence Thomas

Beat writer for the San Antonio Silver Stars, Terrence Thomas, was in attendance for the Shock’s last home game against the Minnesota Lynx on June 4 to observe and speak with Head Coach Nolan Richardson. Thomas, a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, was also kind enough to help preview the Shock’s upcoming game against the Silver Stars on Friday June 11th in San Antonio. Our conversation is below:

Tulsa Shock: What do you make of the Western Conference at this point? Only one team above .500 and the rest hovering around about the same mark?

Terrence Thomas: The Western Conference has been very mind-boggling. I, like many other people, anticipated the West being a dogfight, where teams would be battling to get wins. Thus far, though, many of the teams' struggles have been self-inflicted. That's the biggest surprise.

TS: How do you see things shaking out in the conference as the season progresses?

TT: It's Seattle's conference to lose. If the Storm can improve -- or just sustain -- their current level of play, no one will touch them. After that, it's anybody's guess. The rest of the teams all have the tools and potential to perform better than what they have, it's just of matter of them doing so.

TS: Overall thoughts on San Antonio’s season so far?

TT: Confusing. After the Silver Stars defeated Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago at home, I actually thought they had the pieces and momentum to be a serious threat in the West. But now? It's not so much that they've lost four in a row, it's the manner in which they've lost those game that is alarming.

TS: Overall thoughts on Tulsa’s season so far? Exceeding, meeting or playing below expectations?

TT: I know a lot of people are surprised by the Shock so far. I'm not. During the preseason, all the news surrounding Tulsa was centered on what players didn't follow the team from Detroit (Katie Smith, Deanna Nolan, etc.). Yet, few really stopped and looked at who was on the team. Plenette Pierson, Kara Braxton and Alexis Hornbuckle each have won WNBA championships, while at least three other players have played in the playoffs. And you can easily see that the players are beginning to grasp Coach Nolan Richardson's famed "40 minutes of Hell" style. If Tulsa can survive a tough schedule -- the Shock play a league-high five back-to-backs, which is insane -- they could be a force to be reckoned with.

TS: San Antonio beat Tulsa the last time these two teams play on May 20. What do you think will be different this time around?

TT: Becky Hammon. If she can play, her presence along should provide a boost for the Silver Stars. Even then, San Antonio -- with Hammon -- still needed a big third quarter last time to get past Tulsa. Since that first meeting, the teams have gone in opposite directions. Tulsa has somewhat found its footing, while the Silver Stars have stumbled.

TS: What do you think are the keys to victory for each team?

TT: Tulsa -- Rebounding, forcing turnovers. San Antonio -- Rebounding, defense, finding a rhythm on offense.