Playoff Position: 12th (3.5 games out of the Playoffs)
Games Remaining: 11
2016 was set up to be a transitional year for the San Antonio Stars with Ruth Riley serving as the new GM and head coach Dan Hughes announcing it would be his last season with the young team. Throw in the fact that three-time All-Star Danielle Robinson would be out for the season after surgery on her Achilles and it was clear that the burden would be heavy for a youthful team that went 8-26 last season. The Stars are on a similar to pace to last season’s, but the progress of their young players offers optimism for the future.
May 28: Jefferson’s heroics lift Stars over Fever, 87-85 (OT)
An early season overtime win over last year’s Eastern Conference champion Indiana Fever offered a glimpse of the bright future for San Antonio with Moriah Jefferson and Kayla McBride combining for 48 points, including a career-high 31 from Jefferson. Jefferson shot 13-of-18 from the field and came up clutch with a game-tying three-pointer to send the game into overtime and a game-winning putback as time expired to seal the win.
McBride was enjoying a breakout season before a broken foot ended it, seeing her scoring average jump from 13.8 points per game to 17.1 this year. She saved some of her best work for the Atlanta Dream, scoring 28 and 24 points, respectively, in their two matchups, which they split.
Jefferson has lived up to the billing as the No. 2 pick in the Draft, averaging 12.2 points per game (2nd amongst rookies), 4 assists per game (1st among rookies). She’s also been efficient from the field, shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 45.1 percent from three-point range (1st amongst rookies with at least one attempt per game).
Jefferson, Robinson and McBride offer hope for the backcourt while Dearica Hamby and Kayla Alexander have taken advantage of their increased minutes, showing potential in the frontcourt.
Hamby was the sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft and has improved in her sophomore season, getting about 10 more minutes per game. With the increased playing time has come an increased shooting percentage and scoring average. A 35.4 percent shooter averaging 6.1 points per game in 2015, she’s shooting 42.9 percent and scoring nearly 10 points per game this year.
Alexander, a 6-foot-4 center, has also taken a step forward in her fourth year with the Stars, improving her scoring average from 3.3 to about eight, while putting the ball in the basket at a much more efficient 55.4 percent clip, up from 41.6 percent last year.
Season in Photos
Even with the adversity faced by the Stars this season, they are still only 3.5 games back of a playoff spot with 11 remaining. The road doesn’t get any easier, however, with two impending matchups against the league-leading Sparks as well as games against the Liberty and Lynx. Either way, the Stars will end 2016 with hope for 2017 and beyond.