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Lacy, Richardson Prepare for WNBA with the Tulsa Shock

Friday, May 14, 2010 - 11:18pm

2009: 18-16, tied for 2nd in East; beat Atlanta 2-0 in conference semifinals; lost to Indiana 2-1 in conference finals.

COACH: Nolan Richardson (El Paso Bowie, Texas Western), first season.

KEY ADDITIONS: C Chante Black (trade, Connecticut); F Amber Holt (trade, Connecticut); F Amanda Tompson (draft, No. 19, Oklahoma); F Marion Jones (free agent); F-G Natasha Lacy (El Paso Montwood) (free agent); F-C Iciss Tillis (free agent); G Shanna Crossley (trade, San Antonio); G Scholanda Robinson (dispersal draft, Sacramento). 

KEY LOSSES: F Katie Smith (free agent, Washington); G Deanna olan (free agent); F Cheryl Ford (released); C Taj McWilliams-Franklin (free agent, New York).

STRENGTH: Youth. Other than Plenette Pierson and Kara Braxton, only Robinson has more than three years of experience in the league - though Jones hasn't played basketball since graduating from North Carolina in 1997 and Tillis has seen action in only three seasons since coming out of Duke in 2004. The team's young legs will come in handy in Richardson's '40 minutes of hell' style he used to win a men's NCAA championship with Arkansas in 1994.

WEAKNESS: Chemistry. The departure of the veteran core has left this team looking more like an expansion team than the perennial Eastern Conference force in Detroit when the Shock won three championships in a six-year stretch. Pierson, Braxton, Olayinka Sanni, Shavonte Zellous and Alexis Hornbuckle are the only players remaining with the team. With the entire roster having to learn Richardson's system, the team is expected to endure some rough stretches.


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