The Tulsa Shock is about to embark on its sixth WNBA season in Tulsa, and the team has a reason to believe they will reach a franchise first this summer.
The upcoming season will be yet another season following a losing record for the Tulsa Shock, but with the nucleus of the team, now leaders and new faces, there's optimism for them.
"We also gained a lot of experience last year, through those tough games and having to learn on the job,” said Shock mainstay Skylar Diggins. “This year I'm excited about our opportunity to win."
Head coach Fred Williams is also hopeful about his team's upcoming season. “To hear them talk and say championship is good,” he stated. “I've always told them to always stay hungry, but to stay respected."
Guard Odyssey Sims explained what she thinks will help change the outcome of this season. "I think it's just going to have to do with confidence. We're going to push each other, probably more than we pushed each other last year,” she said. “I think that this team wants to win."
With the additions of former champions Plenette Pierson and Karima Christmas, the team feels it's now their time to win. "This might sound bad, but I used to hate playing against Plenette. She's one of those players you hate playing against, but as a teammate, I'm like, I love playing with her," said center Courtney Paris.
Forward Jordan Hooper also spoke on the new additions. "They know how to help everybody else along, including myself. They know what to say, what to do, all that type of stuff that's very helpful," she elaborated.
Guard Karima Christmas is excited to contribute to her team's turnaround. "I'm just trying to bring whatever energy I can bring,” she said. “I know Coach Fred has a lot of expectations for me and I'm ready to take those on and be able to be that player that's more consistent.”
The Shock must make three more cuts to get its roster to 12 before the team's opener on June 5th.
Also, Shock forward Glory Johnson-Griner spoke on her and her now wife's altercation that took place a week before the couple married, landing them both a seven-game suspension.
"I thought it was a bit much, but at the same time I understand that they're trying to make sure that everyone takes the situation seriously,” she said. “I knew that it was going to blow up and it was going to be in the media; it was just a matter of when and how quick… It was a situation that happened and it shouldn't have happened, but we both definitely learned from it."
As for her current situation, Johnson-Griner said, "I'm good. Things are a lot better now. It's less stressful; a lot of things are handled. Personal stuff is taken care of [and] family business is sorted out, so I'm very good now. I'm married now, [and] we bought a house, so there's a lot of positive things to look at, and I'm back in Tulsa. I can't dwell on the negative stuff. I have to focus on what's coming up next."
Williams was positive that she will make an instant impact once she is able to return. "My talks with her have been basketball related. It's time to get to work and go to next phase,” he said. “I know that she'll have some catching up to do and still some off court thing's she's got to settle, but in the meantime it's just business as usual."
After her seven game suspension, Johnson-Griner will provide veteran leadership to the Shock roster. She says, "I think the young players have gotten a lot better. We're injury free and I think that's great. I'm excited to see what's going to happen this season.”